Should I wait for Blu-ray TV show releases?
April 4, 2010 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Will TV shows come out on Blu-ray? Which ones should I wait for, which shouldn't I?

I know that this list of shows on Blu-ray exists.

Other ways to answer my question: did they film old shows in high enough quality that there would be some improvement in having them on Blu-ray? I like Miami Vice (for example), but if they didn't shoot it in HD, would a Blu-ray release be any better than a DVD one? Would it ever come out on Blu-ray anyways, whether it's for quality or bonus material or just reducing the physical number of discs?

Is Blu-ray even worth it in the first place? Should I stick with DVD? Maybe I should wait for solid state storage or something?

In summary: How and when should I purchase physical copies of my favorite TV shows? Should I even go physical or is digital the way of the future?
posted by battlebison to Technology (9 answers total)
I won't be buying series on Bluray. Solid State drives and cheap and cheaper storage are the future. Not discs and packaging.
posted by lakerk at 7:43 PM on April 4, 2010

Queue up any shows you like from Netflix. See if you're impressed by the Blu-ray releases.

and rip them to your giant NAS / HTPC setup if they look good ;)
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:45 PM on April 4, 2010

It depends on the show. Seinfeld, for example, was shot on film, and thus they've done new HD masters of the episodes from the source. So not only the source itself, but the availability of said source.
posted by CharlesV42 at 8:14 PM on April 4, 2010

A good deal of TV shows were/are filmed, just like movies on the big screen. Although your favorite old shows weren't shot with modern HD cameras, they can still be remastered for hi-def media/presentation. For example, like CharlesV42 said, Seinfeld (which predates our modern HDTVs) was remastered to be shown in HD on cable. So it is entirely possible for old shows like Miami Vice to be remastered for a Blu-Ray release and they would look great (cropping for 16:9 screens aside). However, I don't think there's a huge market for TV on Blu-Ray or DVD, so I wouldn't hold my breath.

There are also a lot of old shows that were videotaped. I can't say for sure, but I'd bet they would not look as good if they were remastered for HD presentation.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:18 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Answering in a random order:

(1) Blu-ray is worth it, imho. A good blu-ray makes cable/sat HD look like dog puke.

(2) Would a specific show be improved? I dunno. Once you have a BD player, rent Star Trek TOS to get a general idea of what an old show can look like. Then read reviews of specific shows you're thinking of getting before you buy them.

(3) Even if it didn't improve a whole lot, reducing the number of discs is nice.

(4) God, I hope streaming isn't the future. BD can dump 40Mb/s into your tv. HD over streaming, the few times I've looked, looks substantially worse than HD over cable, and that's a big enough mess of pixelation and macroblocking.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 PM on April 4, 2010

If a show wasn't originally broadcast in HD on a major network, I would wait for a release and read the reviews. I doubt most older shows would get a benefit over DVD though.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:02 PM on April 4, 2010

Hi-Def Digest does pretty thorougy reviews of Blu-ray releases.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:04 PM on April 4, 2010

Best answer: - Seinfeld's HD release on cable mucks with the aspect ratio. Dropping some of the top/bottom, and adding some on the sides. This leads to some pretty humorous moments, such as George complaining about a coffee table that doesn't exist on screen, or Kramer tripping over something that, again, doesn't exist on screen.

- Most sitcoms (in the 80s, etc.) were shot in video because it's cheaper and it gives the video a "lively" feel. Some sitcom are shot in film (Cheers, for example - was shot in film because of the highly detailed set set). It depends on the producers.

- Most dramas were shot in film, which gives things more of a "gritty realism."

If it was shot in film, if the film exists, if the studio feels it's worth remastering, and so on - then you'll get a remastered version.

Of course, nowadays everything is shot for HD so it'll look great in HD.

DVD quality can be amazingly high. Get the extended Lord of the Rings sets and you'll see just how beautiful DVD can be. A DVD is, after all, an MPG video and if they don't compress it too much to cram on lots of extras, the quality can be great. The Matrix is an example of a horribly compressed DVD (too many extras) that looks amazing on Blu Ray.

Ask yourself - does owning and watching the Blu Ray really contribute to your experience? Do you enjoy The Office more in HD? Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't.
posted by MesoFilter at 10:46 PM on April 4, 2010

Best answer: Most TV shows in the 80s were shot on film, though a significant minority (mostly sitcoms) used video. It's pretty easy to tell the difference -- just ask yourself, does it look like The Cosby Show (video) or Mary Tyler Moore (film)?

For the shows shot on film, Blu Ray could give a HUGE increase in quality over DVD. The big problem is that most of these film shows were actually edited in the video realm. That means all the editing would need to be redone using the film scans, and in some cases things like credits would also need to be redone. Unless it's a super high profile show like Seinfeld, that's very unlikely to happen.

For shows released before video editing was feasible, a blu ray release would actually be a lot easier.
posted by The Lamplighter at 7:35 AM on April 5, 2010

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