Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“The Warner Archive Collection”

Since we’ll often be referring to “The Warner Archive Collection” in future DVD reviews, I thought I’d post this generalized description here, and simply link to it as needed.

“The Warner Archive Collection” offers online exclusive DVD packages that are “manufactured-on-demand” (or MOD). They are not mass-produced, standard pressed DVDs, but are recorded on DVD-R.

I don’t consider DVD-R to be the most desirable medium. Though the end product is certainly superior to “bootleg” material, it is a step or two below the mass-marketed product we know and love.

At least in this regard, Warner plays fair with us by issuing the following disclaimer:

This disc is expected to play back in DVD video ‘play only’ devices, and may not play back in other DVD devices including recorders and PC drives”.

True enough. Warner Archive discs are not recognized by my computer, though they play just fine on my Blu-ray player.

“The Warner Archive Collection” product takes a no-frills approach. Extra Features, if they exist at all, are kept to a bare minimum. Films and programs are not segmented by “Chapters”, but the Skip Forward and Skip Backward keys of your DVD remote allow you to navigate at ten-minute intervals – regardless of where that ten minute jump will land you logically within the story. …Though, more recent TWAC releases have exhibited “Chapter Breaks” in a more logical, and less mechanically rigid, fashion.

No subtitles are included and source material is generally fine and sharp, though not always as pristine as a standard release.

Retail prices are often higher than they might otherwise be, but that comes with the nature of “Manufacture on Demand”. Sales and other promotions are offered regularly, once you’ve made the initial foray into TWAC, mitigating the impact of pricing somewhat.

On the plus side “The Warner Archive Collection” is able to offer many movies, TV shows, and animated series that would not likely find support in the present-day mass market. “The Warner Archive Collection” has provided such wonders as Hanna-Barbera’s ‘60s series FRANKENSTEIN JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES and Irwin Allen’s early ‘70s aborted TV pilot CITY BENEATH THE SEA... just to name two.

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