I have both of the tools in my district. While Discovery is very agile with their ability to quickly get new content online is great, the issue with bandwidth to bring their content into the district is still and issue. Now I do realize that most of us have been able to increase the pipe coming from the outside into our schools. However, just as the pipe has increased, so have our demand on the access to the outside world.
Safari runs locally at the school or if you have a solid pipe between sites, it can even run centrally. The content in many ways is superior to discovery. If you are comparing apples to apples you would be happy with either product.
However, Safari has a host of other tools that can be added in including your own content, streaming off air, cable and even DVD video across your schools network. Heck, they can even control who and how many folks can watch a video at one time. Now that makes the comparison Apples to Oranges.
A few years ago, I wrote this post about Safari. I now work for another district and just this weekend brought the server online. http://shawnwheeler.name/blog/?p=136
I manage the AV services for our district. We have had both Discovery and Safari Montage in our district. We started out with Discovery, and while we thought the content was solid, we struggled endlessly with delivery over the Internet, even though we had fairly high bandwidth coming in to the district. It was never dependable and our teachers were quite frustrated. As a result, we reviewed the field and settled on Safari Montage.
Safari Montage has been a great fit for us. We have 15 different school buildings and our performance has been fantastic at all buildings. Usage of the system is very high. Teachers are comfortable with ease of use and dependability. They love the idea of watching just chapters of video. We also get tremendous value from Safari by uploading our own videos. It might be something produced locally in a school, or it might be a teacher-requested video from PBS last night. We can make those videos available not only to the teacher who requested the video, but also to anyone else who might see it or search on it. We can add quizzes and study guides that can be downloaded with the video. We no longer waste countless hours burning video to DVD or VHS and trucking them out to campuses. We have found the content on Safari Montage to be good and it keeps getting better. The have something of an ala cart pricing model so you can make Safari Montage work on a variety of budget levels. They also toss in some quality free content packages as well.
Safari Montage was a tremedously successful implementation for us. It has performed terrifically. Feedback from our staff has been outstanding. The company has been great to work with. I highly recommend Safari Montage.
Last year we decided to go with Safari over Discovery. It has been extremely well received by our staff as evidenced by the amount of use the system got within ours of our staff training. Our teachers were customizing their own playlists and bringing in video clips into their Smart Notebook presentations from day one. Many on our staff have used Discovery in other districts and would agree that while Discovery has some great content, it lacks the management features, delivery system and content options that Safari provides. I was really impressed when they added content recently to core content packages without a subscription increase. Support has also been great from the onset. We began with a trial run of a Safari server and were able to test run their product before making any decisions. For us it was pretty much a no-brainer after the trial. I recommend Safari without reservation.
We have used Safari Montage for appx 5 years in our district. We like it very much. We also checked into Discovery when we first were looking for streaming video, but at the time decided Montage better met our needs for variety and cost. The custom playlist feature as well as the ability to upload original content for district-wide viewing via Creation Station is a huge plus; utilization of those features has increased rapidly in our district over the years, especially for conducting professional development inservices. I'd recommend Safari without reservation; they have great customer service and we have had our Safari sales representative conduct training in our district on several occasions.