Remember back in the early days of VHS, we used to wait around for years... literally years... for some of our favorite movies to come out on those wonderful magnetic tapes that allowed us to play them back time after time from the comfort of our own home?
Of course, that wait time of "years," in many cases still never happened. There were some movies that never made it to VHS or never made it to copies that were sold to the general public and the only way to get them was if you owned a video rental store.
Of course you could never find TV shows on VHS. Well, not until very late in the lifespan of VHS, that is. A season set of TV shows would span 8-12 tapes. And justifying the cost of that as well as the shelf space was pretty difficult.
Then DVD happened; followed by BluRay Disc (BD). These wonderful little optical discs took up little to no shelf space comparatively speaking. And studios somehow managed to find a way to turnaround movies so that you can now purchase a movie on DVD and BD mere months after it's in the theaters.
Compared to the years it took for movies and the like to be released on VHS, you'd think I would have nothing to complain about.
You would also be wrong.
My beef is with the release of TV shows on DVD/BD. Why do studios wait so long to put TV shows out on disc? This is something that is really upsetting to me.
Lemme lay it out for ya...
Most network TV shows run from September to May, give or take a few weeks. This does not include summer shows or shows that are on extended or premium cable channels like TNT, TBS, HBO, etc. So anyway, the DVD/BD sets don't wind up seeing the light of day until right around the start of their next season.
This is really piss-poor planning if executives want to lure in people that have never before watched a show and would like to jump on board but only after watching all the previous seasons. I do this a lot. I'm currently doing this with Sons of Anarchy and thought that I was going to be all caught up after watching season 4 just in time for the start of what I believed was season 5 on September 10.
Nope. Turns out season 5 aired in late 2012; its season running from September 11 until sometime in December. And the DVD set for season 5? It's planned for release on September 10, the same day season 6 will premiere. Oh, and lest I forget to point out that in their mad dash for cash, the studios want to push sales before rentals so I cannot watch via Netflix until about November.
Currently, my options are:
- I pay for the entire season on iTunes, which will cost me $22 for standard definition or $32 for HD copies. And I don't really see myself watching it beyond once.
- I record all of season 6 and worry about the capacity of my DVR nearing 100% while I watch season 5 when it finally becomes available to me.
- I pray I can still find it on On-Demand (I found three later-season episodes and have set them to record, but I have no idea if the rest will re-air prior to September 10).
- I play naughty little web pirate... an option that holds no appeal to me whatsoever.
I know, I know, total first-world problem here. But isn't it just logical that studios try to release shows as soon as humanly possible on DVD so that people can watch them well in advance of the upcoming season? Shows are usually done being taped anywhere from a month to two in advance of the end of a season. There's no reason that a network show cannot be released in early to mid summer.
And extended cable shows like Sons of Anarchy have even less of an excuse. Their season ends in December and you're gonna try to tell me that it takes them nine months to prep the release of 13 episodes on physical disc? Seriously? I'm looking at you as well, Game of Thrones. Your season 3 sets (all 10 episodes worth) should be out next month. No excuses.
Studios wonder why piracy runs rampant. You force the fans' hands, man. Try being a fan for once, and not a suit. Think like us.