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Terminator 2 HD DVD beats T2 Blu-Ray!?


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#1 of 104 Pete T C

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Posted June 01 2007 - 08:35 AM

http://www.avsforum.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDTalk Staff Reviewer
I watched the full Extended Cut last night and did a quick comparison to the Blu-ray. The HD DVD is decidedly sharper and has more saturated colors. It's not perfect, unfortunately. It has some of the same problems as the BD, including a touch of edge ringing, some white clipping, and minor compression problems here and there. It looks good overall. I'll try to crank out a full review soon.
The French 2-disc HD DVD set (Theatrical + Extended Edition) is currently available from amazon.fr and xploitedcinema.com if you want it NOW. Posted Image

A slightly more English-friendly UK single disc Extended Edition-only HD DVD will be available for preorder within a month or so from http://amazon.co.uk

Note that only the Extended Edition disc from the French version is English-friendly, as the theatrical version has forced French subtitles when selecting the English soundtrack (you can resize them and move them into the LBX bar however). The Extended edition does not have forced subtitles and in fact the entire menu is in English, it was clearly the same disc that will be in the UK version released later.

The UK version will be identical to disc 2 of the French version - Extended cut, English audio, no forced subs, region free, 1080p24 w/ lossless DTS-HD Master Audio. English Audio tracks have been compared to the R1 DVD release and the audio is perfect, no speedup.

I am waiting for the region-free UK version since I want the English cover art and the Extended Cut is better anyway IMO. Plus, the theatrical disc of the French version is pretty worthless to me with the forced subs (even if tiny). I'll of course post when the AMAZON.CO.UK preorder for T2: Extended Edition is available Posted Image
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#2 of 104 Cees Alons

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Posted June 01 2007 - 09:04 AM

But I wouldn't be surprised when the price of the UK version (£-price) is not as good as the price of the 2-disc French version (€-price). I mean: not substantially less.

(I understand, though, that you may be less interested in the first disc, the theatrical version, in which case you wouldn't be prepared to compare the prices as if between a 1-disc version and a 2-disc version).


Cees

#3 of 104 PeterTHX

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Posted June 01 2007 - 09:16 AM

So, pumping up the color and sharpness makes it better?

There's a whole thread discussing Zyber's setup...he only has a older 720p projector.
He is also not the most balanced when it comes to HD DVD vs. BD. It would be like me reviewing it and declaring the BD better without question.

#4 of 104 Cees Alons

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Posted June 01 2007 - 10:21 AM

I own both now - but unfortunately I (still) don't own a BD-player yet - so I cannot be of any help here.
(And I won't simply add my opinion of the French T2 to this discussion. Posted Image )


Cees

#5 of 104 Brent M

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Posted June 01 2007 - 10:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX
So, pumping up the color and sharpness makes it better?

There's a whole thread discussing Zyber's setup...he only has a older 720p projector.
He is also not the most balanced when it comes to HD DVD vs. BD. It would be like me reviewing it and declaring the BD better without question.


There's more than one person over there that seems to think the HD-DVD is better than the BD.
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#6 of 104 ppltd

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Posted June 01 2007 - 10:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete T C
I am waiting for the region-free UK version since I want the English cover art and the Extended Cut is better anyway IMO. Plus, the theatrical disc of the French version is pretty worthless to me with the forced subs (even if tiny). I'll of course post when the AMAZON.CO.UK preorder for T2: Extended Edition is available Posted Image
As much as I would like this release now to replace my BD copy, I can wait for a few months for the UK version to be released.
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#7 of 104 Robert George

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Posted June 01 2007 - 01:46 PM

As of this afternoon, I have both the BD and the new Studio Canal HD DVD. I'll have more to say on this later tonight or tomorrow, but the short and sweet is the Studio Canal transfer/VC-1 encode of the extended version is very obviously (to me) superior to the Lionsgate BD. I also find the transfer of the extended version superior to the transfer of the theatrical version that Studio Canal used.

If you are a fan of the extended version of Terminator 2, the Studio Canal import HD DVD gets a huge thumbs up from me.

As I said, more detail on why when I have more time to piss away online Posted Image.

#8 of 104 Brent M

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Posted June 01 2007 - 02:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert George
As of this afternoon, I have both the BD and the new Studio Canal HD DVD. I'll have more to say on this later tonight or tomorrow, but the short and sweet is the Studio Canal transfer/VC-1 encode of the extended version is very obviously (to me) superior to the Lionsgate BD. I also find the transfer of the extended version superior to the transfer of the theatrical version that Studio Canal used.

If you are a fan of the extended version of Terminator 2, the Studio Canal import HD DVD gets a huge thumbs up from me.

As I said, more detail on why when I have more time to piss away online Posted Image.


Looking forward to your in-depth review. Posted Image
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#9 of 104 Jeff Adkins

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Posted June 01 2007 - 06:18 PM

I don't doubt this at all. Lions Gate early BDs were subpar, just like Sony's were. Luckily, they've gotten better (with the exception of Dirty Dancing). Check out the comparisons of Basic Instinct vs. the Studio Canal HD-DVD.

If I were dual-format, the French HD-DVD of T2would be my choice, but I would get the BD on Basic Instinct and First Blood. I probably wouldn't buy either version of Total Recall since the BD has a shitty transfer and the HD-DVD has the dreaded audio-pitch problem.

#10 of 104 Robert George

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Posted June 01 2007 - 08:06 PM

Okay, here's my comments on the new Studio Canal HD DVD edition of Terminator 2...

The background is this. Lionsgate has US distribution for this film. T2 was a fairly early Blu-ray release for them. Lionsgate's BD is a BD25 with MPEG-2 encoding. For whatever reason, Lionsgate has elected to release only the 137 min. theatrical version of the film in the US. Studio Canal, a French company, was one of the co-production companies of the film, and holds international distribution rights.

Studio Canal also supports the HD DVD format. For the French HD DVD release, Studio Canal has released T2 as a 2-disc set using the VC-1 codec. Disc 1 is the theatrical version of the film intended solely for the French market which means the disc has been authored with French subtitles that cannot be turned off if English language audio is selected. That's Studio Canal's policy for France-only releases. The second disc is the 152 min. "Director's Cut" version of the film that was previously released on the "Ultimate Edition" DVD in the US. Note this is not the 156 min. "extended" version also available on the "Ultimate Edition" DVD which has the tacked on Coda ending with an aged Sarah Connor in a park with a voiceover. This is what I consider the best version of the film as it includes several scenes and extensions of scenes that I find enhances the story yet it leaves off the "Coda" ending which becomes illogical with the release of Terminator 3.

It is this Director's Cut disc that is of interest so me, and I expect, quite a few other fans of the film. While the theatrical version has the "forced" subtitles, the Director's Cut disc will be released by Studio Canal in the UK. Because of this, there are no forced subtitles, and indeed, the default playback of the disc is English audio (the only track available) with no subtitles. This disc also contains what is to my eye, the finest video presentation of this film to date.

Having been a fan of this film since its original theatrical run in 1991, I have seen what I believe to be every video release except VHS. This of course includes the several laserdisc and DVD incarnations. I even had the D-Theater hi-def digital VHS edition of this film. It is this background that I base my observations of this new HD DVD edition on. Compared to all that came before, this new HD DVD edition is clearly the finest presentation of Terminator 2 to date (no pun intended).

The most immediate comparison is to Lionsgate's Blu-ray edition, as well as the theatrical version included in the HD DVD set. beginning with the theatrical edition, it appears that the HD DVD and Blu-ray came from the same master, a master that looks to have ben "pushed" to increase the visible contrast. This leads to blown out whites and some crushing of detail in blacks, as well as what some would describe as "edge enhancement". Colors are a bit overstaurated compared to the Director's Cut disc.

Although both these discs appear to be sourced from the same master, the MPEG-2 and VC-1 encodes show some fairly noticeable differences. The MPEG encode on Blu-ray is visibly softer with a bit less fine detail. There is also visible blocking where film grain is present. The VC-1 encode is both smoother and sharper with greater detail and less artifacting associated with the film grain. Even so, the master that was struck for the Director's Cut is quite obviously superior to the master used for the theatrical version.

The transfer for the Director's Cut has a more natural appearance with greater detail in both very dark and very bright areas and a more even color balance. The image is also a bit sharper than even the VC-1 encode of the theatrical version. This encoding also preserves the grain structure of the film element without overt compression artifacts.

With the somewhat limited time I have had to compare these discs I cannot comment on a comparison of audio tracks except to say I found the DTS-HD audio track on the Director's Cut version to convey all the impact and subtlety that I remember from any other version with, perhaps, a bit more authority in the lower octave and a bit more smoothness in the upper frequencies. Certainly nothing lacking in the sound department.

Rarely do the planets line up perfectly in the universe, but for fans of the Director's Cut version of Terminator 2, it seems we have a gift in the form of this French HD DVD release. Combine what I consider the best version of the film with a HD DVD authored without hindrances of any sort, and mastered and encoded as the finest visual quality this film has seen since release day 16 years ago, and you get a true treat for the film enthusiast. Although it feels more like an accident that everything worked out as it has for this disc, it is a very happy accident indeed.

#11 of 104 Paul Arnette

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Posted June 02 2007 - 01:58 AM

Well, it sounds like there is no 'perfect' version of this film for the US market currently. That is to say that if you want to watch the theatrical cut with the superior PQ of the French disc, then you are forced to watch French subtitles. So, you can either buy that or buy both the forthcoming UK version and the US Blu-ray Disc version.

Honestly, it all sounds like too much effort for me. It has been my experience that it is very difficult to resell imported DVDs stateside, so I imagine it will be quire a nightmare to sell an imported BD or HD DVD.

I watched the Lionsgate BD, and, while it wasn't spectacular, I found it enjoyable enough. Something tells me we'll be seeing a double-dip of this title sooner or later considering Lionsgate only has like 20 titles in their entire catalog worth buying. Posted Image And Terminator 4 is in the pipeline as well, leading to a definite tie-in release.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#12 of 104 Pete T C

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Posted June 02 2007 - 02:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
Well, it sounds like there is no 'perfect' version of this film for the US market currently. That is to say that if you want to watch the theatrical cut with the superior PQ of the French disc, then you are forced to watch French subtitles. So, you can either buy that or buy both the forthcoming UK version and the US Blu-ray Disc version.

Check out Obi's review above, he states the Director's cut (the one that has optional subs) has superior PQ to the theatrical cut (french hd & us bd).
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#13 of 104 Paul Arnette

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Posted June 02 2007 - 02:18 AM

Quote:
Check out Obi's review above, he states the Director's cut (the one that has optional subs) has superior PQ to the theatrical cut (french hd & us bd).

Pete,

Hey. Yeah, I got that. What I was trying to say was that there was no perfect version in that there was one disc that had both cuts with the best PQ and without forced subs.

Again, I'm just stating my personal opinion that it sounds like a lot of work for a less than ideal solution (importing either HD DVD that is).
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#14 of 104 Brent M

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Posted June 02 2007 - 02:19 AM

The Director's Cut is all I care about anyway so this HD-DVD is officially a "must have" for me. Thanks for the review!!! Posted Image
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#15 of 104 Pete T C

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Posted June 02 2007 - 02:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
Pete,

Hey. Yeah, I got that. What I was trying to say was that there was no perfect version in that there was one disc that had both cuts with the best PQ and without forced subs.

Again, I'm just stating my personal opinion that it sounds like a lot of work for a less than ideal solution (importing either HD DVD that is).

When I buy DVDs I try to just get the best cut of the film, simply because my 1200+ library of movies would balloon even larger if I had to own every cut of every movie.

The decision seems pretty simple IMO. Most agree the Director's Cut of T2 is the best version, and the UK HD DVD/French HD DVD both include the Director's Cut with no forced subs and with noticably superior picture quality to the US BD. So the UK HD DVD or French Director's Cut version of T2 HD DVD would be the best buy if you wanted to buy Terminator 2 on hidef disc.
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#16 of 104 Jim_K

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Posted June 02 2007 - 02:26 AM

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#17 of 104 Mike_Richardson

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Posted June 02 2007 - 03:45 AM

Lionsgate has hardly been a strong point for Blu Ray. So many of their transfers are mediocre by high definition standards -- just look at DIRTY DANCING or the new BASIC INSTINCT, which pale in comparison to any of Warner's HD catalog titles (GRAND PRIX in particular).

I'd say of all the labels on both camps releasing HD product, Lionsgate has been the biggest disappointment by a wide margin.

#18 of 104 Tim Glover

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Posted June 02 2007 - 03:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent M
The Director's Cut is all I care about anyway so this HD-DVD is officially a "must have" for me. Thanks for the review!!! Posted Image

Ditto. Posted Image

#19 of 104 Paul_Scott

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Posted June 02 2007 - 08:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
Well, it sounds like there is no 'perfect' version of this film for the US market currently. That is to say that if you want to watch the theatrical cut with the superior PQ of the French disc, then you are forced to watch French subtitles. So, you can either buy that or buy both the forthcoming UK version and the US Blu-ray Disc version.


You aren't really 'forced' to watch subtitles on the French disc. They are forced, but you can move them outside the live image area into the black bars.
If you have a projector, and the presence of the subs is too much of a distraction, you can try masking near the lens (which some of us do already to get rid of light spill)- or if you have lens shift you can shift the image so that the subs fall off the screen.
If you have a direct view or RP, one of the simpler but more bang-for-the-buck tweaks I would suggest is creating carboard masks for the letterbox bars. If you are watching in the dark, this works surprisingly well to isolate the live area. Even though the letterbox bars are black, you are not really reading them as a void, you are reading them as picture information. putting up masks, blocks that information (and in this case, would block the subs) leaving only the the active screen image to be seen.


Even if I had an RP that I watched in ambient light only, I would still take an afternoon some time to make a nice adjustable masking system for it- probably out of thin wood panels, or foamcore painted black.
It wouldn't be too difficult to design
Sounds anal, sounds silly, sounds like a lot of trouble I know- and you would probably get a lot of eyerolls from your spouse or gf- but you would be amazed at how it would improve critical viewing.

#20 of 104 Tim Glover

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Posted June 02 2007 - 09:07 AM

I'm with you Paul. What we front projector nutheads do! Posted Image


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