DVD Titles on Amazon.co.uk Cheaper than on Amazon US

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by ElizM, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. ElizM

    ElizM Agent

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    I've recently made some purchases on Amazon.co.uk which have been significantly cheaper than buying the R1 versions on Amazon.com.

    Have you experienced this or am I just late in realized this?

    For fans for a good period drama like Pride and Prejudice I just bought this title for half of what the R1 disc costs -

    North and South starring Richard Armitage


    The R2 discs of Robin Hood are also about half the cost of the R1 discs.
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I don't think I've bought a new DVD since getting my Blu-Ray player in November, but it appears the same holds true for some BD discs at the UK store as well. I bought the Gone with the Wind 2-Disc (Blu-Ray) set cheap there a couple of months ago, because someone told me about it, but hadn't really looked too closely at any other deals. But some are quite impressive. HBO's Band of Brothers on Blu-Ray for $27.81 (6-8 day shipping) vs. $48.99 on Amazon.com - without shipping. (Well, I have Amazon Prime, so I don't pay shipping. ) Given the exchange rate, I'm really surprised.

    OTOH, The Godfather films are more expensive. Still, a good resource that I'll need to keep a closer eye on.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    Retail prices on goods are generally higher in the UK than in the US, but we have a lot more discount sales than you and sometimes the reductions can be very large.

    Also, don't forget that being outside the European Union, your prices have our 17.5% sales tax deducted (Amazon do this correctly, all stores should but some don't)

    The overseas shipping can take a big slice out of what you've saved. Import taxes and customs duties can take an even bigger slice, but in the US your tax-free allowance is much more generous than our UK one - only the largest and most lavish boxsets would push you over your threshold, whereas it;s very easy for a couple of single titles to push a UK importer over ours.

    Lastly, pay care attention to the detail of what you're buying; very often UK editions are not identical to US ones. You might be missing out on extras, or even worse you could be buying something that our censor has cut. Of course the oppsite is true, so you need to check with a comparison site such as DVDCompare, to make sure you're getting the best available edition.

    I have a number of "foreign" editions because the UK versions are lacking extras, or cut, or presented in the wrong aspect ratio and so on.
     
  4. Glenn Curtis

    Glenn Curtis Stunt Coordinator

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    Rather amusingly; I live in the UK and was staying for a month in Florida.

    As I couldn't wait for the Dr Who The Space Museum/Chase box set until I got home I shipped it to my villa in Florida.

    It was actually cheaper for me to get it shipped to the US than my UK address because I didn't have to pay VAT.
     
  5. Sumnernor

    Sumnernor Supporting Actor

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    There is still available at Amaz-UK the 21 DVD set of Laurel & Hardy. It seems to be now £47.63 and when I bought it - it was circa £35. It seems I read that is costs circa $50 with shipping to US. Since there seems to be very little of L&H is the US - any price is cheaper.
     
  6. ElizM

    ElizM Agent

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    Agree. The R2 version of the North and South movie I wanted has a longer run time than the R1 version, which is I did not realize when I bought it, but for that reason, I am happy I purchased the longer version of this title. Thanks for the reminder.
     
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    Beware of runtimes; the frame rates for US and UK TV standards are different, one being 24 frames per second and one 25. This adds up to a 4% difference in runtimes. As I recall, the US system uses the same frame rate that movie film does, whilst the UK system does not. The effect is that a UK DVD of a film will run 4% shorter than the film in a movie theatre would. Some people say they can notice the difference (it is called the "PAL speedup effect") both visually and audibly.

    Obviously if your UK disc has a longer runtime then it must contain more! If the two were idential in content the UK disc would be shorter.

    It is better to use a comparison site such as DVDCompare, in which actual cuts (if any) are noted, rather than relying on runtimes.

    Also, never rely on Amazon product data. It is frequently inaccurate, and often adds up everything on a disc (such as extras as well as the main feature) to produce a single "run time" which can be very misleading.
     
  8. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    The US video (NTSC) frame rate is 30 frames per second. Film is 24. You're correct about PAL being 25 frames per second which accounts for the "PAL speedup effect" of 30 frames being shown in the same amount of time as 25. Basically a time compression. The problem only occurs if a NTSC video source is converted to PAL. Direct *film* transfers to PAL format do not exhibit this speed up.
     
  9. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Actually, Bob, it's the opposite that is true: discs that originate from direct 35mm/16mm/etc. film-to-PAL masters are sped-up. Discs sourced from PAL standards-conversions of NTSC master tape sources (such as shot-on-tape sitcoms like All in the Family or films that are standards-converted from an NTSC tape master rather than the original film elements) are not sped-up.
     
  10. Sumnernor

    Sumnernor Supporting Actor

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    I have the BBC "Planet Earth" in PAL. When I was in the US, I bought for someone the BBC "Planet Earth" in NTSC. I noticed that the timings for the PAL and NTSC versions were the same.
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The PAL speed-up only happens with 24fps sound film sourced materials because it is technically easier to simply run the film at 25 fps to match the video speed. However, this should not affect Blu Ray titles on either side of the pond because they do not use the standard def NTSC and PAL video standards.



    Nope. In NTSC 30 frames are shot per second of video. When transferred to PAL that one second of video is recorded onto 25 frames. There is no "speed up". One second is one second.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  12. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Just an FYI for everyone: R1 releases of all BBC content is standards-converted (professionally) to NTSC from the PAL duplication masters used to make the R2s, so it doesn't matter whether it's from film or tape, it's standards converted to NTSC from a tape master (so both regions always play at the same speed).
     
  13. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    It really is interesting how this works out for some releases. As long as you can support Region 2 and don't have any issues with PAL. I was just checking a few titles like:

     

    Ironside Season 1

    Sgt Bilko Season 1

    Streets of SanFransisco Season 2

    Hawai Five-O Seasons 3 and on

     

    For the most part, after subtracting the VAT, adding shipping, and converting to US Dollars, many come out at about half price.

     

    Other examples:

    - Just purchased the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes collection for around $25 shipped Amazon R2 vs. the R1 Amazon of over $100. Both based on the same prints.

    - Another I'm looking at is the Sherlock Holmes Granada television Series at around $50 shipped R2 Amazon vs. $135 shipped R1 Amazon.

     

    Too bad some series stall out over in the UK with the PAL releases. I would have liked to be able to purchase the later seasons of Perry Mason at the reduced pricing.
     
  14. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    i would be more than happy if more the british comedies made it across to north american. I have the Man about the house (series 1 & 2). I would love to get the remaining series along with Robin's Nest, George & Mildred, etc. I also notice there is movies available on their site, like Death Ship, that are not available on either Amazona USA or Amazon Canada. It would be nice if there was a better way for the sites to talk together and push releases to either. I know there are issues with dvd's from europe not working in North America.

     
     
  15. Doug^Ch

    Doug^Ch Second Unit

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    Another advantage to buying some of the British series in Region 2 are you can get it far in advance of its North American release date. Case in point: Inspector Lewis Series Four is already available in England and in the U.S. the third series is not due to be released until October. That coupled with the fact the U.S. versions are cut by 10 minutes and cost twice as much makes it a no brainer to buy from Amazon.UK With a good Region Free player, I can discern no difference in quality between the two versions.
     
  16. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Right. I got the double season Wallander BD from UK, which came in at $40USD (after conversion) and was $62 on domestic Amazon, and included the second set of 'episodes' (really 90-minute movies) that won't be available domestically until late October.
     

     
  17. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    is there not an issue with dvd's format that dont work on dvd players in Canada and USA? If that is not the case, then i may look at buying several shows from the uk.
     
  18. Guy Foulard

    Guy Foulard Second Unit

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    British series on DVD tend to get extremely deep discounts after a couple of years on Amazon UK (much more than they do in the US), so if you have a multi-region player, you can try out series without a lot of pain if they turn out to be duds. When they do come out on US labels, they often don't finish the whole series.
     
  19. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    DVDs

    A large number of DVD players in the US can be easily hacked to be region-free and if you don't have one, you can buy them cheaply (one word: Philips). It's pretty much a non-issue as the players are cheap and most (if not all) of them convert the signal from PAL to NTSC out of the box.

     

    BluRays

    Here it's a little trickier. Although NTSC and PAL technically don't exist in HD, there are still two different HD standards that are incompatible with each other: 60hz (in former NTSC countries) and 50hz (in PAL territories). Outside the US (naturally), the HD specs are written that all AV equipment must be compatible with both refresh rates. In the US (of course), equipment is only required to work with 60hz.

     

    The compatibility issue here is threefold: players, TVs and region coding. Some TVs can play 50hz material (i.e. they're 'unadvertised' multi-system), such as the ones from Sharp. Others (such as the ones from Samsung) can't handle 50hz at all. Some BluRay players can play 50hz discs, but can only output them at 50hz, meaning you need a 50hz-compatible TV. Other BluRay players convert that signal to 60hz (whether your TV can handle both framerates or not). Some players can play or convert. Several players cannot handle 50hz at all (including the most popular BluRay player of all in the US, the Playstation 3). The 50/60hz thing is also a lot less well known than the NTSC/PAL thing, so there have been several people who've been unpleasantly surprised when they order a BluRay of Being Human or Life from the UK and it doesn't play on their equipment. No warnings on Amazon or anything (unless you read the reviews).

     

    The other thing is region coding: it's not as easy to crack as on DVD. The people behind the BluRay format licencing are a lot stricter than their DVD counterparts. The number of BluRay players that can handle multiple BluRay regions can just about be counted on one hand (the best ones are the two Oppo units). To do this, you usually have to install a hardware modification (though it's easy to do) rather than just a software code.

     

    So, DVDs, no problem. Go buy a region-free player if you don't already have one. With BluRays, do a google search on blu ray players 50hz and at or near the top of the results, you'll find a forum posting that keeps track of which BluRay players work with 50hz (and how they handle it) and which ones are known to be incompatible, but that said, unless you buy an Oppo or one of the other few modified ones, you'll only be albe to play Region A or All-Region coded BRs.
     
  20. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Exactly. I bought the complete series set of One Foot in the Grave for less than two seasons would have cost in R1, plus the whole thing isn't out in the US yet anyway.

     

    Plus, with standard-def shows, if you buy your Britcoms from the UK and have a multi-system TV, you'll be getting better picture quality anyway.
     

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