We may all live in a great big global community, but in my Blog, it's my world.

I got the copy of Star Trek: The Original Series (season 1) on HD DVD that I had ordered from DeepDiscount.com during their recent 20% off sale. I'm enjoying some episodes of it as I type. My one real complaint is in the packaging, with a couple of nits to pick.

First, I would note that I passed on buying the individual episode (or multiple episodes) DVDs when they were first released, and then passed on buying the DVD sets that were released, but when this HD DVD set was released, I knew I was going to have a hard time passing.  For those individual episode (or multiple episodes) DVDs, the prices seemed too high for the few episodes you'd get per disc.  Over time, the prices came down, but I still resisted buying because I felt there just wasn't enough value there for me.  When full season sets were available, there was the problem of the high cost per set.  The return for the investment just didn't feel right to me, so I passed still.

Now that the set is available on HD DVD, it is still expensive, but there are so many extras added, and a ton of work that shows through in the beautifully and lovingly restored episodes on these discs.  Cleaned up images, touched up (but not ruined or destroyed as Lucas did with Star Wars) special effects and prop images, and so many extras that a Trek fan could be busy for weeks watching all of the content on these discs.  What really sold me on the package was DeepDiscount.com's 20% off sale on top of their already discounted prices.  (Sorry, sale ended a few weeks ago folks).  Thanks to the 20% discount, the set price came down to a level that was just outside of the affordable range, and only barely in the slightly ridiculous range.  Close enough that I could swing the purchase as one of the presents of the holiday season and/or for my birthday.  Besides, if you do the math and divvy up the 10 discs that are included in the set, the price per disc isn't too bad.

Now, on to the nits -- the packaging for the set.  First, since the discs are combo discs (HD DVD on one side, DVD on the other), there's no 'face' to the discs with episodes noted on that face. Instead there's a set of plastic cards that fit into the neat-o Trek type case. Ummm, ok. I can buy that, but... the cards all came in one little sealed plastic package that was inside the bigger package. I guess it is assumed that the cards will not slide around that way. The buyer must open the set of plastic cards themselves and then insert those cards back into the neat-o Trek type case.

The discs themselves are kept in a book type clear plastic casing with a binding on one edge. The plastic book that holds the disc folds open for access to the discs in the set. Unfortunately there's no plastic cover over the top most disc (disc 1). That means if you aren't careful, as you take the book type case out of the bigger package you'll be fingerprinting the DVD side of disc 1. D'oh! The back of the inside plastic case does have a plastic cover so you won't be touching the HD DVD side of disc 10. I wish that the 'pages' of the inside plastic case each had a copy of the plastic cards discussed above, or at least had some documentation about what is on the discs in those slots of the case. Again, something that would be much bigger and more visible to show me what episodes are on which disc.

One final nit -- while the menu system is fairly intuitive and doesn't really require a manual or user guide, I am somewhat disappointed that there's no written notes in the package that tell the buyer of the various extras and options that are available. There are some fairly cool extras there, and I fear I might miss something I'd want to see just from not knowing it's there. Poor job of marketing the final product for customers.

On the actual images of the episodes on the HD DVD sides of these discs, beautiful. Simply beautiful. Nice clean images that are bright and sharp. Nice use of the pillar bar areas for showing icons noting extras that are available at various points while watching the episodes. Nice picture-and-picture splits for showing commentary information alongside the original episodes. About the only thing missing that I could speak of is the commercials that used to pop-up at the moments of maximum drama while watching these episodes. Expensive HD DVD set, but well worth it for this Trek fan.


Comments
on Dec 12, 2007
Since the original series was filmed for standard TV, what does HD DVD really give you?
on Dec 13, 2007

Since the original series was filmed for standard TV, what does HD DVD really give you?

One of the key-words here is highlighted (thanks for using the right word there )

Images shot on film, versus on video tape, can be remastered (from the film prints) for high definition fairly easily.  Film is higher resolution than either current HD specification (HD DVD or Blu-Ray) where the best that can be used is 1080p resolution (both formats support that).  Video tape on the other hand is much lower quality, so the best you'll get is the resolution that was supported by video tape, something around the resolutions that 'shine through' from VHS video in a person's home.  So, one of the biggests 'gets' for HD DVD sets of this series is the high resolution images.

What else you get with this set is several 'improved' CGI shots.  Not wholesale changes of what occured in the original story, and not replacements of props that were used in the originally shown episodes, but cleaned up images and/or in select instances replaced images that show the same thing but do so in a way that looks better, neater, and more impressive.  See for example reviews at places like HighDefDigest.com where the details of these 'upgrades' are talked about.  While some people expected the worst, what they've found is that a lot of care and effort went into preserving the original cheeseball effects and making them look good based on what they started out as.

In addition, well, there are just tons and tons of extras on these discs.  As noted in my original article, there are lots of places where there are 'picture-and-picture' opportunities.  You can bring up the extras (commentary tracks, geeky info about Star Fleet technology, etc.) and have them shown side-by-side with the original episode.  If you turn on the options for it, you see little Star Fleet logos shown in the pillar box areas on the side of the screen indicating that there's extra info available, or commentary, etc.  It is really slickly done, and with the space on the sides of the screen basically unused because the images were originally shot for 4:3 ratio, rather than the 16:9 widescreen HD specifications, there's no waste of the screen and no need to place these logos and visual prompts on top of any of the original materials.

It really is a surprisingly good implementation and upgrade over the older versions (old syndicated airings of Trek: TOS where the source materials would get dirty from being played over, and over, and over again...) that I remember, and definitely a major upgrade over the older DVD releases.

on Dec 13, 2007

I'll wait.  It will be cheaper next year.  The first law of Technology.

But it will be going on my Christmas list next year!

on Dec 13, 2007

I'll wait. It will be cheaper next year. The first law of Technology.

But it will be going on my Christmas list next year!

I'm sure it will get cheaper over time, though I'm not so sure it'll drop in price by next year.

What I can and will recommend though is that when you are ready to purchase or have it purchased for you, look for the DeepDiscount.com 20% off sale (happens at least yearly, if not bi-yearly) as you can save a considerable amount that way.  Instead of paying the approx. $199 (suggested retail) for this set, DeepDiscount had it discounted down into same neighborhood that Amazon.com currently has it ($133).  With  their 20% off discount applied on top of that, it brought the price down to the $109 mark.  Not cheap, but much more reasonable than $200, or even $133.

DeepDiscount isn't the fastest on fulfilling orders, but they've proven very reliable and relatively cheap compared to Best Buy, Amazon and others.

on Dec 13, 2007

DeepDiscount isn't the fastest on fulfilling orders, but they've proven very reliable and relatively cheap compared to Best Buy, Amazon and others.

I played them off against Overstock and Amazon.  I found some cheaper on one or the other, so got some of the stuff from Deep Discount.  Part of the order has already shipped.  As long as all gets here next week, they will continue to be one of my top 3.

Meta
Views
» 300
Comments
» 5
Category
» DVD
Sponsored Links