I am very new to this forum and do not know whether I'd get the answer to my following questions by reading various threads, so I just put them here:
1. How do I get Criterion BRs in Germany?
2. Are they Code B?
3. Regardless of the answers to the above questions, do they always or mostly have way better picture quality than other releases?
I'm asking because not only the disks would be more expensive, I would (if the answer to question 2 is NO) have to spend another 100 Euros to make my Oppo play Code A BRs.
As an example, Charade is published by Concorde in Germany. The reviews on a German BR site are not bad, 4.7 out of 5 for picture quality, but only 3 reviews so far.
This comparison below will show you the differences ( none really ) between the Criterion and Universal, the Concorde is likely based on the Universal master as was the Criterion edition, save your cash and buy the cheaper edition, with regards Criterion itself, it depends, sometimes their releases are superior to the other versions available, for example their now out of print The Third Man has a superior encode with film grain intact when compared to the Canal + European edition.
Some of their releases are not so good, i don't rate The Last Emperor due to using the Storaro 2.0:1 aspect ratio and a few of their other releases use older masters, i can't fault their encodes and most of their releases are quality, a few which use older masters are not great but could be considered okay.
Another example is the classic film M, it is good on the Criterion release but in my opinion the German release is better.
Another example is the absolutely dreadful release of Les Enfants Du Paradis on the Criterion label, that one is de-grained to unacceptable levels, it shows that Criterion often rely on others that supply them with the materials, if they licence a title from Gaumont/Pathe and they de-grain or crop the film and it's baked into the master then Criterion can't do much about it other than choose not to release it and preserve their reputation for great quality, unfortunately that didn't happen with the above title and their reputation suffers because of it. The same is true of a few other Criterion releases.
I have an Oppo blu ray player, it's worth investing in the multi region kit, long term 100 Euro's is nothing and it means you can play discs from anywhere in the world regardless of awful and ridiculous region coding.