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!


DIGITAL NEWS

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!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

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.


BLOG FEATURE STORY

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, amazon.com 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.


LOOKING AHEAD

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 (December/January)

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh 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)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 24

The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.

American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancĂ©, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.

New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.

The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.

Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Tuesday, January 24

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.