Saturday, March 19, 2011

Digital Digest: Is Physical Home Media Dying?

Welcome to the first Digital Digest of the spring season! It's yet another slow week in the world of DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and all of these slow weeks have come together to prompt us to write about whether or not home media is dying out. Is it? We sure hope not, but it almost seems to be. Let's get going for what will not, despite the depressing news story that we have today, be the beginning of the end for Digital Digest!


DIGITAL NEWS

We hate mentioning Charlie Sheen in Digital Digest (OK, that's a lie, we love it), but a few months ago, we told you that Amazon.com was taking orders for the eighth season of Two and a Half Men would be coming to DVD. Well, it appears that Amazon.com made a "winning" decision to list that pre-order, and now a release date for the "crap fest that everybody worships" is set for September 13 at a $44.98 MSRP. You can pre-order the set now.

Now that we've given you news about a series that stars a man evidently from another universe, we head back into our own universe... you know, the one that started with a big bang. And that brings us to The Big Bang Theory, which we also previously announced was available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Fourth Season is set to land in our universe a week later, on September 20, on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The DVD comes at a $44.98 MSRP and the Blu-ray Disc comes at a $54.97 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (March 22) is another dismal day of releases, but there are two "best of" releases from Mill Creek of series that Shout! Factory has already released in complete season form. The Bill Cosby Show - The Best of Season One and Marcus Welby, M.D. - The Best of Season One both include 10 episodes of each series at a $9.98 MSRP.


BLOG FEATURE STORY

Is Physical Home Media Dying?
by skees53

Every Saturday, we bring you news of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs that are on the way. But if you've noticed (and you should, because we've pointed it out each and every week), that news has become very slow since the beginning of the year (and even slightly before then). So this begs the question: is physical home media dying?

It's been just over a decade since our favorite series began popping up on DVD. Starting with "best of" and volume sets of various series (some of which are long forgotten and out-of-print, such as the DVDs of The Wonder Years that were released in the late 90s), TV-on-DVD evolved into the format that we all came to love and enjoy by the early part of the decade, and by the middle part of the decade, we were seeing the first season of virtually every series known to man, even the most obscure of series. We started getting the most recent seasons of series currently airing just months after the season finale. But then, it all started to taper off.

Lately, we've been left with collections of TV series on our shelves that end with the first or second season, and we've been waiting months or years wondering when we'll be able to complete that collection, only to get more and more frustrated when we don't hear any news. We've seen major studios, such as Sony, who used to release anything and everything at a steady pace, more or less just stop releasing anything. So what's happening?

There isn't just one simple answer for this, but there are many factors that play in to this. Perhaps the biggest factor is where you are reading this very article--the internet. Just a decade ago, we were all chugging along the internet at what seemed at the time an amazingly fast 56 KB/s, but as we've evolved, almost all of use DSL or cable internet access now. This has allowed streaming video services to boom, and we can now watch episodes (or in some cases complete seasons or series) anytime we want at any place we want using services such as Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon.com. And in many cases, we can watch these shows for free or by paying a low monthly subscription price. Of course, that cost also plays into a factor. With an economy that still faces weaknesses, many people have cut back on discretionary spending, and of course DVDs--as much as we'd like to say they are important--are non-essential items for our household.

The adaptation to streaming video does have some flaws, however. Most of us don't want to watch TV on a tiny computer screen when we have a large LCD TV in our living room. There are solutions to get around that, such as using a Blu-ray player or other internet device connected to our TV, but not everybody is that advanced just yet. Another issue is quality. Streaming video-on-demand has come a long way, but unless you have an ultra-fast internet connection, you're still going to have some occasional issues with buffering and notice some obvious flaws in video quality that you wouldn't face by watching the same program with your own local physical media. Additionally, video-on-demand, whether free or purchased, just doesn't give you that excitement and allure that you get from holding that newly purchased DVD that you can add to your collection to show off all of the great DVDs that you own. And let's not forget that DVDs often come packaged with great special features, but with streaming video-on-demand, you usually don't get much more than just the episodes.

I don't think it is safe to write the obituary for DVDs just yet, but something is going to have to change to entice fans to buy DVDs as opposed to using streaming video services. Perhaps they need to include better special features, or maybe the format needs to evolve from complete season sets to complete series sets (in many cases, that is already happening). But there is definitely a change in the air for DVDs, and we'll really have no choice but to adapt to these changes.


LOOKING AHEAD

We hope that we haven't more or less written the obituary on digital home media this week, because we'd all love to see more series coming to DVD and Blu-ray Disc. But hopefully, with this being Digital Digest (as opposed to DVD Digest), we'll find relief on watching our favorite series on other formats. Whatever it takes to get it, we'll be there! And of course, we'll always be here for the DVDs that are on the way. After all, the format isn't exactly dead--not yet, anyway. In fact, next week, we'll have a review of Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two. Until then, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, November 15

The Big Bang Theory - "The Citation Negation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon and Amy are devastated after learning from a Russian paper that Super Asymmetry has already been discovered and disproven. Also, ultra-competitive Bernadette asks Stuart’s girlfriend, Denise (Lauren Lapkus), to teach her how to beat Howard in a popular videogame.

Young Sheldon - "Family Dynamics and a Red Fiero" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sheldon studies his family for a psychology project, and Thanksgiving dinner turns into a family fight when George Sr. is offered a job in Oklahoma.

Mom - "Jell-O Shots and the Truth about Santa" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie pushes Christy to mend her relationship with Violet (Sadie Calvano), and Adam prepares for the grand opening of his bar.

Murphy Brown - "The Coma and the Oxford Comma" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
The “Murphy in the Morning” team strives to land a revealing first interview with Corky’s beauty pageant friend, Holly (Brooke Shields), who just woke up from a 10-year coma that made national headlines.

Superstore - "New Initiative" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When a new Cloud 9 initiative forces employees to be friendlier to their customers, Amy (America Ferrera) ends up getting to know Jonah’s (Ben Feldman) parents – and learns he hasn’t been completely truthful with them. The new policy also inspires Garrett (Colton Dunn) and Dina (Lauren Ash) to find out who can hold a smile longer.

The Good Place - "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael and Janet take an important journey. Eleanor ponders whether she should share a secret.

Will & Grace - "Kid 'n Play" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Will (Eric McCormack) discovers that Noah (guest star David Schwimmer) has a child he hasn't told Grace (Debra Messing) about, but is now sworn to secrecy. Karen (Megan Mullally) and Jack's (Sean Hayes) relationship is tested when she fires him from the play she's producing and replaces him with Jon Cryer (guest star).

I Feel Bad - "I Miss Important Moments" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After missing her baby's first steps, Emet vows not to miss any other important moments. But when a huge, career-making presentation at work comes up at the same time as Lily's dance competition, Emet scrambles to pull off both.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Thursday, November 15

  • Steve Carell (The Office) - Catch Steve on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) - Brian visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Annie Potts (Young Sheldon/Over the Top/Love & War/Designing Women) - Annie appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) - Kym is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method) - Michael talks about Netflix's The Kominsky Method on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am, on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan and on Access Live, so check your listings.
  • Jason George (Eve) - Jason appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tori Anderson (The Other Kingdom) - Tori talks about her Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original Return to Christmas Creek on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest