Blu-ray Disc Releases : TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

I'm talking shows like Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and the X Files, ect. Classic beloved shows that deserve the treatment. Then there are 21 century shows like The Office and 24 that only had a few seasons released on Blu but never the entire series.

Is it hopeless now? Or could we still see These shows on Blu??

IT'S A TRAP!!!

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

The X Files is apparently already in the works according to Blu-ray.com so keep an eye out for that one. They have to re-do all the visual effects rendering in HD so that's why it's taking so long.

Seinfeld has been remastered in 16:9 HD so I guess that's possible too, but then again maybe not. It all depends if the companies think they can make enough money from releasing it. IMO there's really nothing to be gained from viewing dialog-based comedy shows on BD, sure the picture will be sharper but it's not like the extra visual detail is going to make the jokes any funnier.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

I would call it slim to none that there will be a Blu-ray release of a lot of the elder TV-shows. I just base this on the fact, that lots of the much later shows, who actually has been shot and broadcasted in HD, only has been released on DVD.
The only place to get them in HD is on HDTV or places like iTunes, Netflix etc.

But something like The X-Files will also run in to a wall of problems, once they finally decides to release them on Blu-ray.
The reason is because the web is currently being flooded with some very high quality 1080p episodes, who has been ripped from streaming services.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Good grief I feel old. I would never categorize those shows as old or classic. Classic TV shows start in the 50's and 60's (now going to the 70's)
Wonderland Exile

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Seinfeld should definitely be released on Blu-Ray.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

There's a lot more to it than what you see in stores. A lot of those old sitcoms were recorded on analog SD videotape, on sets that relied on low-rez recording to hide cheap workmanship. They may be fond "classics" to you, but when they were made they were made for profit, not state-of-the-art. Shows like this were always intended to be shown at the original 4:3 aspect ratio, have no safe area framing and no HD-compatible original recordings. Nothing is gained by making Blu-ray releases, as long as consumer equipment still supports Video DVD.

Shows that were shot on film, on location, with safe areas can easily be ingested into digital post production, as we say in television, and use the original safe area to produce a 16:9 HD output suitable for Blu-ray. One good example of this is the Sci-Fi classic "Firefly", that originally aired on Fox in NTSC format, but was eventually released on Blu-ray as the producers had originally intended.

In between there are shows that could be raised to HD levels with some more work. Most of these were shot on film, which lends itself to HD post production, thanks to a random grain of the film, if not true HD resolution. I've seen quite a few shows that were shot on 16mm film that look great in HD, even though they were never intended to be shown that way. Others--not so much. Generally, shows that became successful and got better production values as a result make good Blu-ray releases.

Framing is a big part of this. You just don't see shows that have to be shown with the original 4:3 aspect ratio on Blu-ray. Some shows started their runs before HD broadcasting, and ended in widescreen HD. Sometimes it makes more sense to keep the early episodes as 4:3 DVD, and release only the made-for-HD ones on Blu-ray. The only exception to this rule is the occasional series shot in Super 16, and aired with the oddball 14:9 aspect ratio, before the transition to HDTV was complete. In this case the pillarboxing is a lot less noticible to the viewer.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Quite true, Speed, if you're talking about the '60s and '70s, as well as some sitcoms in the '80s, like Who's the Boss, Family Ties, etc. However, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and the X Files were all shot on film.

The bigger issue is the 4x3 to 16x9 conversion (top to bottom cropping). You're quite right about using what would be the safe area in the old 4x3 TV days to show more wide-screen in the 16x9 TV era. Even with the wider safe area, there's still top to bottom cropping required, head and foot-room shot-to-shot have to be carefully monitored to make sure all the essential story information is included, and titles have to either be included in the 16x9 crop area or re-generated entirely from scratch. Thankfully, from what I've seen of the Seinfeld episodes in 16x9 HD, the show's producers and/or transfer engineers have handled this expertly.

Battlestar Galactica (the original 1978 TV series) and the TV series Galactica 1980 were recently scanned from their film negatives, in 2k, not 4k resolution the documentary says (2k was apparently all that was needed to capture all the resolution information in the film, presumably 16mm), for 1080p blu-ray in a box set called The Definitive Collection. The resolution, color and contrast of all the transfers in this set look superb (the black level is amazing and you can really see all the glints in the actors' eyes, as well as all the grain in the white of Viper turbos and all of John Dykstra and his company Apogee's then-groundbreaking, state-of-the-art, multi-pass through an optical printer visual-effects), and for the most part, transfer engineers did a great job with the re-framing of the cropped 4x3 compositions, with most of the primary actors' faces and action centered around the center of the 4x3 screen anyway during original filming. There are a few exceptions: There are a few closing titles in one episode that should have been re-oriented up a bit because they're too close to the bottom of the frame, some shots during a paratrooper sequence down into a Cylon compound during The Living Legend-Part II episode has actors' heads cut off, as well as Lorne Greene as Commander Adama's jawline being cut off when he was communicating with Colonel Tigh via viewscreen I believe, when he was too close to the bottom of the 4x3 frame during original filming. Bad, re-framers, bad. You should have taken a little more time and care there to correct such issues, especially since, due to expense and the fact that technology can't possibly show any more than what is there in the original film, this will undoubtedly be the LAST version of these shows.

Thankfully, also included in this Definitive Collection set are the original broadcast 4x3 versions of Battlestar Glactica and Galactica 1980, which are the same terrific transfers as the 16x9 versions, and are naturally properly formatted in their original 4x3. This the way it should be done for all such shows. Of course, at $80, this box set is not cheap, but considering all you get, it's pretty fair.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

In the cases that you mention, the show was never intended to be shown in other than the 4:3 aspect ratio. I can imagine that some purists would prefer to see the original framing, just as movie purists prefer letterboxing over pan and scan adaptations to 4:3 in the past.

I think that you missed my point that "Firefly" was in fact shot with 16:9 release in mind. A crew member has confirmed that the original production used 16:9 safe areas. In cases like that, the original crew has already made the artistic decisions, and all that remains to be done is to mask the film print or DI frame.

You're quite right that 2K is sufficient for most 16mm transfers, including Super 16. In other shows like Babylon 5, that used primitive CGI effects rendered in NTSC, the use of film doesn't help, as the low-rez CGI is the limiting factor. The FX could be re-rendered for HD, but would that still be the original show?

As you my recall, I'm a fan of murder mysteries, and have enjoyed several from the UK that were shot in 16mm. "Midsomer Murders" started production in standard 16mm, moved to Super 16 as pre-HDTV widescreen became available in the UK (with anamorphic prints), and finally 35mm as the show's popularity and budget increased. This is a show that started production at 4:3, saw some release at 14:9, and is currently shown and released to Blu-ray at 16:9. Some early episodes were cropped for widwscreen DVD release, and in some cases new creidts were substituted. But generally the aftermarket releases were true to form. IMO that was the right decision.

I've seen an awful lot (pun intended) of slapdash butchery of old NTSC shows, done for no other reason than to fill the screen on a widescreen TV channel. This might be acceptable on basic cable, for reruns, as long as the artists do not object. But, for the same reasons that movie purists reject pan and scan, attempts to force a 4:3 show into a full 16:9 frame only appeal to the least common denominator of viewers.

Recently I bought a $250 box set of a grand old show that never saw widescreen release. It was all on DVD, at 4:3, and looked better than ever. I was very pleased not to lose 25% of the original frame in this investment

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Firefly: Got it.

Galactica and Seinfeld: Yes, it's true that these shows were never meant to be seen in anything other than their native 4x3 aspect ratio, but that doesn't mean that a 16x9 crop/reformatting can't be successfully done (!).

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Sure it can be done. I just wouldn't pay for that version myself. To each their own, I suppose.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Yep. I paid for Battlestar because I knew the 16x9 crop of the 2k scan would zoom into and thus allow even more picture resolution than the 4x3 version, making each episode of the old '70s TV series a cinematic event. It didn't disappoint! You can really see into the details of Battlestar's production design, the actors' performances and of course the visual-effects.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Hmmm...I'm not aware of any film scanners that have optical zoom capability. And 2k is only 80 more lines than HD.

If it makes you happy, great. Personally I've had to suffer from some real hatchet jobs that were done to satisfy the lowest common denominator viewer who would be equally happy with the TV set to stretch the 4:3 image to full screen. But to me the heavily cropped result felt distinctly claustrophobic.

True, if every transfer was done with loving care, it likely wouldn't be a problem. Alas that is the exception not the rule.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Hmmm, isn't 2K 2,000 lines of resolution, 920 more lines than 1080p? Do the math. That's a lot more than 80 lines.

And, according to the Restoring Galactica documentary found on the last disc, the zooming and top-to-bottom cropping wasn't done during the film scanning process but after.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

No, 1080p is 1920 x 1080, not 1080 x 1080. And in practice, a 2K sensor with a 4:3 TV gate is going to expose slightly less than 1920 horizontal pixels. Only Super 35 fills up the entire width.

Digital cropping doesn't magically save the large portions of the original picture either. In order to fill the width of a 16:9 screen, ~360 V lines must be discarded. I'm not passing judgment here, just stating fact. If you like the end result, that's great. I'd still rather have the choice to see it in the original format; I can always zoom to fill the whole screen if I really wanted to.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

If a show was shot for 4:3, that's how it should be presented in high-definition. X-FILES cropped to 16:9 just looks wrong.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

I agree, it does look wrong if it wasn't intended to be that way, as was the case with many shows made solidly in the NTSC/PAL/SECAM 4:3 era. Others, like the the ill-fated "Firefly" TV series offer us a choice. "Firefly" was originally broadcast in NTSC 4:3 video. But because it was produced with 16:9 safe areas at the time of shooting, it made a good 16:9 Blu-ray release. I'd still like a 4:3 Blu-ray version too. I'd think that a crew that had the foresight to anticipate ATSC probably also took pains to preserve the resolution of the whole frame.

I'm guessing that there were other TV producers who saw ATSC coming, and shot using 16:9 safe areas. I just can't recall any that I watched and had technical information from a crew member on. I'd love to see shows that were shot onto 4-perf 35mm film rescanned, retouched and released in their original aspect ratio on Blu-ray, pillarboxed and all. And if the production used safe areas with the intention of airing/releasing a 16:9 version someday, I'd like to see that too. My default choice would be both, not either/or. I don't know if the market can bear my specific wants, but it never hurts to ask!

In related news, I recently saw David Gilmour in concert. I didn't expect to get a camera past security, but figured they'd have to let my smartphone through. My phone has a "12 MP" sensor, which is something that I take with a grain of salt when the optics are designed to be tiny first and good maybe. But for the first time I had a reason to really set up my phone's camera. Much to my surprise, the sensor was 4:3, and gave the most still pixels at that aspect ratio. I could set it for the wide screen look, but at a loss of resolution. As it turns out, the taller aspect ratio came in real handy, as the lighting effects went all the way to the ceiling of the arena. Anyway, the 4:3 aspect ratio isn't completely dead yet.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

An argument could be made for cropping 4:3 shows a moderate amount, since that's how the CRT TVs of that era would have displayed them. But, TVs or media players should have zoom modes that leave the choice up to the viewer. I use the zoom mode on my WD TV Live regularly to fix non-anamorphic videos or those that were windowboxed to compensate for the overscan typical of CRT TVs. And as far as I can tell, this doesn't introduce any visible degradation.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

If you're talking about overscan, I have to say that I'm bemused by the fact that my all-digital monitors that should have no problem doing perfect registration every time actually have overscan enabled by default, even with HD content. Seems that old TV engineers just can't lose those habits that are no longer necessary or desirable. But yes, I can "fix it in the mix." I suppose that the original SD productions were done with the expectation that some of the picture would be lost to overscan. If that's used to make the pillar boxing less evident, I'd call that a Good Thing most of the time, even though it's usually against my religion to toss out picture information.

When it comes to "blowing up" old 4:3 content so that the pillar bars are less obvious, I kinda like it. I've binge watched some series that started their runs in SD analog, and switched to HD mid-stream. Watching the older episodes at ~14:9 on my HDTV keeps my mind off the technical stuff and lets me enjoy the story, which is as it should be IMO. To their credit, some OTT distributors have done a good job of processing the old shows so that the details in shot-for-SD episodes are nearly as sharp as with the HD ones. That's an art that, when done well is something that nobody notices...except for a handful of old boffins like me.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Battlestar Galactica, aside from the few aforementioned badly cropped or aligned shots, looks great, epic, cinematic in 16x9. 4x3 version is included, but I don't even watch it anymore. The 16x9 crop shows sooo much more detail, every glint in the actors' eyes.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

Battlestar Galactica, aside from the few aforementioned badly cropped or aligned shots, looks great, epic, cinematic in 16x9. A 4x3 version is included, but I don't even watch it anymore. The 16x9 crop shows sooo much more detail, every glint in the actors' eyes.

Re: TV Shows Never Released on Blu Ray: Is It Still Possible?

I can understand the X-Files but why would you need Seinfeld on blue-ray?
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