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!

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 20

The Middle - "Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s the Orson showdown of the century when the Hecks – along with the Donahues and Bill Norwood – wage a war against the Glossners after they steal Sue’s car.

Fresh Off the Boat - "King in the North" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Honey plans a relaxing vacation before the baby comes, but Jessica turns the trip into a crazy quest to get Stephen King’s endorsement for her novel. When Grandma Huang decides to move out, Louis panics and does everything he can to make sure she knows how welcome she is. Meanwhile, Eddie, Nicole and their friends plan to wear matching suits to the school dance until a dress code demands that the girls must wear dresses, leading Eddie and Nicole to rebel.

black-ish - "Things Were Different Then" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre reluctantly helps Junior plan Pops’ 65th birthday party and starts to see his dad’s past in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow decides to say “yes” to everything for a whole year and Jack & Diane take advantage of her.

Modern Family - "The Long Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club.

LA to Vegas - "Overbooked" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The crew is forced to figure out how to get the passengers to give up their seats when the flight is overbooked; Nichole makes good money selling snacks while the flight is kept on hold; Artem has an argument with an surprise seatmate.

The Mick - "The Car" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Mickey mistakenly lock Ben inside an old car Jimmy purchased at a police auction; Alba discovers that Chip has been assuming the identity of Sabrina's online crush in secret, but Alba decides to actively encourage his actions.

Baskets - "Basque-ets" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip laments becoming a fake Christmas tree person.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Tuesday, March 20

  • Bob Saget (Fuller House/How I Met Your Mother/Surviving Suburbia/Full House) - Catch Bob on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Santa Clarita Diet on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour with Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo.
  • Bryton James (Family Matters) - Bryton and the cast of The Young and the Restless are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti Labelle (Out All Night) - Patti drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Carly Chaikin (Subrgatory) - Carly is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs) - Sam visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam talks about Game Over, Man on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia talks about Roxanne Roxanne on the BUILD Series at 10am.
  • The Cast of You Me Her - Greg Pohler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia are guests on the BUILD Series at 12:30pm.