New to Blu: April 4-10 > TV (Part I)

The US TV version of Shameless appears to look flawless on Blu-ray.

The series that TV2 buried late-night has “a beautiful 1.78:1/1080p transfer to Blu-ray. The picture is sharp, with bright colours, decent black levels, and excellent balance.”

“Shot in high-definition but resembling 35mm film, Shameless looks great on Blu-ray (in 1.78:1 format) and, Los Angeles filming aside, really captures the cold gray skies and muted colours of the American Midwest.”

Season one of SoHo’s How to Make It In America also makes it on to Blu-ray this week.

“The Big Apple is captured nicely in a sharp and clean 35mm production that is rendered to Blu-ray in a typically strong transfer from HBO.

“I’d say that at times the picture perhaps looks a little on the dark side overall, as if it could just have its overall gamma brightened a tad, but outside of that there’s a nice layer of grain and little noise.”

Detail is exceptional, and each scene is crystal clear. Depth is impressive, as is texture, and every skyscraper, speeding taxi and denim sample benefits from the high-definition treatment.”

Also bowing for the first time on Blu-ray is the BBC sci-fi series that TV2 relegates to late night, and in SD, Primeval.

With series four’s release in HD, “Primeval has never looked better, and couldn’t really, even if its fans wanted it to …

“Like Doctor Who and Torchwood’s Blu-ray releases, some viewers will take issue with Primeval’s interlaced presentation, the noise that occasionally creeps into the image, and the shoddier visual effects, which become an even greater eyesore in high definition.

“In motion, though, the ‘I’ in 1080i is an absolute non-issue, any noise that appears is inherent to the source, and hit-or-miss visual effects shouldn’t count as a strike against the quality of the encode.”

While Futurama languishes in SD on Four, season six now can be seen on Blu-ray.

“The 1080p presentations are pretty stellar for the type of 2D animation involved. Fans will be tickled to see how crystal clear the animation looks on Blu-ray.”

“Digital animation, especially at the hi-def level, should be perfect – and this is. There are none of the deficiencies associated film-to-digital like noise and artifacts.

“This is exactly how the animators and ‘creators’ intended it to look.”

Top Gear is another casualty of Luddite TV, with Sky refusing to upgrade the channel it airs on, Prime, to HD.

At least the BBC is releasing the show on to Blu-ray relatively quickly. Series 18 was the latest to screen here and the 17th is out this week.

“With the conversion to high definition now complete, season 17 definitely highlights the benefits of the overall upgrade.

“As usual, the studio material is crisp and clean, and loaded with details, but now the filmed footage matches it in quality and clarity.

“There are sequences here so slick that they remind you of the best that 2012 Hollywood has to offer. The 1080i/AVC-encode remains totally realistic and life-like, with few of the flaws found in previous releases.”

Minor but pervasive aliasing is the biggest issue videophiles will note, followed by intermittent artifacting and a bit of occasional noise.

“Then there are the in-vehicle shots, captured via lower quality, standard definition cameras, all of which pale in comparison to the footage captured in the studio and in the moments before the trio climb into whatever hatchbacks, sports cars or machines of destruction they assemble for any particular episode.

“Otherwise, there isn’t much to complain about.”

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