Oct 272007

  • My jury’s been out on HD DVDs made from source predating the HD era. Presumably there would be a large improvement given the resolution of film, but I’d just not seen anything that had been done well, apparently. 2001: A Space Odyssey in HD is a masterpiece. I haven’t watched the entire thing yet, but popped it in this morning to take a look and was blown away. I can’t believe it was made almost four decades ago. This buries the supposed remaster of a few years ago.
  • The other new Kubrick HD DVDs: The Shining sparkles; obviously a superior viewing experience even at a glance. Eyes Wide Shut is pretty, though I haven’t yet back-to-backed it with the SD version. I was not terribly impressed with Full Metal Jacket. I’d call it incremental improvement. I haven’t looked at A Clockwork Orange yet.
  • The HD college football experience has been largely what I wanted, but CBS uses too much compression in their video feed, leading to a noticeable “pixelly” look during pans and zooms. (Pinch your pennies somewhere else, folks. It occurs to me you’re spending huge piles of money on an evening news anchor who promptly and sustainedly put your show in the ocean, for example.) ESPN and ABC are the best. NBC is acceptable, though I haven’t spent much time there. They show Notre Dame, and though I suppose there’s some novelty in watching a sustained train wreck, it does eventually get old.
  • The HD version of Discovery Channel is a blast. So has been the BBC Planet Earth series on HD DVD.
  • The Xbox 360 has been a lot of fun, but it’s obnoxiously loud. I finally got bothered enough last night to move it from the upper slot (open) to the lower slot (behind a glass door) in the entertainment center. It’s not such a big deal when I’m here by myself, because I turn the sound up really loud anyway, but it effectively torpedoes the prospect of trying to watch or play anything after everyone else is in bed. The new location is a 95% noise improvement. I’ll have to watch the heat closely. It’s got a fair amount of space around it, and there are two large holes to pass cables in the rear, but it’s enclosed otherwise.
  • The first film I watched with the new and improved quiet location (while Aaron napped) was Planet Terror, the second half of Grindhouse. It was well done and fun, but I suspect Death Proof (the first half) will get more repeat viewings. (Speaking of, you need the Death Proof soundtrack.)

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