I tend to think the decision to drop DVD releases is VERY short-sighted.
This is driven by greed most likely and they are NOT looking at the bigger picture... To a lot of fans who were STILL buying the show on DVD, this is like giving them a BIG MIDDLE FINGER.
This is a very, very dumb PR move on Fox's part. If they are smart, they will change their minds well within a week. I would change that decision yesterday if it were me!
Fox has made a lot of money off The Simpsons... They may not want to admit this in public but the show is probably as important to them as Star Trek and Star Wars are to the companies that own those series, too.
The Simpsons is probably the most popular animated TV series in history and DEFINITELY one of the most popular sitcoms, too. I hesitate calling it the most popular TV show in history, period, but it has been around for going on three decades now. There is very little else on TV that has been around as longer or longer in continuous production other than news TV programs and some soap operas.
Think about it --- there hasn't a been a time since 1989 when there HASN'T been a new season of new episodes of The Simpsons! A lot of other TV series have gone on hiatus for a season or two, or even decades before they were brought back IF ever! ( => See Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, etc.)
Unless the the powers-that-be at 20th Century Fox think they have made all the money they are going to off The Simpsons, this has to be a pretty stupid decision if NOT for just the PR backlash from the fanbase still buying the DVDs alone.
Go into Wal-Mart once in a while, folks... I would suggest that as much as some people want to deny it there is a general reality about the average person's entertainment AND what actually sells to the masses. DVD still makes up AT LEAST half the video section in those stores if not more than half... Even today! Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and all the other companies still carrying home video releases in-store sure haven't abandoned carrying DVD, either!3D Blu ray is pretty much dead by-and-large. It was a fad and that bubble popped a while back.
DVD is VERY much NOT a fad and it'll be around for quite a few more years and IF the hardware manufacturers are smart they'll keep supporting the format with backwards compatibility because it'll be around for at least another decade
I think it's criminally stupid and the only reason NOT to do more Simpsons DVD releases is what Droo said... but ironically, they'd probably still make more money if they went ahead with DVD releases DESPITE the pirating.
I personally think the no-DVD argument is fairly weak as far as piracy goes
. You can find new episodes within a day or two after they're shown on TV online so they're being streamed almost right away, DVD or no DVD!
Once in a while, the home video companies do an EXCELLENT job cutting their own throats!
Blu ray has been a double-edged sword, IMHO. I think for a lot of TV animation -- particularly a lot of the Hanna-Barbera/UPA-like material, it doesn't do a heck of a lot... An upscaled DVD release of say PowerPuff Girls would look almost as good as a Blu ray release. The average person would NOT see a big enough difference to justify the Blu ray purchase. (I would say Simpsons does NOT require Blu ray, either, for the same reasons as most of the contemporary H-B animation... For anime, it's a split on whether the HD authoring really makes a difference or not...) There is nothing in the color or line-pattern of that show that would really benefit from an HD release. When you have more detail, subtle colors, and a lot more than 8-10 shades of color onscreen then, yeah, a Blu ray release is not a bad option IF you can sell enough discs to pay for it!
On the other hand, no question the films and TV shows that are filled with detail (Disney classic features, a lot of anime, and definitely the Ghibli stuff) DO benefit from HD disc release. Certainly, most live-action shot on film WILL show a lot more detail on Blu ray and generally look better in HD IF the show's creators put in the money to do a decent job on the show's presentation.
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(Ironically, some sci-fi series would NOT benefit from an HD release until the special effects are redone! Early CG on show shows was done for standard-definition/regular TV. That's why there is no Blu ray release of any part of Babylon 5! Also, some other shows which had 'classic' effects done with models, those effects were finished off on tapes geared towards standard-def TV. They had to redo ALL the major special effects shots in hi-def CG for Star Trek: TNG because the original FX were finished on SD videotape!)
Yes, the companies are AWARE that DVD has been cracked forever... The problem is that it is STILL very expensive to prepare films and TV shows for Blu ray.
They will only do Blu ray releases IF they think they stand to make a substantial profit and AT LEAST ENOUGH money to justify the additional expense of an HD/Blu ray release... and to think the electronics company jerks are STILL talking about Ultra HD disc hardware coming out in the next year! Companies are STILL not fully on-board with Blu ray
and that format has been around just under 10 years!