Columbo Complete Blue ray set

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York

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  2. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

  3. Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York
    This show is great ,but I don't think Blue Ray would make a much of a difference
    jsayers likes this.
  4. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

  5. tonyc

    tonyc Well-Known Member

    1971-2003: Interesting to see a collection with both the early and later editions included in one set.

    If ever available, I would get a US DVD of this.
  6. Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Forum Resident

    I have never seen Columbo on Blu-ray, but I've seen HD broadcasts of the show on TV here in the UK on ITV HD & ITV3 HD. I'm guessing these are the same HD transfers used for the Japanese Blu-ray release. There is a great difference between the Blu-ray and the SD versions. The picture is crisp and sharp, and the colours are fantastic as well. If you think that there won't be much difference watching Columbo on Blu-ray, then you really need to see them in HD before commenting. It looks like the first generation film has been used as the source to make the Columbo episodes in HD. I've seen more recent TV shows in HD on Blu-ray which by far don't match up to the Columbo episodes in HD which date back to 1971 and 1968 for the pilot episode.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
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  7. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I'm a huge fan and have all the seasons on regular DVDs. The newer ABC episodes would probably be a nice upgrade but as others have said, the 70's episodes don't look that great and I don't see the need for blu ray.
  8. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Thanks for that. Maybe they simply didnt use very good film elements and used a better source, or maybe cleaned them up for blu ray. I would definitely repurchase if that's the case. As you suggest, I'll try and watch one in HD.
  9. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    They recently released a standard edition box set of the entire series in the US and Best Buy had it for $69.... Pretty cheap for all those great shows!
  10. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    As a huge fan, I just spent the better half of an hour doing some research on this package and many people that have the standard DVDs have purchased this and have said it is a very significant upgrade to both the picture and audio quality. They are claiming they are noticing things they didnt see before. The only you get it now or gamble it will be released here for significantly less? I would definitely buy it if I knew there would be no US release!
  11. jupiter8

    jupiter8 Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    The Universal DVDs to TV shows are pretty patchwork based on my experience (don't get me started on how lousy the later "Emergency!" sets are). I would pop for a HD Columbo upgrade but I kind of expect it will never happen here in the US
  12. Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York
    someone got the Japanese Blu -ray Colombo set over at "'s forum ,he says they are new and better masters ,very expensive cigar box region A
  13. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Yup, it's around $375. If it were $200 I would probably get it. At $375, it's really not even a temptation. Still, when you think about it that's only around $5.50 an episode. Most stores don't even carry the standard DVDs, so I don't know if there is enough demand for a blu ray set here. I really hope it comes out here!
  14. Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York
    and the problem with that ,is that if it comes out here you know it will be a lot less
  15. Trashman

    Trashman Forum Resident

    I see that Amazon Instant Video offers HD downloads of the first season of Columbo. At $2.99 an episode (or $21.99 a season), it might be interesting to sample one and see if there is a big improvement over the DVDs I already own.

    Unfortunately, HD downloads might be the only option made available for US consumers (other than buying an imported Blu Ray set). Something similar happened with That 70s Show. They did a trial release of the first two seasons on Blu Ray, but now it appears all subsequent seasons are only available (in HD format) as downloads.
  16. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    A bit of a side track question but...were all of the Columbo episodes shot on 35mm? I know they filmed in 35mm in the 70's but I was wondering if they continued to shoot on film after the run of episodes in the 70s.

    Just curious.
  17. boyjohn

    boyjohn Forum Resident

    Slightly off topic, but Netflix streaming recently added a bunch of episodes from the first 7 seasons that were missing before.
  18. Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Forum Resident

    This is a great box set, and it's criminal that a box set of Columbo like this on Blu-ray has never been released in North America and Europe. It contains every single episode, including the pilot episode Prescription Murder from 1968.

    The packaging is of very high standard. There is a long booklet telling you about every single episode, although it's all in Japanese. There is also a booklet called Prescription Murder, which, I guess is all about that episode. Again, this is also in Japanese. Although it's all in Japanese, it makes you wonder why this Blu-ray box set can't be released in North America and Europe with all the words translated in to English. It's not like they've got to scan the film negatives again, as this has already been done by Universal.

    This Japanese box set was released by Universal (who own the rights to all episodes of the show in Europe and North America as well), so I find it even more annoying that this Blu-ray box set isn't available on the continents mentioned above. The DVD Complete Series (which is available in Europe and North America) just has one very short book about the series which has around five pages.

    It should also be noted that although this is a Japanese box set, the title on the box is all in English. It's also worth noting that the titles of each episode are written in Japanese and English. This includes in both booklets, on the back of each Blu-ray case (six in all), on the discs themselves and on the on-screen menu, so you'll have no trouble at all finding a particular episode you want to watch.

    The picture quality on the standard DVD Complete Series is actually very good, and I've often wondered if the standard DVD Complete Series release is sourced from these HD transfers used for this Blu-ray release.

    Although the picture on the standard DVD Complete Series is good, this Blu-ray version looks far more stunning in HD. I would guess that the first generation negatives were scanned in 1080p or 1080i for this Blu-ray release, although I can't be 100% sure. I don't think using second or third generation film negatives would produce such a fresh picture. The picture is in 4:3 on the earlier episodes with a black bar down each side (which personally doesn't bother me). The later episodes were filmed in a dual format and were captured in both 4:3 and 16:9 (I guess to make them future proof). The 16:9 versions are used on this Blu-ray box set, and they fill the whole screen. These are the episodes from 1989 onwards.

    The standard DVD Complete Series is 100% 4:3. I personally prefer to have the 16:9 versions of the later episodes. If this dual format was to make them future proof, then surly the DVD releases now should provide the 16:9 versions.

    As for the audio, all the Blu-ray discs in this box set have a dubbed Japanese sound track, as well as the original English sound track. For the later episodes that were made in stereo, only the English sound track is in stereo. The dubbed Japanese sound track is in mono for these episodes. Obviously, I don't really care about this, but if it was the other way around I would be quite pi*sed off! The sound quality in English is top-notch as well. You also don't have to watch it with Japanese, English or any other subtitles either, although subtitles are there if you want them.

    There are 35 discs all together and the picture format is MPEG-4 AVC, as opposed to the more common MPEG-2 format. MPEG-4 AVC is supposed to be a better format, but I can never tell the difference.

    I got a brand new copy on for GBP£171.28, which is US$280.02. It used to be a lot more around a year ago.

    I hope this review has helped Columbo fans decide on whether they want to buy this Blu-ray box set or not.
  19. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks Andrew. I love this show and it's one of the few series I would buy on BR. I don't understand why this boxset isn't available domestically.
    longdist01 likes this.
  20. Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Forum Resident

    I did call Universal and ask them why this wasn't available in Europe and North America. They said that at the moment there isn't enough demand for a Blu-ray Columbo box set. The lady I spoke to mentioned that they would have to remaster the film (her words, not mine), and this would cost a lot of money.
    After I put the phone down I realised that they wouldn't have to scan the negatives again (or remaster them, as she put it). Universal have already done this for the Japanese box set. They could just use these existing HD masters... there's certainly nothing wrong with them. Again, they could package it just like the Japanese version but with everything translated in to English (such as the two very informative booklets that come with the Japanese Blu-ray box set). I'm guessing they're very informative judging by who much writing is in them both.
    eddiel likes this.
  21. Believe it or not, this may be the one time that someone answering the phone might know what they are talking about.
    If you look at the specifications label on the back of the Japanese cigar case container and the case of the first volume inside, you'll see that discs 1-23 are apparently SD (1080). I'm thinking that the bulk of this release is just upscaled 768x480i from existing SD masters. Like the lady said, pulling out 35mm negative, striking a new print or even using existing positive elements and rescanning at 2K (2048x1080) for every episode is time consuming and expensive. I've recently purchased seasons one and two on Blu-ray here in Australia. The Australian theatrical and home entertainment distributor Madman, released them in May (2015).
    Both three disc sets are labelled as being "Newly Remastered" from the original 35mm film. The video specs for both releases list them as 4:3 (1:33:1) 1080p High Definition with audio listed as 2.0 Linear PCM. There is no mention of SD upscaled content. Aussie labelling/consumer law is pretty strong on this subject and the fact that only the first two seasons have been released so far leads me to believe these are genuine HD transfers. They look great, stable with strong detail and very little noticeable scratches or speckling. I've projected them at a diagonal image size of 90". The only weakness is probably the understandable lack of set and background studio detail. Given these episodes were originally mastered to NTSC video, for broadcast at 480i for viewing on 21" TVs, that's entirely forgivable.
    Season One contains both pilots "Prescription:Murder" and "Ransom For A Dead Man", plus the original Sunday Murder Mystery opening sequences as a separate extra. While the Season Two set contains both versions of the second season premiere, "Etude In Black". The shorter version of "Etude In Black" is unrestored. (probably from an existing 480i master).
    I'm sorry to report that these Aussie releases are Region B locked. I'm assuming that if these are genuine HD transfers that a U.S. release must be likely. With the United States' population being over ten times that of Oz. There being a market for these releases would appear to be a no brainer.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
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  22. Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Forum Resident

    I did notice that it said all the 4:3 episodes (from the 1970s) were in SD, but I just thought it was a misprint. They definitely looked like genuine HD transfers to me. Although up-scaling can improve an SD picture to a degree, you can still tell if it's genuine HD or up-scaled SD.

    I didn't know about the Australian Blu-ray releases. Have you compared them with the Blu-ray discs in the Japanese box set? I'd like to know if there's much difference, and if so, what those difference are regarding the picture quality.
  23. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    This is my favorite show. I just can't see paying $400 for an import, so this is quite exciting to me! I have the standard box set but I certainly will rebuy it if it becomes available here. Thanks so much for the post.
  24. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I'm curious about the SD transfers for Discs 1-23. Why would they transfer the shows covered in discs 24-35 in HD 1080 but not the shows on discs 1-23?

    Looking forward to your review of the Australian versions. I hope it does mean we'll be getting these for the North American market!
  25. Hey Andrew, Yeah I'm really hoping I'm wrong on this, but Universal did license Koch Media to recently release Buck Rogers in the 21st Century in SD on BD in Germany. Completely pointless in my opinion. Just cost saving on the part of the distributor and misleading consumers with small print. Look at the BBC's shameless money grab with Series 1-4 of the revived Doctor Who on BD. All shot on analogue, later digital SD (PAL 768x576i). DVD is all you need with that series before the Tennant specials.
    I do not have the Japanese version to compare with these new Aussie releases. I've just seen brief sequences in a Youtube review that look pretty spiffy to me. Hence, I wanna be proved wrong here. Mislabelling certainly happens here. Is that Warner Australia DVD release of Thelma and Louise presented as 1:85:1 or is that a mistake on the label and the actual disc contains the correct 2:35:1 version? Call the local office and be met with a wall of apathy and ignorance.
    Given that I've read numerous mentions of HD streaming and or broadcasts.. Perhaps the Japanese set did save some production money by using existing 1080i @ 60HZ TV masters with 2.0 Dolby Digital? Instead of, in my opinion, doing the job correctly with new 1080p/24p masters from new 2K scans + 2.0 LPCM.
    Sorry to burst anyone's balloon, but I'd like my fellow fans of this great show and consumers in general to be informed about some of the tricky, misleading practices that can go on in the name of cost cutting and profit maximisation. I cannot see a reason that these first two remastered seasons would not be released in North America and perhaps the U.K. Your customer base is so much larger then ours and the work has already been done for years one & two. Fingers Crossed.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
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