Saturday, March 19, 2011

Digital Digest: Is Physical Home Media Dying?

Welcome to the first Digital Digest of the spring season! It's yet another slow week in the world of DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and all of these slow weeks have come together to prompt us to write about whether or not home media is dying out. Is it? We sure hope not, but it almost seems to be. Let's get going for what will not, despite the depressing news story that we have today, be the beginning of the end for Digital Digest!


DIGITAL NEWS

We hate mentioning Charlie Sheen in Digital Digest (OK, that's a lie, we love it), but a few months ago, we told you that Amazon.com was taking orders for the eighth season of Two and a Half Men would be coming to DVD. Well, it appears that Amazon.com made a "winning" decision to list that pre-order, and now a release date for the "crap fest that everybody worships" is set for September 13 at a $44.98 MSRP. You can pre-order the set now.

Now that we've given you news about a series that stars a man evidently from another universe, we head back into our own universe... you know, the one that started with a big bang. And that brings us to The Big Bang Theory, which we also previously announced was available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Fourth Season is set to land in our universe a week later, on September 20, on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The DVD comes at a $44.98 MSRP and the Blu-ray Disc comes at a $54.97 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (March 22) is another dismal day of releases, but there are two "best of" releases from Mill Creek of series that Shout! Factory has already released in complete season form. The Bill Cosby Show - The Best of Season One and Marcus Welby, M.D. - The Best of Season One both include 10 episodes of each series at a $9.98 MSRP.


BLOG FEATURE STORY

Is Physical Home Media Dying?
by skees53

Every Saturday, we bring you news of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs that are on the way. But if you've noticed (and you should, because we've pointed it out each and every week), that news has become very slow since the beginning of the year (and even slightly before then). So this begs the question: is physical home media dying?

It's been just over a decade since our favorite series began popping up on DVD. Starting with "best of" and volume sets of various series (some of which are long forgotten and out-of-print, such as the DVDs of The Wonder Years that were released in the late 90s), TV-on-DVD evolved into the format that we all came to love and enjoy by the early part of the decade, and by the middle part of the decade, we were seeing the first season of virtually every series known to man, even the most obscure of series. We started getting the most recent seasons of series currently airing just months after the season finale. But then, it all started to taper off.

Lately, we've been left with collections of TV series on our shelves that end with the first or second season, and we've been waiting months or years wondering when we'll be able to complete that collection, only to get more and more frustrated when we don't hear any news. We've seen major studios, such as Sony, who used to release anything and everything at a steady pace, more or less just stop releasing anything. So what's happening?

There isn't just one simple answer for this, but there are many factors that play in to this. Perhaps the biggest factor is where you are reading this very article--the internet. Just a decade ago, we were all chugging along the internet at what seemed at the time an amazingly fast 56 KB/s, but as we've evolved, almost all of use DSL or cable internet access now. This has allowed streaming video services to boom, and we can now watch episodes (or in some cases complete seasons or series) anytime we want at any place we want using services such as Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon.com. And in many cases, we can watch these shows for free or by paying a low monthly subscription price. Of course, that cost also plays into a factor. With an economy that still faces weaknesses, many people have cut back on discretionary spending, and of course DVDs--as much as we'd like to say they are important--are non-essential items for our household.

The adaptation to streaming video does have some flaws, however. Most of us don't want to watch TV on a tiny computer screen when we have a large LCD TV in our living room. There are solutions to get around that, such as using a Blu-ray player or other internet device connected to our TV, but not everybody is that advanced just yet. Another issue is quality. Streaming video-on-demand has come a long way, but unless you have an ultra-fast internet connection, you're still going to have some occasional issues with buffering and notice some obvious flaws in video quality that you wouldn't face by watching the same program with your own local physical media. Additionally, video-on-demand, whether free or purchased, just doesn't give you that excitement and allure that you get from holding that newly purchased DVD that you can add to your collection to show off all of the great DVDs that you own. And let's not forget that DVDs often come packaged with great special features, but with streaming video-on-demand, you usually don't get much more than just the episodes.

I don't think it is safe to write the obituary for DVDs just yet, but something is going to have to change to entice fans to buy DVDs as opposed to using streaming video services. Perhaps they need to include better special features, or maybe the format needs to evolve from complete season sets to complete series sets (in many cases, that is already happening). But there is definitely a change in the air for DVDs, and we'll really have no choice but to adapt to these changes.


LOOKING AHEAD

We hope that we haven't more or less written the obituary on digital home media this week, because we'd all love to see more series coming to DVD and Blu-ray Disc. But hopefully, with this being Digital Digest (as opposed to DVD Digest), we'll find relief on watching our favorite series on other formats. Whatever it takes to get it, we'll be there! And of course, we'll always be here for the DVDs that are on the way. After all, the format isn't exactly dead--not yet, anyway. In fact, next week, we'll have a review of Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two. Until then, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Thursday, February 29

Young Sheldon - "A Strudel and a Hot American Boy Toy" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon explores Germany behind Mary’s back, Missy attempts to pull a fast one on George Sr. and Meemaw and Dale adjust to living together.

Ghosts - "He Sees Dead People" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Jay’s sister, Bela (Puna Patel), and her boyfriend, Eric (Andrew Leeds), visit Woodstone Mansion, Eric reveals a major change that took place after his near-death experience there over Christmas.

The Conners - "Throwing a Christian to a Bear" (The CW, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Conners struggle to accept Becky's new boyfriend, a Green Bay Packers fan; Dan tries to impress upon Mark the importance of the family's die-hard loyalty to the Bears; Ben and Darlene try to get a loan for their new magazine.

The Conners - "Mud Turtles, A Good Steak and One Man in a Tub" (The CW, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Becky thinks that Jackie's new friend, a restaurant supplier, is taking advantage of them; Darlene is thrilled when Harris gets into Central Illinois State, but Harris might have found a better offer; Dan finds himself in an embarrassing situation.

Son of a Critch - "Thanksgiving" (The CW, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mark takes directing the school play too seriously and finds himself without a cast and crew; Mark stubbornly tries to perform the play alone but realizes he's not a one-man-show.

Children Ruin Everything - "Hangover" (The CW, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Astrid and James think they've planned the perfect hangover day, but the kids, the neighbors and a bad internet connection have other plans.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 26)

Thursday, February 29

  • Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek/Greg the Bunny/Hiller and Diller) - Catch Eugene on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits in with The 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Annaleigh Ashford (B Positive) - Annaleigh is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Here and Now/Malcolm & Eddie/Listen Up!/Reed Between the Lines) - Malcolm-Jamal and his mother Pamela Warner talk about her book A Parent's Guide to Managing Showbiz Kids on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Laurence Fishburne (black-ish) - Laurence chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November-February)

Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Father Knows Best - The Complete Series The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

11/07 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/14 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One

That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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02/12 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: ABC, Disney, Hulu, FX
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02/09 - More Stars for Netflix's No Good Deed; ID Premiering Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV; Remembering Carl Weathers
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02/02 - Extraordinary Season 2 This March on Hulu; Great American Family Sets Hosts for Gala
02/01 - Colin from Accounts Returning to Paramount+; Weakest Link Days of Our Lives Special
01/31 - Hulu Black History Month Includes Timeless Classics; BUZZR Celebrates Black History Month, Too
01/30 - Good Times 50th Anniversary Marathons on get.; Password Returns for Season 2 on NBC
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