"Victory at Sea" Distribution Questions

Discussion in 'DVD' started by David Grove, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. David Grove

    David Grove Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm confused about some distribution issues of the famous documentary, "Victory at Sea".

    I gather that "Victory at Sea" on DVD was released two or three years ago by A&E. It seems that there was general complaining about severe variations in audio level in that product. Price was in the ballpark of $60, or more, I think.

    Now, I see many new (within about the last 6 months) releases from the likes of Ventura, Digital One Stop, Kaboom, and Mill Creek Entertainment. They are mostly priced in the $6 - $10 range. They have release dates between July 2005 and December 2005. The Mill Creek Entertainment release is currently on the New Release Shelves at Fred Meyer. Are these PD releases? If so, how can it be? Did "Victory at Sea" somehow revert to PD in the last few months? But, if PD, how can Kaboom have its own copyright notice on the product? And what about the Richard Rodgers score-- could it have gone PD? Interestingly, the packaging appears to be identical on all of these products. Also, the UPCs are the same (based on physical inspection of Mill Creek Entertainment version, and web research for the others). How can that be, regardless of whether the title is PD??

    Comments at Amazon.com (which features the Digital One Stop product) suggest that the current product is distinct from the A&E release of a few years ago--the audio is claimed to be much improved.

    So, we seem to have "Victory at Sea", with the same packaging, and the same UPC, from several different studios. These new releases seem to be distinct form the older A&E release. They all have 26 episodes.

    Can someone who understands the DVD biz better than I clarify what is happening with "Victory at Sea"?

    Thank you.

    DG
     
  2. David Grove

    David Grove Stunt Coordinator

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    Bueller?... Anyone?... Anyone?...
     
  3. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

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    I can give you some hints...first, CBS Paramount Television now holds ancilliary syndication rights.

    Yes, there are so many companies releasing "Victory At Sea" on DVD, and yes, the series is now in the public domain.

    However, NBC/Universal, the company that holds the original elements, licensed an "authorized" version for DVD...that collection has been issued by A & E Home Video. If you see any version of "Victory At Sea" on video, I suggest A & E's set.
     
  4. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    PD companies are selling the entire 26-episode series for under $10?

    I have the "official" version, which is of decent quality -- probably better than the PD editions. (IIRC, I only paid $27 for it during one of DDD's 20%-off sales.)
     
  5. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    DVDpricesearch lumps all these new versions under a "Ventura" label, but when you take their link to Amazon it shows a photo of the "Mill Creek Entertainment" box with a notation that it's the "Digital 1 Stop" version in the text of the description. [​IMG]

    I just picked up the box for $10 at the local Fred Meyer.

    [​IMG]

    I've only had time to watch a representative episode, Mare Nostram, but I will say this. The sound quality is MUCH MUCH improved over the "official" A&E version. The A&E version includes color intro and closing "History Channel" footage, whose audio levels are WAY WAY louder than the documentary itself. The A&E version's audio levels vary maddeningly throughout the documentary, and all too often you have to crank the volume way up to hear it, then have to race over to turn the sound down when the History Channel closing credits appear. [​IMG] So far I don't have any comments on the video quality but the cheap version doesn't immediately appear to be worse. After all, this is combat footage which was not exactly shot under ideal controlled conditions.

    I'll update this thread as I work my way through this new box.
     
  6. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Interesting. I've seen the new PD sets in the $5.50 bin(!) at Walmart on several occasions now.

    It's been a while since I put on my old A&E set, but maybe it's time to check again just how bad the audio is. . .
     
  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I've watched the Mill Creek version of Victory At Sea many times since I last posted.

    It's much better than the A&E version, at about $10 versus the $60 A&E wants.

    Please don't buy the A&E version.
     

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