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BACK TO THE FUTURE DVD: Corrected Versions In Stores, FAQ & Summary


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#1 of 80 Vince Maskeeper

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Posted February 03 2005 - 08:13 PM

LAST UPDATED: Feb 4th, 2005
**Corrected DVDs can now be purchased in stores! Skip down to #11 in this FAQ for full information


This post started out as a summary of the previous 30+ page discussion on the topic of flawed BTTF DVDs. Then the new thread continued into a 20+ page discussion charting the progress of returns and replacements.

Both old threads are now closed; further discussion should continue below, and this FAQ/Summary post will be updated as necessary.




HTF BACK TO THE FUTURE DVD FAQ and Summary.


1. What exactly is wrong with BTTF DVD set?

There are several framing errors in the widescreen version of BTTF Parts 2 and 3. These framing errors result in the widescreen picture being too open at the top and cut at the bottom or in other cases the image is too tightly zoomed.

The errors are pretty obvious to people who are familiar with the films, and to those folks who are critical of visual composition. In at least once case these framing errors ruin a sight gag.

These framing errors had been noticed by numerous members of this forum when international (non-region 1) BTTF sets were released in Fall of 2002, and was eventually noticed by BTTF producer BOB GALE when the R1 disc were released in Dec 2002. Bob pressured Universal to redo the DVD transfers to repair these errors.

Universal's "official statement" says it only affects a few minutes (2 min and 4 min respectively) of the films, but it seems that the framing was left on "auto pilot" when several scenes needed specific matting and so there are several places where the movie is misframed (some much worse than others).

There is a 10 page discussion on the topic of BTTF framing complete with screencaps here: http://www.hometheat....hreadid=112569 - and there is an additional set of captures and comparisons (courtesy of Guido Bibra) that include the original WS VHS and the new V2 replacement DVDs: BTTF2 and BTTF3.


2. So what does UNIVERSAL say about these discs?

The official Universal statement is:
"Universal Studios Home Video is aware of a minor technical framing issue on the "Back to the Future Trilogy" widescreen DVDs. The framing appears differently from the laser disc releases for approximately two minutes during "Back to the Future II" and four minutes on "Back to the Future III." The framing difference is unnoticeable to widescreen DVD viewers and does not detract from or interrupt the viewing experience."

This statement will probably be read to you by customer service reps if you call for replacement discs-- and has been repeated ad nauseam on almost every DVD news site.

The official statement seems to try to play down the problem, acting as though the transfers are correct, only different from the laserdisc versions (and this statement erroneously states it's not noticeable on Widescreen versions, when it's likely they meant on it was unnoticeable on Fullscreen version)... but rest assured it is noticable and it is wrong.

I have spoken with several people who have made the comparison between the DVD and the widescreen VHS and Laser releases and it's a LARGE PORTION OF BOTH FILMS that is misframedin one way or another. The theory is that only the hard matted effects shots were correct and the rest had centered mattes left the whole time when they needed to be moved for several shots--- so only shot with VFX would be correct. This means hundred of shots have the potential to be wrong.

The problem does not seem to happen for Part 1, but is glaringly obvious in Parts 2 and 3. It affects the whole films of Parts II & III - The misframing is simply more evident during the 2 and 4 minute sections to which Universal has pointed.



3. Is BTTF Part 1 affected?

Though there has been a few debates to the contrary, it seems that the framing on BTTF looks correct and matches the previous laserdisc release. Only BTTF 2 and 3 contain errors, and it only effects the Widescreen version (although I would doubt there are many Fullscreen buyers here).



4. Are there any other problems with the set?

Well, some of the standard problems that affect almost every major release: Some brands of players are reporting lockups (JVC, Sony and Newer Toshiba players specifically)- but this seems to be isolated to particular hardware or faulty discs that work fine after being returned.

In addition, there have been some criticisms of the sound (someone has voiced at least one complaints for each of the films)- but it is not what I would call "widespread".

In terms of sound problems: BTTF2, specifically during the "ENCHANTMENT UNDER THE SEA DANCE" sequence appears to have a weird phasing sound which causes a warble, and seem more apparent on headphones. The warble was brought to the attention of Bob Gale, and the majority of the problem was fixed in the repressing- although some have still found "errors" in the V2 version when compared to the French track. It is unclear which specific audio issues remain with V2, and if they were intended or not.

There is also, supposedly an error in the French dub on Part 3 that was corrected.

There were some complaints that the widescreen version of BTTF contained Fullframe trailers, including BTTF1. There was some discussion that this would be corrected, and a Widescreen trailer for BTTF1 would be included on a fixed version of disc 2 or 3. On the V2 replacement discs BTTF2 trailer is about 1.66:1 and BTTF3 1.85:1 - both non-anamorphic. It seems these are only matted down versions of the fullframe trailers of the old discs, but it could be that the quality is a bit better.

There is no widescreen trailer of BTTF1 included on either replacement disc - but I think it was mentioned in the documentaries that there were never any "real" trailers done for the first movies except the short teaser one on the first disc.


5. Isn't the "TO BE CONTINUED" title missing from the end of BTTF1 in this set?

No matter what you think you remember, this title was not added until home video- and the DVD [correctly] reflects the theatrical experience of this film. If you don't believe me, check the commentary track or the Q/A section on the DVDs.



6. So what is being done about the problem(s)?

Universal and Producer Bob gale have been very upfront about the framing problem upon discovery and have redone the transfers and have made replacement discs available. All you have to do is send in your errored discs to Universal and they will ship you replacements. The replacements are shipping as of March 2003, and Bob gale commented on them here: http://www.bttf.com/.../20030328.shtml

Posted Image


=======================================
***Replacements for US people:***
=======================================

Call (888) 703-0010 and talk to a customer service rep. They will ask you some questions- including your address and phone, your reason for disc return and where you bought your set. They will send you a prepaid mailer to return the discs. NOTE: This call center might not be in the US, so the people you talk to might not speak English all too well. Be patient, and make sure they spell back your info to be sure you get a mailer.

When you get the mailer, it will be shipped to Back to the Future DVD Returns, PO Box 224468, Dallas, Texas 75260.

If you don't want to wait for a mailer, you can just send the discs yourself to the above address, with the following info: Name, Full Mailing Address, Daytime Phone, Reason for Return (hah!).

*Package Discs up without the case, just discs 2 and 3 and no receipt is needed. Don't worry too much about protecting them for shipping, as Universal will be destroying the discs anyway.

If you want to check the status of discs you have returned, call 972-293-5903 or email universalstudios&dreamworks@leemarketing.com.

I do not think it is possible to get a mailer by emailing universalstudios&dreamworks@leemarketing.com, emails to/from this address seem to only be able to check their database let you know if they have received discs (and it takes a few days to get a response).



=======================================
***Replacements For Canadians:***
=======================================

Call (866) 532-2202 and talk to a customer service rep (or more likely leave a voicemail). They will send you a prepaid mailer (will call you back and get your info if you leave a message). If you don't want to call, you can email your information to melissa.mcgee@unistudios.com to get a prepaid mailer sent to you.

The mailer is shipped to (and replacement discs are shipped from): Back to the Future Replacement, Attention: Melissa McGee, 2450 Victoria Park Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
M2J 4A2 Canada


You send the discs to the address provided on the mailer, with the following info: Name, Full Mailing Address, Daytime Phone, Reason for Return (hah!).

*Package Discs up without the case, just discs 2 and 3 and no receipt is needed. Don't worry too much about protecting them for shipping, as Universal will be destroying the discs anyway.



=======================================
***Replacements For International Customers with R1 Release:***
=======================================

Well, it looks like you're out of luck...

Previously Universal was allowing overseas customers to return their discs to the US return address, or better yet- to contact the Canadian office and get them shipped free (without even returning the old discs!)

However, this policy has been updated as of fall 2003.

"Unfortuantely, we will not be able to accomodate your request. Universal is issuing replacements for North American consumers only. Please see below for official statement from our U.S. office:

"Universal Studios Home Video sells Region 1 DVDs, which may be sold and shipped only in the United States and Canada. Consequently, we are unable to accommodate your request for a replacement disc. We recommend that as a resident of the United Kingdom, you purchase a Region 2 player and Region 2 DVDs from reputable retailers in the United Kingdom."


So, those of you who got in on the free disc from Melissa, good show. Those who waited, well...

At this point your only recourse would be to find a friendly individual stateside who could call and get the mailer for you, and then post your discs drectly to them (along with, I would guess, postage to get the replacements back to you). Beyond that approach, well, I think you're out of luck.



=======================================
***For international customers with NON-Region 1 versions of BTTF:***
=======================================

GERMANY:
contact Universal Pictures + 49 40 35008 01
Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse 93 T: +49 40 35008 357
D-20355 Hamburg F: +49 40 35008 360
info@universal-pictures.de
Unofficial Info: Universal has not begun replacing the German discs yet, because they had some problems with the corrected masters (faulty audio tracks).
In Late Sept 2003, Universal Germany received new masters which are now being tested.
If everything is ok, Universal Germany will inform all customers, who have registered themselves by e-mail, to which address they can send the faulty discs and how they will get the corrected discs.
Universal thinks that the discs will be replaced by the end of November 2003.


Australia:
Please send your "Back To the Future" discs 2 & 3 (without the case) to the address below and we will replace the two discs for newly-pressed DVDs with updated framing. Please enclose a letter stating your Name, Full Mailing Address, Daytime Phone Number and your reason for return. Please allow 4 weeks from April 30 for your replacement discs to be dispatched.
BTTF Exchange / UPA Customer Service
PO Box 17
Millers Point NSW 2000

New Zealand:
BTTF Exchange / Customer Service
Universal Pictures Video NZ
PO Box 617
Auckland
NEW ZEALAND
The phone number is: 0-9-375 7740

England
According to Total DVD Online
Phone 08705 900909, where a customer service operator will advise you on the replacement procedure. I believe the return address is:
FAO Customer Services
Universal Music
Chippenham Drive
Kingston
Milton Keynes
Bucks
MK10 0AT

Note: According to R2 Project, the replacement R2 discs have been delayed until July. There is no official word from Universal, but if it's true- it would likely affect all non-R1 European replacements as well. Stay Tuned



7. How long does it take?

Well- it varies.

For those US & Canada folks who mailed theirs back in January it seemed to take a long time- there was no official "start date" of shipping (although I think it started around March 21st), so the turnaround time was several months for those who sent back discs when the replacement process was first announced. Of course, the bulk of this wait was waiting for the discs to be repressed and made available.

Recently, it seems that getting a mailer takes less than a week from the date of the phone call (usually just a couple days)- and getting replacement discs takes 2-3 weeks (sometimes less) after faulty discs are shipped back-- some have even reported a 6-7 day turnaround for getting replacements!

If anyone who has sent disc recently (Since Summer 2004) has a timetable for your replacement, post it and I'll keep this updated.



8. If I'm international, will I get hit with big customs and duty charges?

US/Canada universal is no longer shipping discs overseas- so this question has become moot. If you have an american friend ship the discs to you, you will need to work out the proper customs information to prevent getting billed customs/duty.

When Universal WAS shipping the discs overseas, the answer to duty/customs was no. The returned shipment from Universal had Declared value of $40 and states to "Bill duty, tax and shipping charges to shipper." Replacement products are not liable to duty and VAT (at least for England) so if anybody's packages are charged, you should be entitled to a refund if you write and explain the situation.

However, as said above, this seems to be moot now that Universal is not honoring overseas returns.



9. How are the replacement discs shipped, and where are they shipped from?

Most replacements come via the US Postal Service in a rather large box with two factory wrapped jewel cases inside (cases pictured above).

Some people have gotten discs via UPS shipments, but this is usually in the instance where the person had contacted customer service directly because they sent in discs that got lost in the mail.

It's unclear where they actually ship from, but the address on the box is:
Universal Studios Home Video
c/o LEE Marketing Services
8801 Autobahn Drive, Suite 100
Dallas,TX 75237-3936



10. Is there any way to distinguish the original discs from the new ones?

On all replacement discs mailed from Universal there is a small V2 stamped on the disc itself, on the bottom of the disc right after "All Rights Reserved" as seen here:

Posted Image
http://www.torkko.com/ht/bttf2_300.jpg

According to Universal, the new packaging has a "V2" printed near the bottom of the screen format/bar code sticker. This will indicate that the set contains the remastered versions of BTTF II and BTTF III. However when corrected disc have appeared in stores, they have been absolutely identical to uncorrected sets. Despite Universal's claim to the contrary, the discs have no V2 on the packaging.



11. Can I just get the new discs in the stores?

FINALLY THE ANSWER IS YES!

Some 2 years after the initial release and replacement offer, corrected V2 versions of these films can be purchased reliably in stores!

Here's a timeline of developments:

*Mid-2003: Canadian Customers reported seeing BTTF Boxed Sets with Green "REMASTERED" stickers appeared in stores like Future Shop & HMV. No Green stickers in the US.

Posted Image

*December 2004: Universal announced that they would be "re-releasing" the trilogy at a lower MSRP (now $27.98 when it was $56.98 initially). In conjunction with this re-release, a Universal rep confirmed to BTTF.com that new V2 versions of the trilogy would be manufactured and sent to retailers.

*Mid January 2005: Corrected editions were found on store shelves in the USA!

The Universal rep claimed that V2 editions would be clearly marked with a V2 on the barcode of the outer packaging- however this is not the case!


12. How can I tell the difference between the old versions and the new ones in stores?

The previous, incorrect edition, had a small red oval sticker claiming "3 movies, 3 disc set, First time on DVD!"

The new version has replaced this oval with an orage square sticker that says "All 3 Movies, Lowest Price Ever, Own It Before Time Runs Out."

Posted Image
credit to member Lane F. for making the graphic

The orange sticker version contains corrected discs according to early reports: although it is certianly possible that some old sets were "re-stickered," I would say chances are 99% that an orange sticker will mean a corrected set! Check the disc for the V2 to be sure!

**NOTE: Universal has ommitted the color booklet that originally accompanied the 2002 release-- so this will also serve as an idicator of a new "V2" set. This booklet was 6 pages and included a guide to the disc's bonus features as well as some brief production notes and photos. If you want to get the booklet, you will have to buy the old set and send the discs in for a replacement!

Keep in mind that most retailers probably still have a dozen copies of the old sets in stock: not to mention how many are probably in Universal's warehouse. Make sure you get the version you're looking for, as many stores still have the old versions mixed in with the new ones on the shelves!

Also, wholesale clubs like Costco, BJ's and Sam's have their own packaging, so no stickers are present at all (which is a pain because these stickers also tell you if the set is widescreen or fullscreen!). Buy at your own risk.


13. Wait, I bought the new set and only BTTF 2 says V2!?!

It seems that while the "remastered" editions mailed from Universal had "V2" on the label for both BTTF2 and BTTF3, it seems the versions in retail stores only denote BTTF2 as "V2" on the rim of the disc.

However, several members have taken this "new" unlabelled BTTF3 disc and checked the discs against the screenshots. They have found that, despite lacking the V2 label, these BTTF3 discs are also the corrected version!

The VOB file dates on the disc also indicate BTTF3 is the remastered version:
BTTF 1: Oct 21st 2002
BTTF 2: Feb 27th 2003
BTTF 3: March 11th 2003

Also, If you check the back of the disk, the unlabeled side, and look closely around the circle, you will see a revision number, such as (R2) or (R3).

Bottomline, both discs appear to be the corrected versions despite the fact that only BTTF2 is labelled with "V2" on the rim.


14. Can I order the new version online?

While certainly not an ironclad method, many members have reported getting corrected editions from Amazon. To be 100% sure of what you're getting, you'll have to get and go to the store.


15. Are these discs out of print?

According to most sites I have read, the re-release will only be available on store shelves until June 6th 2005 (this according to the original press release issued in Early Dec 2004).

BTTF.com is still insisting that these will be removed February 1st 2005, including a post here on the HTF by BTTF.com's Stephen Clark based on this ad slick:

Posted Image

However- this ad appears to be targeting RETAILERS- inferring that UNIVERSAL will stop taking orders for the title on Feb 1st. As of this writing, it is Feb 4th and I still see the sets on store shelves and available on Amazon, Lasersedge and Deepdiscountdvd-- but if Universal has stopped taking retailer orders for the set, who knows how long this will last.

Eventually, sometime soon, this title will pulled and placed on moratorium-- presumably to make room for a 20th anniversary edition to be released for Christmas 2005. No official announcement of a 20th anniversary edition has been made.


16. Is there something else wrong with the V2 discs, like the transfer is too dark?

This appears to be a problem only reported on non-region 1 editions of the remastered discs. Complaints have come from customers in Europe and NZ in regards to "corrected" versions of the non-region 1 disc. for more info on this issue- check:
http://www.r2-dvd.or....read?thread=37
http://www.dvd.revie...s.asp?Section=3 (very bottom item)

Supposedly in NZ there is now a corrected version of V2 (maybe considered V3?), and if you got an overly dark V2-- you can return, again, for a replacement.


17. Misc other info?

I found another FAQ similar to this one for anyone looking for additional info:
http://www.bttfx-treme.com/News.htm
http://www.angelfire.com/film/bttf2/
http://www.bttf.com/...ead.php?t=26229



If you have any other questions you think need to be addressed here, drop me an email: maskeeper@musicianassist.com
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#2 of 80 Inspector Hammer!

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Posted February 03 2005 - 09:46 PM

Great update thread, Vince.Posted Image I thought I was screwed on BTTF III until I read that they were alright as well.

Finally, I have the trilogy in my collection and in the manner that I want them with no hassles involved. It's great to see that my resolve to wait paid off. Posted Image
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#3 of 80 Tony Stark

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Posted February 03 2005 - 09:49 PM

Great update Vince!

I've waited so long for the fixed retail releases, I don't want them anymore. I waiting for the HD versions.

Nevertheless good job Vince.

#4 of 80 Gregg Loewen

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Posted February 04 2005 - 12:33 AM

Thanks Vince!!

BTW, you have too much time on your hands! :-)

Regards

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#5 of 80 James Lambert

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Posted February 04 2005 - 03:20 AM

I'm pleased that people can buy the new cheaper set. However, may I further add that I thought that Universal always handled the situation to the best of their abilities. A major mistake was made, but I found that they rectified it very well. I imported the Canadian set back in December 2002, and received the incorrectly framed discs. I followed the previous (seemingly always lengthy) thread and emailed Universal Canada. As an international customer I was never required to send back my original discs, and without a proof of purchase was sent replacement discs promptly (I think it might have been March 03). i realise that I may be in the minority when it comes to the speed that I got a replacement, but for me I admire the trouble Universal went in correcting their error.
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#6 of 80 Stephen_Clark

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Posted February 04 2005 - 03:36 AM

Quote:
BTTF.com is still insisting that these will be removed February 1st 2005


Actually, we're talking about the same thing -- retail. Retail won't be able to order these after February 1, 2005 according to reps at USHV, although some distributors obviously still have them available for retail to order from, and retail still has them on the shelves (due to the fact that despite the above ad slick, no commercials have appeared anywhere "fueling urgency to purchase"), but Universal has now officially stopped the manufacture of this set. It is on moratorium, but that has not yet filtered down to all distributors and retailers.

Stephen @ BTTF.com

#7 of 80 Chris Cheese

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:22 AM

Has anybody sent in their discs for replacement recently? Is it still going on? I've had the set for quite a while, but never bothered to read all the stuff about framing problems until recently. Back when I got it I wanted to just watch the movies and not wait 3 months to get them back, but if they're still doing this, I should probably get the corrected discs before "time runs out".

#8 of 80 TravisR

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:29 AM

Yes, the replacement plan is still going on. I just got my prepaid envelope last week and sent mine out. Hopefully, it won't be too long till I get the new onesPosted Image

#9 of 80 MikeHerbst

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Posted February 04 2005 - 05:18 AM

Ditto for me. I called the number about two or three weeks ago and got the mailer envelope at the end of last week. Promptly sent the discs, and now I'm waiting on the new copies.

Call the call center ASAP, just to get the ball rolling. You don't need much info for the phone call...
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#10 of 80 Vince Maskeeper

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Posted February 04 2005 - 05:23 AM

due to the fact that despite the above ad slick, no commercials have appeared anywhere "fueling urgency to purchase"


I wondered about that too, and have therefor wondered if maybe Universal has pushed back the target date for this ad push and moratorium. I have never seen a single ad from this "multimillion dollar" campaign-- so either they decided to wait or they spent $4 on ads and used the rest to buy a really nice lunch.

-V
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#11 of 80 PeterMano

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Posted February 04 2005 - 01:16 PM

Wow, what a nightmare. Thanks for the info. I've got a chance to pick up the set for $20 canadian, so I'll be going for it. I just wasn't sure whether these were the corrected discs. Thanks.

#12 of 80 Cliff C

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Posted February 04 2005 - 03:35 PM

Hmm...I just bought the corrected set from Futureshop for $24.99 Canadian and it came with a booklet! Disc 2 had the V2 so it's not like I bought an old set...
I thought the new sets didn't have a booklet.

#13 of 80 Trevor H

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Posted February 04 2005 - 06:29 PM

I just got mine from amazon.com (I didn't want the ugly bilingual cover) and it is the corrected version but it didn't come with a booklet.
Trevor Harder

#14 of 80 Jason^M

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Posted February 04 2005 - 07:18 PM

I asked this on the other thread, but does anyone elses disc's freeze for 4-5 seconds on all three dvd's when it changes from layer 1 to layer 2? It happens around an 1 hour and 17 minutes into all three dvd's.

#15 of 80 Inspector Hammer!

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Posted February 04 2005 - 10:16 PM

Layer change time is normal on my discs, Jason, about 1 to 2 seconds.
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#16 of 80 Chris Cheese

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Posted February 05 2005 - 04:34 AM

Thanks Travis and Mike. I just called, and a mailer is on the way. I've had this set for a while, like I mentioned, but I really should get around to getting them replaced. It did make me want to chuckle when she said that the framing issues were not noticeable on the widescreen versions. Posted Image

#17 of 80 Jason^M

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Posted February 05 2005 - 05:31 AM

Thanks for the reply John, I wasn't sure if it was just my copies, but I feel better knowing there all this way. Posted Image

#18 of 80 Brandon Gantt

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Posted February 05 2005 - 06:38 AM

After nearly 3 years I finally felt confident to buy this set! Picked it up at Best Buy today, and everything was as described.

#19 of 80 MarkHastings

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Posted February 06 2005 - 02:51 AM

Quote:
While certainly not an ironclad method, many members have reported getting corrected editions from Amazon. To be 100% sure of what you're getting, you'll have to get and go to the store.
Quote:
I just got mine from amazon.com (I didn't want the ugly bilingual cover) and it is the corrected version
Note that Amazon changed the DVD release date to January 25, 2005 which would most likely suggest that they are all v2.

#20 of 80 Guest_DAN NEIR_*

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Posted February 06 2005 - 10:36 AM

Disregard the previous statement. Everything with the discs seems fine.





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