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Universal Studios Is The Pits

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#41 of 94 OFFLINE   AnthonyC



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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:32 PM

To be honest, that's the only season I really wanted to get, since I didn't watch it on TV...however, I would buy the other ones if they released them.

Kind of disappointing that they have no plans for The Contender though. Posted Image

#42 of 94 OFFLINE   JeffT.


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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:32 PM

Well I'll be the last to defend Universal Studios Home Entertainment but all the major DVD distribution companies seem to be guilty of negligence and inferior craftsmanship in one way or another but generally Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has (seemingly) maintained the highest standards of the bunch.

I have absolutely no concerns about the impending THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON - 5-disc box set due out on October 18th, 2005 and have supreme confidence that the best job possible will have been done in this instance.

The same can hardly be said about the impending ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 3-disc box set due out on October 04th, 2005 which will be cramming 39 black-and-white, half hour episodes onto a lousy 3 discs. How they can possibly store so much data (sound and picture) onto a mere 3 discs and still maintain a high level of quality is beyond me. What is there a plastic shortage out there or something?

And this was an item that I was really looking forward to with tremendous anticipation but now Universal has pretty much killed any optimistic enthusiasm that I may have (intially) had. Although (allegedly) the company has given assurances that THE NIGHT STALKER - THE SERIES 3-disc box set will be utilizing fully restored and digitally remastered source elements but (once again) encoded onto a scant 3 discs.

The same pertains to the generally substandard source elements used for the LOST IN SPACE multi disc collections which (generally) only utilized the same (inferior) video transfers currently seen in the tv syndication package. I'm hoping that a much better job will be done with the impending VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (ABC 1964-68) and THE TIME TUNNEL (ABC 1966-67) DVD releases.

Who out there really applauds the reprehensible time-compressed tv syndication video transfers used for the COMBAT! seasonal two volume DVD sets?

I noticed on the packaging of the just released THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON 5-disc box set that there is a disclaimer that reads "Some episodes may be edited from there original network versions." Was it really beyond the capabilities of Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment to secure complete master print negatives for all the (32) episodes included in this third season package?

Just what do these people think we are paying out (good) money for anyway?

Lastly on the topic (in another discussion thread here) pertaining to the major DVD distribution companys' accountability for their products if only the execs would frequent this particular discussion forum then they would be well informed indeed about just what is expected from them pertaining to their tv series DVD releases.

I'd like to believe that (at least) some of these (corporate) individuals are doing just that.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Click Here).

Jeff T.

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#43 of 94 OFFLINE   Alex Wagner

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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:38 PM

well those will both be "like" 6 disc sets because double sided discs will be used.

#44 of 94 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:45 PM

I completely agree with you. The only problem is when that actually happened, the studios just read nitpicks and whining from people. Currently, there seems to be more frequent problems with releases and fewer studios read the comments on forums like this because of some of the comments that were made previously. We need them to pay more attention now and it seems like that conduit to them is gone. I mean constructive criticism is fine but you don't want to get ragged on either. Look at the title of this thread, do you think that would make anyone from Universal want to read any comments here? Even if they want to see why someone would think that, they are automatically on the defensive and that makes them less open to the criticism whether it's fair or unfair.

#45 of 94 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:57 PM

Andy Griffith S3 has exactly one cut: the epilogue of the episode "The Darlings Are Coming" is missing. According to the HTF review, the episode is the only one that looks a little rough throughout, so that part was probably too damaged to use.

#46 of 94 OFFLINE   MattHR



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Posted August 24 2005 - 04:19 PM

Jeff, I agree. I have to tread lightly on Uni, since they hold the keys to my most favorite TV shows. Their offences are many: DVD-18sPosted Image , ever-changing packaging and disc configuration within a series, gimicky packaging, crappy Uni logo at the start of each episode, removal of the "classic" Uni logo at the end of old shows, long delays between a title's announcement and eventual release, to name just a few.

However, where they get an enthusiastic Posted Image from me is their consistent use of original, uncut episodes in very high quality transfers (with very few exceptions). This is by far the most important factor for me. While I'd like all the above mentioned issues addressed, I can live with them as long as uncut episodes are always the priority...not that one has anything to do with the other. It seems with just a bit of attention to these details, Uni could join the ranks of Warner and Fox in the respectability competition.

As far as Uni edited episodes, I can only think of one that I have...and it's not a major one. One two-hour episode of "Magnum" utilizes the two-part syndi version, but removes the closing titles of 1 and opening titles of 2, to form the original two-hour version via a "play all" option. They can also be viewed individually. It's a bit awkward, but it works. I think it's just another example of a set that was put together by someone who simply didn't know the origin of the contents.

#47 of 94 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted August 24 2005 - 08:54 PM

I just wish that Universal would use single sided DVD's, DVD-9, for their DVD format, I'd be willing to pay a few dollars extra for their sets.

#48 of 94 OFFLINE   MattHR



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Posted August 25 2005 - 01:49 AM

What's really strange is that Universal has special single-sided discs manufactured exclusively for Netflix. This must add significantly to their costs, since new masters have to be made with different menus (unless menus are omitted on these discs.) Check any random Universal title that you know to be on DVD-18s, and Netflix will list it as twice as many discs as the regular retail version. I've also noticed a few other studios that offer these variations to Netflix on certain titles. I'm sure this is for two reasons: 1) Netflix must hate the double-sided discs for durability reasons, and 2) an increase in rental transactions is required to view the complete set, increasing revenue to both Netflix and Universal. (I believe Universal is still under a revenue-sharing contract with Netflix.) So why doesn't Universal just manufacture ALL their titles on single-sided discs? Now that there are double-ThinPak cases available (often used by Fox, Anchor Bay, etc.) it seems the way to go. I'd rather have single-sided discs in overlapping-style DigiPaks than Universal's notorious DVD-18s. Does anyone know the difference in manufacturing costs for DVD-9 vs. DVD-18? I remember reading once that a single DVD-18 was actually more expensive to make than two DVD-9s, partially due to the yield rate of acceptable DVD-18 discs.

#49 of 94 OFFLINE   ElijahS


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Posted August 25 2005 - 04:57 AM

I know that there are still a few shows that Universal does in single-side style (The Office, Monk). Are there any others for Region 1?
- Elijah

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#50 of 94 OFFLINE   Dane Marvin

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Posted August 25 2005 - 05:14 AM

American Dreams season 1 (which was very well done, by the way) was on DVD-9. Unfortunately, they probably didn't make much profit on it (there was enough music on the show to make Judd Apatow & Paul Feig weep), so I have little hope of ever seeing seasons 2 and 3.

#51 of 94 OFFLINE   Kevin L McCorry

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Posted August 25 2005 - 05:21 AM

DVD-14 or DVD-18 in grip-of-death Digipaks is a combination made in hell. My latest experience with it on the Buck Rogers DVDs resulted in a couple of discs with scuffs and some chipping along the hubs.

#52 of 94 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted August 25 2005 - 05:23 AM

Buck Rogers didn't have digipacks didn't come packaged. I'd rather have the slim DVD packaging like what they did with Magnum PI Season 2 and Roswell and Firefly.

#53 of 94 OFFLINE   AndySvn



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Posted August 25 2005 - 05:52 AM

You're forgetting one of the lamest box sets in DVD history:
Dragnet:Season One, which had three discs. One double-sided, one single-sided, and a thirty minute radio show taking up the third disc! If you eliminate the radio show you could probably cram everything on one double-sided disc!

Let's talk about quality control-all of my Universal discs have at least one segment that freezes up, whether it's Abbott & Costello, the Munsters, the Frankenstein Legacy box set, etc. I never have freezing problems with any other studio but Universal.

#54 of 94 OFFLINE   Gord Lacey

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Posted August 25 2005 - 07:44 AM

This is something that Warner Bros does as well. They call it "rental-ready" packaging. It makes sense, since the rental places don't want to rent out twice the material at the same price. I doubt these sets come in regular packaging though, so it's not something the average consumer would want to have on the shelf. Gord
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#55 of 94 OFFLINE   MattHR



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Posted August 25 2005 - 09:25 AM

Gord, the term "rental-ready" is an industry term that applies to a multi-disc set that contains individual display/storage cases for each disc, either a regular Amaray or ThinPak. It has nothing to do with the number of discs or use of DVD-9s or DVD-18s.

When the DigiPak was the standard for multi-disc sets, most rental retailers were not ordering TV shows that were packaged in them, since they weren't easily displayed or rented on a disc-by-disc basis. So a few studios started offering alternate packaging options for the rental market. These "rental-ready" variations were only available on select titles and needed to be ordered by a certain "pre-order" date. The number of discs and their content are identical to the retail-sale version. The only difference is that the discs come packaged in either individual Amarays or ThinPaks for easy display and rental.

There are hardly any studios offering this option these days since the DigiPak, like the WB snapper, seems to be slowly going away. With the ThinPaks becoming the new standard, titles are still listed on distributor order forms as "rental-ready", even if it's the only version available. It's just a clarification for the retail buyer that the set has individual cases for rental-retail use, rather than some other non-retail-friendly packaging (DigiPak, custom head, tin box, etc.)

To clarify the Netflix issue I originally posted about: When a regular video store/rental dealer orders a "rental-ready" version of "Munsters" Season 1, he'll receive three DVD-18s in three regular Amarays shrinkwrapped together. No DigiPak. No outer box. When Netflix orders "Munsters" Season 1, Universal has six custom-made DVD-9s sent to them. (of course they need no outer packaging for the discs). This is what I find a bit strange. This six DVD-9 configuration is not available to other retailers. It allows Netflix, and the studios, a way to make more revenue on a given set by renting twice as many discs as other dealers have for the same program.

#56 of 94 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted August 25 2005 - 08:48 PM

I've had zero problems with double-sided discs. One thing I love about Universal is their Franchise collections, where I can pick up a whole bunch of films in one series for DIRT CHEAP. Bring 'em on!

#57 of 94 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted August 25 2005 - 10:38 PM

So buy TWO copies!
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#58 of 94 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted August 26 2005 - 05:42 AM

Hey cynical, why would I want to buy two copies?

#59 of 94 OFFLINE   ElijahS


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Posted August 26 2005 - 06:22 AM

You could put labels on one side of each disc so that it comes to double the number of discs (that's my guess, at least).
- Elijah

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STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIPThe all-new drama from the creator of THE WEST WING and SPORTS NIGHTPremiering this fall on NBCThe last five minutes of St. Elsewhere is the only television show, ever. Everything else is a daydream.

#60 of 94 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted August 26 2005 - 09:23 AM

And that would also eliminate the concern about scratched disks.Posted Image
...When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth

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