Saturday, April 02, 2011

Digital Digest: Netflix - The Future of Digital Home Media?

Welcome to Digital Digest, our weekly blog feature about all things digital in the world of sitcoms! We have another slow news week this week (as typical), but we also have a blog feature story about Netflix and how it may just be the future of digital home media. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

The Simpsons is a series that will seemingly never end, and as long as it is continuing, DVDs have to continue too, of course! Although the series still has quite a ways to go to be caught up with the current season, the fourteenth season is on the horizon for later this summer, though an exact date is not yet known. It is expected that it will contain plenty of special features (as always) and there will likely be a Blu-ray Disc release of the season.

In keeping up with the trends of releasing value-priced "best of" collections of series, Universal is now getting into the game with four separate releases containing "best" episodes of some of their classic 80s action dramas. Set to be released on June 14 at a $14.98 MSRP, be on the lookout for two-disc sets of The A-Team, Knight Rider, Magnum, P.I., and Miami Vice.

The Wonder Years is a series that seems as if it will never get a DVD release, and that is too bad... but don't lose hope on seeing it in a digital format! A recently announced deal between Twentieth Century Fox and Netflix is about to make the series available for streaming online for Netflix subscribers! This isn't a total victory for everybody waiting to see the series on DVD, but it is significant in that it finally provides a way for fans to watch the series at their leisure. It isn't available just yet, but hopefully it will be soon. We have more on Netflix in our feature story today.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (April 5) brings us only one release in the sitcom world, with House of Payne - Volume 7. We hope to have a review of this set soon.


BLOG FEATURE STORY

Netflix - The Future of Home Media?
by skees53

Just two weeks ago, we talked about how physical home media could be dying out. It sounded like all gloom and doom, but it isn't. We've talked about Netflix on here several times (even before Digital Digest started), and how they began streaming TV series online, and in many cases not just a few isolated episodes but entire series.

It really all started a few years with a few series from the Universal library, but it has widely expanded now to include many other series. As we mentioned earlier in today's Digital Digest, a new deal was recently announced that will bring library series, including The Wonder Years (which has only seen two single episode DVD releases, both of which have been out of print for over a decade) and Ally McBeal, among other Fox library series to Netflix.

It all sounds promising, and they will be far from alone when they join Netflix. Already, you can enjoy every episode or at least many episodes of series including 3rd Rock from the Sun, 30 Rock, The Addams Family, Arrested Development, Cheers, The Cosby Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Family Guy, Futurama, The Munsters, The Office, Roseanne, Scrubs, Soap, South Park, That '70s Show, and many more series, including edited versions of episodes from every season of Saturday Night Live. For just a low monthly fee, you can watch all of these programs at any time you want.

The most obvious way to watch this programming is through your computer (you can view them on any Windows or Mac computer), but there are even better ways that you can watch the programming. We'll start with the "big picture." If you have a TV (which I'm sure that just about everybody reading this blog does), you can buy certain Blu-ray players and even televisions that have Netflix capabilities built right into them, provided that you have an active internet connection. You can also watch the programming on all of the major current video game systems, including those from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. And if you don't have any of those, there are still even more options out there, including Apple TV. But what if you want to go portable? Well, if you own any one of Apple's current wi-fi or 3G enabled "portable devices," such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you can even download a free app from the App Store that will allow you to watch all of this programming anywhere you go provided that you have an active subscription. And recently, a test application for Android devices was leaked online, although it isn't functional, but it does suggest that an Android app is on the way.

There are downfalls, however. A series becoming available on Netflix is not a permanent arrangement. When you purchase a DVD, you own that DVD for life, and unless your home is burglarized or destroyed, you own that DVD forever. With Netflix, everything comes down to limited term deals which decide when a series will be available on there and how long it will be available on there. There are many series which were previously available on Netflix such as Gimme a Break!, Simon & Simon, and The Twilight Zone (just to name a few) that are no longer available to view on there at any price. There could be multiple explanations as to why they were removed; maybe they weren't popular enough among fans, maybe they removed them so that they could free up server space for new programming, or maybe content deals for the series expired. Additionally, if you stop paying your monthly fee for Netflix, you obviously won't be able to access this programming anymore.

Another potential problem is streaming issues and quality. In a perfect world, we'd all have an internet connection that runs at the speed of light with no hiccups at all. But we live in a world where we still have internet connections that, while being much better than the 14K than we used about a decade and a half ago, are still not ready for all of this streaming activity. As a result, when you watch many of these programs on Netflix (as well as other streaming video sources), you may occasionally have your program stopped for buffering and won't necessarily get a picture that is up to par with true high definition quality. That isn't to say that some people won't get great results a majority of the time, but very rarely is streaming video as easy and reliable as sticking a DVD or Blu-ray Disc into your player and watching it play smoothly (assuming that the disc isn't damaged).

Still, streaming video seems to be the future of home media, for better or for worse. And it appears that as time goes on, it will get better, and it will provide us with more options than physical media could have ever dreamed of offering us. I was hesitant to use it at first, but once I finally signed up for Netflix a little over a year ago, I realized that the streaming video is the best part of it, and it places a very large library of programming into your hands at a relatively low price, with benefits of being portable and no organization of DVDs to worry about. Hopefully, as time goes on, we'll have the ability to watch just about any episode of any series that we want to watch at the palm of our hands, although it would certainly be best if DVDs and Blu-rays (or their higher-tech future replacements, whatever they may be) continued on into the future for those who want the thrill of ownership of their favorite programs.


LOOKING AHEAD

We come to an end for this week's Digital Digest, and we hope that you are logging in or signing up for Netflix right now to watch the great programming that is already on there and anticipating what is to come! We hope to have more positive news regarding Netflix and other similar services in the upcoming weeks, but of course, we hope to have more DVD and Blu-ray news as well! In the upcoming weeks, you'll see some reviews of even more classic Hanna-Barbera animated series from the Warner Archive Collection. Until then, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Monday, July 22

Bob Newhart: A Legacy of Laughter

Bob Newhart: A Legacy of Laughter (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)

CBS announced a new Entertainment Tonight special, Bob Newhart: A Legacy of Laughter, to air Monday, July 22 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs)*.

Hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner, this one-hour tribute honors the late comedian with a look back at his 70-year career, featuring never-before-seen interviews, and his final interview from his home in Los Angeles. The special takes an in-depth look at his journey from accountant to comedian to Hollywood icon, with rare behind-the-scenes footage of Bob on the set of his sitcoms and feature films, from the Entertainment Tonight vault. Included are new and archival interviews with some of Bob’s closest friends and co-stars, including Jim Parsons, Will Ferrell, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Bateman and Michael Weatherly. The show takes an intimate look inside Bob’s personal life and his marriage to the love of his life, Ginnie, with newly revealed stories about how he changed American culture through comedy.

Bob starred as Chicago psychologist Robert Hartley on the CBS television series The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 to 1978, and then as Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon on Newhart from 1982 to 1990, also on the Network. He had two other sitcoms on CBS in the 1990s, Bob and George and Leo. Bob played the recurring role of Professor Proton on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory from 2013 to 2018, for which he received his first Primetime Emmy Award.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 22)

Monday, July 22

  • Lamorne Morris (Woke/New Girl) - Lamorne guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sebastian Maniscalco (Bookie) - Watch Sebastian on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Love/Community) - Gillian appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl) and Hugh Jackman (Human Resources) - Ryan is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. E! News has interviews with Ryan and Hugh at 11pm on E!. They also talk about Deadpool & Wolverine on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am. Ryan appears on Live with Kelly and Mark, so check your listings.
  • Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Keanu Reeves (Swedish Dicks) - Keanu appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jesse Plemons (No Activity/Bent) - Jesse is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Joe Mantegna (The Simpsons/Soap) and Laci Mosley (iCarly/Single Parents/Florida Girls) - Joe and Laci are guests on a repeat of After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken drops by Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:01pm on Bravo.
  • Elizabeth Gillies (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/Victorious) - Elizabeth talks about Spread on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Sutton Foster (Younger) and Michael Urie (Krapopolis/Partners) - Sutton and Michael talk about Once Upon a Mattress on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Rob Delaney (Catastrophe) - Rob talks about Deadpool & Wolverine on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nat Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band) - Nat and Lucy Hale are telling Drew all about their new rom-com Which Brings Me to You on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
07/05 - Letterkenny - Season 12 (Final Season)
07/30 - Ted Lasso - The Richmond Way (The Complete Series) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/17 - Bewitched - The Complete Series - 60th Anniversary Special Edition (Blu-ray)
09/24 - Friends - The Complete Series (4K Ultra HD)
09/24 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Series
10/08 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Twelfth Season / The Complete Series

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


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

07/22 - FETV Acquires Dragnet; CBS Special for Bob Newhart
07/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 22, 2024)
07/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Apple TV+ Renews Loot for Third Season; CBS Developing Area 51 Comedy
07/19 - Remembering TV Legend Bob Newhart, TV Bad Girl Shannen Doherty of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed, and Doogie Howser TV Dad James B. Sikking
07/18 - 76th Primetime Emmy Nominations; Frasier Returns September 19
07/17 - Fox Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Apple TV+ Renews Loot for Season 3
07/16 - Survival of the Thickest Season 2 Adds to Cast; Phil Rosenthal Series Renewed by Netflix
07/15 - CBS Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Disney Entertainment Television at San Diego Comic-Con 2024
07/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 15, 2024)
07/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Martin Prequel in the Works; Wendie Malick to Star in Season 3 of Night Court
07/12 - FX Premiere Dates; CBS Studios San Diego Comic-Con Plans
07/11 - ABC Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Remembering Doug Sheehan of Day by Day and Clueless and Benji Gregory of ALF
07/10 - NBC Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; New Paramount+ Series with Billy Bob Thornton
07/09 - Futurama Trailer Released for Season 12; Will You Help Solve a Mystery? Unsolved Mysteries Volume 4 Drops July 31
07/08 - Hulu's How to Die Alone Premieres This September; Prime Video's Cross Launches This Fall
07/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 8, 2024)
07/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Skydance Media Reportedly Taking Over Paramount; Internet Archive Restores MTV News Archives
07/05 - Sitcom Stars Pair Up on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; TV One Premieres Raising Fame
07/04 - Happy 4th of July; Antenna TV's McHale's Navy Red, White and Navy Independence Day Marathon
07/03 - Netflix Has Baby Fever Again; More Stars Join Sirens
07/02 - Cobra Kai's Final Season Begins July 18; Hell Yeah! Kite Man: Hell Yeah! Premieres July 18 on Max
07/01 - Remembering Martin Mull of Roseanne, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and More; Will Forte Joins Netflix's Upcoming Comedy The Four Seasons
06/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 1, 2024)
06/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Nancy O'Dell to Host New Daytime True Crime Series; NBC to Use AI Clips of Al Michaels' Voice for Olympics
06/28 - Hulu's Hit-Monkey Trailer Drops; Remembering Character Actor Bill Cobbs
06/27 - New Jersey's North to Shore Festival Brings Out the Stars; ABC's GMA Summer Concert Series 2024
06/26 - Fox Nation Taps Kelsey Grammer for Docudrama; Hallmark Channel's Kansas City Chiefs Christmas Movie
06/25 - Watch New Season of The Bear Earlier; NBC's 4th of July Fireworks Special Details
06/24 - Prime Video Orders Riz Ahmed Comedy; New Trio Join Only Murders for Season 4
06/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 24, 2024)
06/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting for Everybody Still Hates Chris; Homicide: Life on the Street Headed to Streaming