Ever since the original Star Trek series was remastered and released on to blu-ray in 2009, there have been countless rumours of The Next Generation receiving the same treatment. Now, its release has been confirmed thanks to a post on startrek.com.
The Next Generation on blu-ray won’t be hitting our shelves until 2012, and even then it won’t be coming all at once, but there’s a good reason for this. Instead of simply upconverting the existing content and throwing it on blu-ray to make a tidy profit, the producers of the new blu-ray version are using the original 35mm film and working through over 25,000 reels of footage to make the video look as good as possible.
Not only is all of the footage being remastered from the original film, but all of the CGI effects are being completely remastered in high definition with 7.1 DTS Master Audio. As a result of this, the remastering process will take a longer time to complete, but it will look a lot better upon its release.
“Fans have been clamoring for a high-definition release of Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Ken Ross, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement. “Transferring the series to high-definition presented difficult technical challenges, but our team has come up with a process to create true 1080p HD masters with true HD visual effects. We can’t wait to show fans how pristine the series looks and sounds with our upcoming Blu-ray releases.”
CBS aims to release a sample blu-ray disc of the remastered content on January 31st, 2012. The release will contain the feature length pilot, ‘Encounter at Farpoint’, as well as two other fan favourites: ‘Sins of the Father’ and the incredible ‘The Inner Light’. The suggested retail price of the blu-ray sample will be $21.99, which means that after the mythical euro tax being added it will most likely retail around the £20 mark in the UK. Whatever the price, it will certainly be a great judge of how the series will look after the remastering process.
Judging from the teaser video (below), the remastered series has the potential to look absolutely fantastic. There are already some comparison images available to view on TrekCore that really highlight the staggering difference between the current standard definition version and what the remastered version will look like upon release.
There have been lots of questions asked about whether the aspect ratio of the show will be kept at the original 4:3 or re-cropped for widescreen. The blu-ray release, like the original series, will be kept in 4:3, although another widescreen version could be cut for airing on HDTV.
Season 1 will be available to buy before the end of 2012, and will be followed by releases of the 6 remaining seasons over an unspecified amount of time. Because of the remastering process, it could be a long time before we see all seasons available to purchase in high definition.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on the sample pack in January, check out the teaser video and comparison shot and let us know what you think in the comments!