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Category:    Home > Essays > Website > Film Criticism > Ultra HDTV > Ten years and counting…

Ten years and counting…


Hard to believe, but by the end of May, this site has passed the ten years old mark.  With 40 writers in a decade’s time, we have managed to survive and even thrive with coverage of thousands of titles.  When we began, many were buying HDTVs when they had hardly any HD material to watch on them, heavy and expensive as they were and DVDs had mostly supplanted 12” LaserDiscs (some of which are still very valuable even today) as the superior home video format of choice.  We came along a few years after DVD caught on, but realized many titles had not arrived and an HD format would still be on the way.


Now, Blu-ray is the superior format and along with Blu-ray 3D, which we also cover, we now have Ultra HDTV on the way (introduced this very year of 2013) and expect a Blu-ray that can deliver 2160p definition, something that would have been unthinkable when we launched.  We will continue to be on the cutting edge of covering film, music and TV from the U.S. market and in any imports we can squeeze in.


Sony, the co-creator of Blu-ray, has just introduced their new “Mastered In 4K” series of Blu-rays, basic editions that (much like their Superbit DVD series of years ago, but better) devotes the extra space to better picture and sound quality.  We will be covering them as part of our first reviews of any material on an Ultra HDTV system, but at first glace, we can see a range of improvements from slightly noticeable (Total Recall (2010)) to better in some respects even though the previous transfer was just fine (Spider-Man (2002)), a major improvement over the previous Blu-ray (the original Ghostbusters) or a profoundly improvement over the Blu-ray (Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, which looked good on its original Blu-ray, but by not having to share space with so many (great) extras looks stunning in the new super-basic version) and we look forward to covering that whole series down the line.


We cannot thank you the reader enough for visiting us again and again, as well as the home video companies who send us their latest titles not knowing what we’ll say, but we are as fair as possible.  Since we launched, we have noticed a decline in film, TV and music criticism.  Many major sites do not turn out the reviews like they used to, along with some print publications.  Some sites have gone out of their way to find writers who like everything to a fault, meaning they are not serious critics and will say anything to see their names in print.  Then there are those who have very little to say and then when they speak and write, they tend to be bitter and inaccurate.


On the “Mastered In 4K” series, I have been surprised by the cheap shots and bitterness I have seen including the tiresome claims of “double-dipping” (reissuing a title) and final comments on the discs without having seen them on Ultra HD systems.  One wacky comment was something to the effect that the series was of new transfers because Sony did not do the transfers correctly in the first place.  That is wrong, sometimes scientifically impossible and just ignorant.  Sony has done some of the best HD transfers around because they invented Blu-ray and spend serious money you8 never hear about to take care of their film catalog alone, like the other major studios.


You cannot expect a film with a bunch of extras to look as good as the same film with higher bitrates alone on a disc to look the same.  And that is not double-dipping.  Also, compression has changed and improved since the first Blu-rays arrived years ago, so expecting the compression to be the same from the dawn of the format to now is dumb and that kind of negativity will never be found on this site, only negative reviews of the content of the discs.


We are happy with Blu-ray and with Ultra HD arriving.  Some films and HD-shot titles will get reissued, but others in 1080p and 1080i (especially so many concert events we have covered) will not need reissued because they have no more picture information to offer.  Even films (including those shot in 16mm) transferred in 2K will benefit from the new Ultra HDTV format.  Our ratings may seem low at times, but we are hard on these releases so you know what does and does not look good, which will really pay off with Ultra HD as it has in DVD vs. Blu-ray.


We’ll stick with all that has worked for us and hope you’ll continue to find what you need on the site, plus we always appreciate your e-mails and when you make purchases via Amazon or go to Google from here.  We don’t know all that is ahead, but guarantee that good and bad, we’ll cover as much of it as possible.


Thank you again for making the first ten years possible.


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