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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Top Gear -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Robert Harris, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Having grown up in those heady years when cars had huge engines, insufficient braking, and bodywork that changed annually, I've always been a sucker for cars, even those that I may not be able to afford. Several years ago, my son got me hooked on the BBC show Top Gear, in which three slightly wacky car nuts test, compare and push cars well past their limits.


    That show has now spawned a version here in the Colonies, which has gotten off to a slow start, but we'll see where it goes.


    BBC America has just released seasons 14 and 15 of the original UK show on Blu-ray. Earlier seasons, as well as specials, have been available in standard def, but this is a welcome change.


    Don't be looking for landmark quality Blu-ray here. What these new Blu-rays do is to beautifully reproduce the way that the shows have been captured -- and, the same as with feature films, that is precisely what we should be seeking.


    In this case, the video has been captured with small pro-sumer equipment in 1080i, and in stereo.


    And that's precisely what these shows look like, only especially with the studio work, in the hands of professionals.


    For car nuts, these shows are nirvana, the next greatest thing to driving some poor car salesman off the deep end by taking his test vehicle from the showroom, and into a four wheel drift at a highway exit.


    Colour is terrific, the audio more than makes the point. I mentioned these to my son, who queried when the first 13 seasons would make it to Blu-ray. It appears that they will not, as it was Season 14 (2009) that was the first to be shot in HD.


    Here's the other interesting attribute of this series, and it shares the same situation with every televised HD broadcast.


    Seeing Top Gear in Blu-ray is almost nothing like viewing it on your monitor in broadcast, as the broadcast has been highly down-rezzed in order to fit through those tiny cables that run down the road, or even with ore difficulty through the air to your dish. On Blu-ray, a far less compressed image shoots through far shorter cables and attempts to burn a hole in your monitor, without having been slowed down by leaking out of the public cable system, which probably has image leaking out through its entire length due to being chewed on by squirrels.


    Bottom line is that for car nuts, Top Gear on Blu-ray is a far different experience than broadcast. Almost like taking that four wheel drift in that new Aston right alongside Jeremy Clarkson.


    Here's the official website:


    http://www.topgear.com/uk/


    This is car nut nirvana of the Blu-ray kind, and $19 for the season on Amazon is absolute Blu-ray highway robbery



    Recommended.


    RAH
     
  2. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Oh holy crap. I will order immediately. Top Gear is one of my favorite shows anywhere... the specials are absolutely classic. $19? Highway robbery indeed! I feel like I'm beating them up and leaving them by the side of the ditch for that price ;)
     
  3. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Screenwriter

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    Why hasn't Series (Seasons) 1-9 been released yet?
     

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