Now you can watch TV on DVD

Crystal Hohenthaner

Crystal Hohenthaner

The new buzz in television these days has changed from the life-changing question of who’s the father of Rachel’s baby to when is the third season of Alias going to be out?

The sale of television shows on DVDs has hit an all-time high with the industry raking in almost $2 billion this year. A year ago, you could buy only 153 different titles. Now over 400 TV titles are available on DVD, data from Fox Home Entertainment shows.

“DVDs were traditionally movie-orientated, financed by the movie industry to extend the shelf-life of the theatric release,” said Jeffrey Miller, TV critic for Etc. Magazine in Sioux Falls. “It was almost secondary to have television shows on DVD.”

Some of the best-rated shows are yet to come with the first season of CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond going on sale Sept. 14 and the first three seasons of Seinfeld hitting shelves Nov. 23.

Family Guy, an animated series on Fox, was taken off the air in early 2002 when ratings dropped, but after the DVD sold 2.5 million copies and became the fourth best-selling TV DVD in 2003, Fox decided to resume the series. New episodes will air in May 2005.

Brian Eclov, news director at KBRK in Brookings, says his favorite TV DVDs are The Simpsons and CSI.

“I enjoy the instant gratification of a DVD. I get to watch them back-to-back or just a couple at a time,” Eclov said. “With the CSI series, I sometimes stop it and go back to make sure I heard the words correctly or if I didn’t understand something.”

Kathy Huska, who works at Mr. Movies in Brookings, says the demand for TV shows on DVDs happened around the time HBO’s The Sopranos gained popularity.

“That started it and then we started getting all of them,” she said. “Now people are on lists waiting for the next season to come out.”

Mr. Movies stocks over 15 titles including CSI, The Osbournes, Will and Grace and Monk.

Julie Gunderson, manager of Movie Gallery in Brookings, says the store started renting TV show DVDs a year ago and now it just keeps adding more.

“It’s popular with everyone,” she said. “Some people missed part of the series or they want to check out the special features.”

Movie Gallery has about 25 TV DVDs on its shelves including Sex and the City, Alias and 24.

The local Blockbuster has six titles including Oz and 6 Feet Under.

The city library also loans out TV-titles DVDs, offering a wide range of shows from the 50s-era sitcoms to BBC comedies.

Jack Benny, Ozzie and Harriet and I Spy are some of the older titles. Twin Peaks, Cheers and Dragnet are long-time favorites, and the BBC shows include, Changing Rooms, similar to TLC’s Trading Spaces.