Saturday, May 28, 2011

Digital Digest: What About Used DVDs?

Happy Memorial Day weekend, and welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly place for all things digital in the world of sitcoms! We have another slow news week again, but in addition to our regular news and preview of Tuesday's DVD releases, we have somewhat of a follow-up to a story that we brought you a few weeks ago about Home Media on a Budget, where this week, we'll talk exclusively about used DVDs. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

The series I Love Lucy is about to have another milestone anniversary, as it approaches 60 years with the 60th anniversary coming up, but that anniversary isn't going unnoticed. Just in time for the anniversary, on June 21, CBS Home Entertainment will be releasing The Best of I Love Lucy, a two-disc collection of fourteen classic and memorable episodes of the series. But it won't be receiving a wide retail release, at least not for now. It'll be available exclusively atTarget for the time being. If a larger retail release is announced at a later date, we'll let you know, of course.

We found this interesting piece of news from TVShowsOnDVD.com. It looks as if Shout! Factory is on the acquisition trail once again, this time with acquiring the rights to release the Universal series Kojak! They say to look for the second season later this year. We'll update you when we know more information.

We told you a while back that The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, the crossover cartoon movie based upon two classic animated sitcoms, would be coming to DVD soon from Warner Archive. Well, now we have a release date for it, and it is coming very soon. Look for it to be released on June 14 at a $14.95 MSRP. Of course, it is a MOD release only available from Warner Archive.

The website MemoryLane.com has announced some new video-on-demand offerings, including memorable clips from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. You can also watch classic commercials on the website--there are over 1000 available! It appears that the content is available without a subscription for the time being, though that could change in the future. The website was formerly Classmates.com.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (May 31) has no sitcom releases other than The Abbott and Costello Show - Hit the Road. Other releases include The Red Green Show - The Midlife Crisis Years (you can read our review here) and Rookie Blue - The Complete First Season. We hope to have a review of Rookie Blue soon in Digital Digest.

BLOG FEATURE STORY

What About Used DVDs?

A few weeks ago, we talked about Home Media on a Budget, where we told you about how you can build your collection of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs without breaking your budget. We talked a little bit about used DVDs, but this week, we'll go a bit more in-depth.

When I first started my DVD collection about eight years ago with one DVD set (literally, I only had one lone Family Guy DVD set to start out), I always insisted upon keeping all of my DVDs in pristine condition, which also meant only purchasing brand new DVDs. But as my collection eventually started growing to the nearly 1000 DVD sets that I own today, I realized that buying new DVDs may not be so cost-effective, and began looking into the idea of buying used DVDs.

I was rather reluctant at first. I know how some people treat their DVDs. Some people just take the DVDs out of the package and literally throw the boxes away, and leave the discs sitting on a dusty bookshelf somewhere. When I took my first gamble on a used DVD, I had no idea what to expect, and truly did expect the worst. But, I found that by doing some careful shopping, you can often find used DVDs that look just as good as new.

When you are shopping in a store that specializes in used DVDs, you can often be alleviated of many of your fears before you leave the store. Often times, these stores will leave the boxes items sitting on the shelves, where you can check out the condition of the packaging. You'll often find that, with a few exceptions, most of the items will have packaging that is close to perfect quality, if not perfect. But in many of these stores, the DVDs will not be in the packaging on the shelf, as a security measurement. Instead, the actual discs are often stored behind the cash register, in plastic sleeves. Many times, these stores will actually buff and polish the DVDs before they sell them to you. In fact, I've seen some stores do that as they are checking you out at the register so that they can prove right before your eyes that they are doing their best to give you good quality DVDs. And I've noticed that in many cases, these DVDs look as good, if not better, than many of the ones that I have in my own collection. To top it off, many of these places have return policies that will allow you to return anything that you buy if there is a problem with the set or even if you decide that you just don't like the show, although many will only give in-store credit.

So, while that takes care of the bricks-and-mortar retailers, what about buying used DVDs online? Well, when you shop online, you are taking a little bit more of a risk. You usually don't see any photos of the sets other than a basic stock photograph, and can't get much of an idea of the quality of the set. Sometimes sellers will describe things as being in one condition, when it is actually much worse (although sometimes the opposite occurs). Even worse, some of the larger sellers don't even have time to describe every detail of every set that they sell, so you are essentially in for a crapshoot. This has happened to me before with a large online retailer when I purchased a used DVD set. With no guidance on condition, I bought a DVD set, expecting something decent, and what I ended up getting was a bunch of DVDs inside of Blockbuster rental cases with no original artwork and scratches all over the disc (the retailer was nice enough to give me a refund without even asking me to return the item, however). On the other hand, from the same retailer, I have purchased used DVDs, and ended up receiving DVDs that were still sealed in their original packaging. It is difficult to offer guidance here, as the online retailers will usually be cheaper, but you are in for a big mystery as to what you'll get.

Honestly, I can say that I don't regret my habit of turning to used DVDs in recent years. I've had a few duds here and there, but when that has happened, I've never had trouble getting refunds or store credit for the bad items. It is a much cheaper way to build up a large collection if that is what you are going for, and for those environmentalists out there, it is undoubtedly more Earth-friendly.


LOOKING AHEAD

We'll be back next week for more Digital Digest. We hope to have our review of Rookie Blue - The Complete First Season next week, but that depends upon whether or not we receive a review copy of the set by then. Until then, keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (May)

Mad About You - The Complete Series The Jim Gaffigan Show Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season The Wonder Years - Season Five

05/03 - Mad About You - The Complete Series
05/03 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season One
05/10 - Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season
05/17 - Angie Tribeca - The Complete First Season
05/17 - The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season
05/24 - The Wonder Years - Season Five
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 5

The Big Bang Theory - "The Line Substitution Solution" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon hires Stuart to spend the day with Amy when he’d rather go to a movie screening. Also, Leonard’s mother, Beverly (Christine Baranski), comes to town and Penny struggles to make a connection with her.

The Odd Couple - "An Oscar Named Desire" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Oscar and Charlotte hit a speed bump when they hesitate to take their relationship to the next level. Also, Felix attempts to overcome his fear of dogs with Teddy’s help when Emily regains custody of Biscuit.

Mom - "Pure Evil and a Free Piece of Cheesecake" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Christy learns she made the Dean’s List at school, she is disappointed by Bonnie’s lackluster response. Richard Schiff guest stars as Robert, Bonnie’s fantasy co-worker.

2 Broke Girls - "And the Ten Inches" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Max and Caroline need more space for their renovated dessert bar, they’re willing to do just about anything to convince Angie (Lisa Lampanelli), the brash owner of the pizza place next door, to rent them her back office.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 2)

Thursday, May 5

  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Catch Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Dana appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also talks about First Impressions on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 9am hour.
  • Zach Woods (Silicon Valley/Playing House/The Office) - Zach is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Louis C.K. (Louie) - Louis stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mary Elizabeth Ellis (The Grinder/Perfect Couples/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Mary appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Show/Buffalo Bill) - Geena gives highlights of this year's Bentonville Film Festival on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Mario chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Eric appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET and on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.