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Buying DVDs

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I'm impressed with how cheap DVDs of television series have gotten, especially when compared with other media, like music.


A case in point is the Futurama Season 2 DVD. Amazon currently has it selling for $37.49. This is for 19 episode, each with 20 minutes or so of new footage. That's about $6 an hour. The DVD is also loaded with special features, having commentary tracks on all the episodes, deleted scenes. These are features we've come to take for granted on DVD releases. If one watches all the commentary tracks, the price drops to $3/hour.

Compare this to the cost of CDs. Amazon sells CDs for about $13. Assuming that every disc is burnt to the limit of 74 minutes, that's still over $10 bucks an hour. The CD format allows for little in the way of special features, compared to DVDs.

Generally, it costs about the same amount to ship a DVD and a CD, but the DVD's larger capacity allows said costs to be amortized over more content, also leading to DVDs becoming cheaper.

Perhaps the biggest paradigm shift comes from the small sizer of the DVD compared to the VHS tape. Years ago, very few people collected TV series on recorded media. This was because VHS tapes took up a huge amount of space. A season of a TV show was enough to fill up a good-sized bookshelf. DVDs take about a quarter of the space, which is much more reasonable.

I suspect the next development will be made-for-DVD series, or at least seasons of series. It wouldn't surprise me if someone decides that the DVD sales of a series (like, say, Firefly) justifies making a new season even without a network to air it.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2003-09-25 21:25

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