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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 19

Superstore - "Workplace Bullying" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Tensions arise among the employees after an attempted robbery, pitting Dina (Lauren Ash) against Jonah (Ben Feldman). Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) has a tough time firing the store security guard, and Amy (America Ferrera) discovers that her coworkers have been hanging out without her.

The Good Place - "The Trolley Problem" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) harbors a secret and confides in Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

Will & Grace - "Grandpa Jack" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jack (Sean Hayes) is stunned to learn that his estranged son, Elliot (guest star Michael Angarano) has a son of his own, Skip (guest star Jet Jurgensmeyer). Moreover, Skip needs the kind of help only Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack can provide. Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally) behave badly with the hot new guy at work.

Great News - "Award Show" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
For the first time in years, "The Breakdown" has been nominated for an American Journalism Award. Katie (Briga Heelan) is looking forward to spending the night as a peer with the very reporters she has admired her whole life. Fearing her mother will ruin it, Katie tries to stop Carol (Andrea Martin) from attending but is unsuccessful when Carol secures a position as a seat-filler. Katie is stuck babysitting her mom all night but gets distracted by Jeremy (guest star Reid Scott), a handsome New York Times reporter who looks down on cable news. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is excited to reunite with all of his old anchormen friends, especially Len Archer (guest star Christopher McDonald), an idol of Chuck's who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Better Things - "Eulogy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam demands satisfaction.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Thursday, October 19

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Amy Landecker (Transparent) - Amy is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Carl Reinder (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Office) - Angela talks about the new season of her Netflix show Haters Back Off on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs) - Hayley appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna teams up with Michael Symon in the kitchen, giving the scoop on her new show and whipping up a tasty dish on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. She also talks about Kevin (Probably) Saves the World on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Redman (Method & Red) - Redman appears on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Debra Messing and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) - Debra and Eric are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest