Saturday, May 07, 2011

Digital Digest: Home Media on a Budget

Happy early Mother's Day, and welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly dose of news for all things digital in the sitcom world! This week, in addition to our regular news, we have a look into ways to save when you are shopping for your favorite series on home media. Let's get going!


Anchor Bay released several series from Carsey-Werner a few years ago, including Roseanne, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Grounded for Life, but in recent years, Anchor Bay has been moving away from the TV-on-DVD business (presumably since they are now owned by Starz!, which is focused on movies). But now, there is good news for those interested in DVDs of those series: Mill Creek Entertainment has acquired the rights to release those series, as well as That '70s Show, which was previously released by Fox! But it gets even better: Mill Creek has promised "original broadcast versions" of all episodes, which is great considering that the first seasons of many of these series had syndicated versions. The only question that remains is whether or not original music will be left intact ("original broadcast versions" may not definitively answer that question in the way that it should), though most likely it will not be intact--but we'll have reviews of all of these when. No details are known about release dates, but this is something that we'll definitely be following up on! You can read more about this announcement here.

Following in the footsteps of other studios releasing "value-priced best-of" collections of series, MPI has some of their own in the works, including best-of releases of Here's Lucy, The Color Honeymooners, and The Honeymooners - The Lost Episodes! Each of these discs, set for a release on July 26, will come at a $9.98 MSRP and include fan favorites of episodes from all of these series. The best part is that the episodes on the Here's Lucy set aren't just limited to the ones that have already been released! Additionally, the original DVDs for The Honeymooners - The Lost Episodes has been out-of-print for some time, so in a sense, it is like it is returning to DVD. Of course, we'll have more on these when the time comes.

We wrap up our news this week with more of the "current series continuing on DVD," and these two DVD sets that we have today are no surprise. August 30 brings two ABC series, Desperate Housewives - The Complete Seventh Season and Cougar Town - The Complete Second Season to DVD. Of course, we'll have reviews on both of these (and many more current series continuing on DVD) around the release date!


Tuesday (May 10) brings us "tool time" once more with Home Improvement - The 20th Anniversary Complete Collection, a special set containing every episode of the series in a special tool box. Additionally, from Shout! Factory, we have Webster - Season Two. We have received copies of both of these sets for review, and will have our reviews posted very soon.


Home Media on a Budget
by skees53

When the studios put out DVDs, the street price (the price that the studio suggests for the set) on every set looks awfully intimidating. Although the street prices have declined lately, when TV-on-DVD first began, even the most basic of sets had a street price of $50 or more. These days, street prices have come down to the $20-40 range for the most part, with some a bit higher and some a bit lower (Mill Creek tends to release a lot of $14.98 sets). But unless you are insistent upon buying every DVD set the day that it comes out at a specialty video store, you should be able to pay less. And depending upon how you buy for your DVDs, you can get DVDs for considerably less.

The basics of bargain hunting begin at the big box stores. Almost always, at places such as Best Buy or Target, you'll find DVD sets slightly under the manufacturer's suggested retail price, often even on the date of the release. But of course, these stores put out advertisements every week, advertising DVDs for less than the MSRP or even lower. And if you go into the stores, you can often find special displays of value-priced DVD that have been significantly marked down. You can even find multi-season packs of series at prices that are less than one season at retail price.

As we've mentioned over and over again, Big Lots is another great place to buy TV-on-DVD sets... that is, whenever they have them in stock. While they don't regularly carry TV-on-DVD sets, they will get a batch in once every few months, and they are typically priced anywhere from $5-10 per set. They once were even selling DVD sets for $3, but those days are long gone now, although it is still possible to find a few $3 DVDs here and there. Most recently, they've received some used, former rental DVD sets from Hollywood Video for $6, including many popular series such as Desperate Housewives, The Simpsons, Weeds, and more. The only drawback, aside from these being used sets (although I did pick up a few and they were all scratch free) is that these do not come in the original retail packaging, and for all of these sets, each disc comes in a rental ready Amaray case, sometimes cases that were created by the studio, but sometimes not.

But if you limit yourself to just those stores, you probably won't find the best bargains out there. For that, you'll have to dig deeper, and a really good place to start is used video stores (or even some used bookstores). Many of these are independently owned or regional stores, but one of my favorites is the national chain Half Price Books, which sells both new and used DVDs at least 50 percent off of the original retail price. Sometimes, if they are overstocked on a certain item, or if you are willing to deal with a set that might have somewhat damaged packing, you can get them even cheaper. The great thing about stores like this is that you can sometimes find things that are nearly impossible to find at other stores, and usually at reasonable prices. Sometimes, you'll even find things that you never knew existed. Not too long ago, I found several brand new season sets of some Sony DVD products for $9.99, but what was special about these sets is that they all came in a nice tin case. Not only was it a great price, but the case was a nice bonus.

You can often find even better deals on DVDs by searching online. Again, if you are willing to go with used DVD sets, you can sometimes find sets very cheap... even pennies on the dollar in some case! That is especially the case for older releases of popular series that were mass produced. Eventually, the interest in the series drops off, and fans who bought the series are eager to sell theirs off, creating a glut of used DVDs for anybody eager to purchase them. But you can even find new DVD sets at great prices if you search around enough online. Obviously, is a great place to start, but there are other websites selling used DVDs at very good prices, such as Hastings (which also has regular stores like Half Price Books).

No matter where you look, you'll always find bargains on DVDs, although the more you shop around, the better bargains you'll find. Sure, you could always pay full retail price for any set, but why do that when there are bargains waiting for you all around you? Home media is a business just like any other, and like any other business, the first price that you see isn't the lowest price you can pay.


It looks like the news is finally starting to pick up again (somewhat), so we hope to have more news for you next week (and every week) here on Digital Digest. We have several blog reviews coming up in the upcoming weeks, and we hope you'll be here for that. Until next time, keep it digital!

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.