Prime in SD? That’s Life!

As promising as Prime’s 2011 line-up looks, it can’t expect to close the gap with TV One, TV2 and TV3 while continuing to languish as an SD broadcaster.

Next year all three of its chief rivals will be cranking up their HD content in primetime but the earliest we can expect Sky’s Prime to make the switch is 2012.

Among the series it unveiled at a new season launch yesterday in Auckland were two that would explode off the screen if they aired in HD: Life and How Earth Made Us.

Life is another natural history spectacular from the BBC that already has been released on Blu-ray in most other territories.

However, don’t expect the series to go on sale here until nearer Easter, by when it will have completed its Prime run (and have been out elsewhere for more than a year).

Blu-ray.com said it “boasts gorgeous colours and remarkable detail, and puts most other nature documentary presentations to shame” while Hi-Def Digest claimed “the clarity of some of the tracking shots – through forests, over waterfalls, and above swarms of butterflies – are some of the most amazing bits of photography put onto a Blu-ray disc”.

The Independent’s Brian Viner made no apology for reviewing the 10-part series week after week when the BBC screened it this time last year “because it is landmark television …

“Never, in 20-odd years as a TV reviewer, has nature in the raw ever been presented as thrillingly as it is in Life. I thought at the time of the last Attenborough wildlife epic that camera work could never get better, and yet it has.”

How Earth Made Us is geologist Iain Stewart’s follow-up to Earth: The Power of the Planet. Said The Times: “As Stewart hopped around, getting his hands dirty without descending into some Top Gear challenge-style farce, he also unearthed that holy grail of BBC TV – the ability to inform, educate and entertain.”

It, too, already is out on Blu-ray in the rest of the world, sometimes under the alternative title, How the Earth Changed History, but HD-wise apparently is no match for Life.

Hi-Def Digest rated the transfer 3/5: “The image can display astounding clarity and wonderful depth … but they’re regularly countered by a series of artifacts during other parts of the presentation.”

Concurred DVD Verdict: “It’s not that there aren’t moments of amazing clarity and stunning depth to be seen in the series, it’s just that the highs aren’t all that consistent.”

But even inconsistent HD would be better than consistently no HD from a broadcaster that owes viewers and advertisers a much better deal (or no deal).

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One Response to “Prime in SD? That’s Life!”

  1. Guess if you want to want it in HD they we will have the buy the BD from Amazon. US$41

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