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!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First Season

01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, February 23

The Big Bang Theory - "The Comic-Con Conundrum" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
With Koothrappali cut off from his father’s fortune, he appoints Sheldon to help him get out of debt. Also, Penny considers joining Leonard at Comic-Con.

The Great Indoors - "Friends Like These" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack desperately begs his co-workers to pretend to be his closest friends at a dinner party after his lack of an inner circle begins to concern his girlfriend, Rachel (Maggie Lawson). However, he soon regrets asking for their help after they all behave awkwardly in her presence.

Mom - "Night Swimmin' and an English Muffin" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Bonnie discovers Adam is still close with his ex-wife, Danielle (Wendie Malick), Christy worries the emotional fallout could jeopardize Bonnie’s sobriety.

Life in Pieces - "Awkward Bra Automated Ordained" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dinner gets awkward for Jen and Matt when they find themselves alone without Greg and Colleen. Also, Lark accidentally locks out Greg and Jen from the house, prompting Greg to install a complicated home automation system; Heather and Tim try to sneak wine into an ice skating show to get out of paying at the venue; and John and Joan agree to an impromptu wedding after Colleen mentions that she’s an ordained minister.

Superstore - "Wellness Fair" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Amy (America Ferrera) sees Mateo (Nico Santos) out on a secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin), she ignores Garrett's (Colton Dunn) advice to stay out of it, and ends up throwing multiple relationships - both real and imagined - into chaos. Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) resents Jonah (Ben Feldman) for outshining him during Cloud 9's Wellness Fair, and Dina (Lauren Ash) tries to prove that Amy faked an illness.

Powerless - "Emily Dates a Henchman" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After being urged by her team, Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) sets her sights on the dating world but unknowingly falls for one of the Riddler's henchmen (guest star Robert Buckley). Meanwhile, Teddy (Danny Pudi) and Ron (Ron Funches) find a Batman artifact and discover Van's (Alan Tudyk) superhero fantasy. Christina Kirk also stars.

Baskets - "Marthager" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Martha books Chip a gig at a car crash.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 20)

Thursday, February 23

  • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - Catch John on a repeat of the 2015 Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars special at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Get Out in the 9am hour. He appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Allison Williams (Girls) - Allison appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Paul Scheer (The League/Fresh Off the Boat) - Paul visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 4:30pm.
  • Rob Huebel (Transparent/Burning Love) - Rob drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 4:30pm.
  • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jermaine Fowler (Superior Donuts) - Jermaine is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • David Spade (Rules of Enagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Norm Macdonald (The Norm Show/A Minute with Stan Hooper) - Norm is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Rob Schneider (Real Rob/Rob/Men Behaving Badly) - Rob appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • David Duchovny (Californication) - David stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) - Mae appears on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) - Billy joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.