TV Shows on Blu Ray: Success or Failure?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mark Talmadge, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    I'd personally like to know exactly what is going on with the industry. While TV Shows on DVD have been quick in getting released, TV Shows are generally very slow in getting a release to Blu Ray.

    It seems that studios are concentrating more on releasing shows that are currently still being broadcast with new episodes rather than releasing catalog titles of television shows.

    Chips, Seaquest, Magnum P.I., Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie just to name a few ... it seems that the studios have abandoned the concept of releasing television shows to home video. What I mean is that we have some television shows that have seen some season releases and abandoned for some strange reason. Then you have the Blu Ray format, which is a new format, that has yet to see any classic television shows released to blu ray.

    The only exception of a classic television series being released to blu ray has been the original Star Trek series.
     
  2. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

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    99% of the shows from the 80's and 90's were produced in standard definition, so at this point releasing them in Blu-ray would be pointless. Shows old enough to have been completed on film generally wouldn't sell well enough to warrant the trouble.

    If blu gets as big as DVD then I could see SD material released, but the benefits would mostly be the economics of fewer discs, and better encoding.
     
  3. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    Zack, they really wouldn't be. What you have to remember is that many movies, television shows and programs weren't produced in high definition. It would be possibly to adapt those television shows to high definition. After all, if they're able to colorize such black and white classics as Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and even movies such as Gone with the Wind, I'm certain they can adapt classic television shows to blu ray.

    I just think that the studios are missing out on a huge growth for the format if they started converting catalogue titles over to blu ray. Even if they couldn't, they could release a complete season of a standard DVD season to a single blu ray disk, charge $25 for each season, as the blu ray player would upconvert the video.
     
  4. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    Mark - Gone with the Wind was shot in color.

    Colorizing and turnings standard video to high def are two different things. If the definition isn't there - it isn't there. You're not going to be able to take your family videos on VHS and transfer them to 1080p so they look just like the image achieved by Kung Fu Panda. If a show was shot and cut in 35mm, it can be turned to Blu-ray 1080p. If it was shot on 35mm, but they posted it on video - like Jake and the Fatman or Matlock, then it won't be HD.
     
  5. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    It's kind of a double-edged sword, isn't it?

    Most current TV shows will have seen a Blu-ray release of its most recent season - the final season of 'My Name Is Earl', season 4 of 'Bones', and so on. 'Lost' was in a similar boat until recently when they released seasons 1 and 2.

    Problem is, a lot of people could say, "I'll wait until they start putting out the earlier seasons first", but doing so hurts the chances of those earlier seasons being released if the current seasons aren't selling.

    'CSI' has just seen its first season released, and what will follow is its most recent - season 9 on Blu-ray. Will they release season 2 after that or season 8? Who knows...
     
  6. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    If they posted it on video, it could be redone in HD — for a price. It's a good idea and would make these shows' reruns more attractive to HD channels, but I don't see them doing it any time soon.

    Shows shot on SD tape could fit all their runs on very few discs (especially if they use a codec other than MPEG-2, which is pretty bad at handling analog video noise). But there would be no upgrade in picture quality unless you went to the earliest possible generation and tried to restore age-related anomalies like color banding and chroma noise. And some BD players (like the PS3) do not have the capability to upconvert 480i material on Blu-Ray discs.

    Then there's the whole aspect ratio thing. I shudder to think what will happen if cropping of 4x3 shows to 16x9 becomes commonplace. MAR is an instant no-sale as much as editing.

    The other problem that plagues TV shows' releases on DVD will not go away because of a different format. Music publishers will continue to demand more for songs than they are worth.
     
  7. MattPeriolat

    MattPeriolat Supporting Actor

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    My vote is "too early to tell." Blu-Ray is still establishing itself as something more than a niche market with honestly, the only must-get TV on Blu-Ray being Star Trek. Give the market another year or two, lower prices for both players and show sets and then we'll see.
     
  8. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, I don't see too many shows that have the potential sales to warrant that cost unfortunately- as of now. I'm sure any Star Trek series is pretty likely at some point and maybe The X-Files and Buffy but it seems like spending that much money will be a risky proposition for a number of years until Blu-ray gradually builds its base.

    It took years for classic shows to come to DVD and it'll be even longer for them to come to Blu-ray. Blu-ray is growing (despite what the doom and gloomers want to say) but it would be basically impossible for it to grow as fast as DVD did and that will be reflected in how long it takes for older shows to hit Blu-ray.

    As for having Blu-ray successes, the third and fourth seasons of Lost have to have done pretty since they released the first two seasons on the same day. And my guess is that the Battlestar Galactica set will sell pretty well relative to its price.
     
  9. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    They have to go back to the 35mm negatives and cut them. hopefully someone kept up with the edit list. they'd have to redo all the opticals and special effects in high-def. The question is how much cash the HD channels are willing to play for old programs. the market for vintage shows are sub-stations that aren't HD
     
  10. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    For me, I'm in no hurry for BR older TV/DVD sets unelss they start getting released exclusively to BR witout a duplicate Std release. To me, if a Std TV/DVD set is transferred with good-Q prints, the upconverted picture looks great to me.
     
  11. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    I'd go with this, too. TV shows on BD started out wrong with The Sopranos half season outrageously priced, IMHO. HBO tried a price point and couldn't have been happy with the results. So now everyone is being more cautious, making sure to put stuff on the format which will benefit from high def. That's one of the reasons why we see more current shows than classics. (Plus, they see it as a marketing tie in with a new season starting.)

    It will be slow, but they're going in the right direction. More well known and current shows are being released-you have to look at the BD demographic, too-to show people the benefits of the format. And then the classics can come. Remember, Brady Bunch, Bewitched and Mission Impossible were not in the first way of TV on DVD. That was Trek and X-Files, both appealing to the "nerd" and "early adopter" communities.
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Ditto. I still have no desire to move to Blu-Ray. I'll probably get there eventually, but there's no burning desire to convert anytime in the near future.
     
  13. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Shows that were originally broadcast in HD make sense on Blu-ray (could you honestly watch the beautifully shot Lost in anything less?), but classic SD shows in 4:3 should mostly stay in SD, in my opinion.

    I love the upgrade of Star Trek TOS in Blu-ray, but there's just no way the studios are going to go to that expense for marginal-selling older shows that aren't perennial sellers. X-Files would be cool, though.

    Consumer expectations will continue to evolve as most everything people watch now on network TV is in HD. It's already almost impossible to get my kid to watch anything in B&W (he's made it through a few Dick Van Dykes).

    But where's the Blu-ray of shows like Life On Mars, that were originally broadcast in HD and are, so far, only coming out in SD?
     
  14. JoshuaB.

    JoshuaB. Second Unit

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    I agree that most SD shows shouldn't be upgraded to HD, but if Image or MGM could pull off HD transfers of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits like Paramount did with Star Trek, I'd buy them in an instant! I think some older shows would benefit from HD transfers, particularly the ones that used lots of bright and bold colours on film--shows like The Prisoner, Space: 1999, Wild Wild West, Batman (I know, it'll never happen, sigh), etc. The Fugitive would look gorgeous in HD with its moody BW photography, as would the aforementioned anthology shows.

    Yes, The X-Files (and Millennium) would look great in HD, but shows like Buffy were shot on 16mm, so I don't know if it would look any better than it does in SD. I would imagine Paramount would have to cough up a lot of dough to redo all of the edited-on-videotape FX for all of its contemporary Trek shows, but I don't know if they have plans to do so or not (it would be unusual to let such a lucrative franchise wither away in an obsolete format).
     
  15. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    ^^ Only seasons 1 and 2 of Buffy were shot on 16mm. It moved to 35 for season 3 and onward. Angel has always been 35 as well.

    The aspect ratio is of course a whole other debate with regard to a Blu-ray version.
     
  16. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    I'd say any tv show that was shot,edited and mastered on 35mm would be a canidate for Blu-Ray - even B&W Shows.
     
  17. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    I'm not trying to turn this into a DVD or Blu Ray format but the format is hurting itself by not releasing the older shows to DVD. It's sad that studios are only releasing current shows to blu ray and ignoring the classics. Personally, I'd love to see such shows as Farscape, Knight Rider, A-Team, Stargate SG-1, Bewitched and many other to blu ray but, like I said, the studios are hurting the format.

    There is a lot of demand for classic television shows to home video but I think that studios have shown their true colors in regards to releasing TV shows. While there are quote a few that have complete their releases, there are a lot that have either been abandoned (one or two seasons released) or that have been neglected altogether. With blu ray, studios are having to release shows in DVD and blu ray so there's gonna come a time when studios may just abandon one format in favor of the other.

    With blu ray not getting adopted like Sony thought it would, with the state of the economy, while it's not struggling, it's facing some difficult times. After all, television show fans kind of outpace movie fans, don't they?
     
  18. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

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    Mark, please try to understand. All of the shows that you listed, save for Bewitched and maybe some of the later seasons of Stargate?, were ultimately produced on analogue video tape, at a 640X480 resolution, or a comparable resolution. That is all they will ever be and nothing you could ever do to them will change that. Period. The end. It's SD material from now until the end of time. So, what would be the point in putting them out in an HD format?

    ^^16mm is perfectly suitable for HD content BTW. Desperate Housewives, The OC, Veronica Mars... all shot on 16.
     
  19. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    How many times do I need to say it? Studios are upgrading content from the 60's, 70's and 80's that were in the same shape so if they can convert movies made back then, then it's conceivable they can apply the same format to TV Shows made back then.

    You're making it sound like it's impossible and that since older shows were made back then that the television shows are doomed for DVD as they will never be released to blu ray.

    Trust me, the studios have the capability to convert the video and audio and release them to blu ray.
     
  20. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Capability, yes. Interest or potential for profit? Probably not. How many people are really itching to see The Brady Bunch in high def? I can potentially see The Twilight Zone getting the treatment, but some major outfit would have to help Image. I doubt they have the resources by themselves to redo the entire series.
     

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