On one level it makes sense that the sixth season of The Sopranos has been announced as the first TV show to make it to HD-DVD. The writing, acting and production values are all motion picture quality, and this most recent season has been no exception. It’s only peers are Deadwood and Battlestar Galactica, and neither of them have been doing for nearly as long — and we already know that Deadwood won’t.
Given the combination of quality and longevity, it may just be the best TV Drama ever, so it’s kind of fitting that it’s the first one to make the hi-def jump.
However, there is one small problem: the price. $129.95. It makes one wonder if HBO has contracted out to Tony and the rest of his New Jersey gang to whack HD-DVD once and for all.
Look, we all know that HBO has always charged crazy ridiculous prices for their DVD sets. It’s part of the territory, and people have paid it for the quality, and for the fact that they figured that they’d be watching these sets over and over again. I’ve probably watched the first three seasons of the Sopranos a few times on DVD, and will do so with Deadwood, as well.
But that was because we figured that DVD would be around for awhile. It’s totally different when you are a new format locked in mortal combat with a similar format, where only one can be a winner. And it’s entirely likely that both will flame out because consumers don’t want to get burned again.
It would seem to me that under those circumstances, you’d want to attract people to the new format, and maybe even make what everybody knows are totally arbitrary pricepoints lower than those for the “regular” DVDs?
I guess not.
If anything would have tempted me to sample HD-DVD, it would have been a lower-priced box set of one of my favorite shows. Luckily, I won’t have to worry about that. And HD-DVD misses a chance to get a leg up on Blu-Ray.