I have seen these box sets on E-Bay and was wondering how they differ from the DVD's which I have. My copy of The Seven Samurai is the second pressing which dosen't have the restoration demo.:frowning:
The Hidden Fortress DVD is quite superior to the LD. The DVD is anamorphic (the LD obviously is not), has an optional Dolby 3.0 track, the theatrical trailer, and a short interview with George Lucas. The LD is largely featureless (it may have had the trailer, I can't recall for certain) and has only a "regular" stereo track.
The Seven Samurai LD is also inferior to the DVD, since the DVD has an extra layer of digital restoration the LD didn't get. Neither the CAV nor the CLV version have any extras besides a commentary (which is also on the DVD). So if you're looking for the restoration demonstration your only hope is to find the first printing DVD.
I've owned both Criterion sets and quite agree with Jean-Michel's assestment - go with the dvds, there's nothing gained in owning the ld's.
As for the restoration demo, it's only about 4 minutes long. It's interesting, but nothing you'll rewatch - you aren't missing much if you don't have it. Then again, if you're a Criterion collector and are going for completeness .....