Friday, August 03, 2007

Double dipping

The complaints have begun. CBS Consumer products has announced that the first season of the 1960s Star Trek on DVD, with the recently-enhanced special effects via CGI, will have a US recommended retail price of $218. Now, we all know no one will be selling them for that premium price, but that it will also be a dual high definition (HD)/regular release set, with new bonus features.

Many collectors already bought the first versions of the DVD season sets, with 60s effects made on 16mm film stock, run through multiple passes of a SPFX camera. There will be buyer resistance to the new DVDs, with fans are saying they'd prefer just the regular TV sets, but with new CGI FX, be available separately.

There'll also be resistance from people who won't want HD TV as well, but what happens the prices of HD TVs fall so low they can't resist buying one? Then they'll feel a need to buy the HD TOS sets to play on it, but they'll already have the regular version. They'll yell at CBS for "double dipping".

Don't want HD TV? Eventually, when everybody else has had one for a few years, the more stubborn viewers (or technology laggards) will start to notice that their expectations - of what an acceptable level of clarity is - have changed. When colour TV came to Australia in 1975, you know, my paternal grandmother used to say that colour TV hurt her eyes - until we bought her one of her own.

I really don't understand the anger towards companies who "double dip" their DVD releases. That only infers that the producers of all DVDs should make people wait much longer for any DVD to become available for sell-through, as the various studios scramble to make the first (and only) issue of each movie and TV show a once-only double-disk-multi-commentary-100-bonus-extras version, and then promise to never ever release a second version in our lifetimes.

When i hear the complaints, I find myself thinking: divide $218 by the number of episodes in the set, and then contemplate how amazing HD TV is. Deduct the cash you make selling your old set on eBay. Think about the wages of the SPFX guys who've been churning out the new CGI FX sequences for syndicated, repeated TOS episodes on a weekly basis for the past year. And, remembering back to the bad ol' early 80s, I remind them that a double episode of TV TOS on VHS (or Beta!) was over $70 each.

1 comment:

De said...

My problems with the DVD/HD-DVD Season 1 set are myriad:

1. HD-DVD? Paramount supports both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray but it looks like Blu-Ray will win the format war based on retailer support (at least here in the US).

2. My understanding is that only the enhanced episodes are on the set and not the original versions (which were re-mastered in HD prior to the new CGI effects).

3. Lame extras. Many of the extras are recycled from the previous season sets. Only 7 episodes receive an in-depth look with video commentary, VFX comparisons, etc. I know space is at a premium, but why not a little something for each episode?