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Category:    Home > Reviews > Special Interest > Nature > Aquarium Impressions/Fireplace Impressions/Mystic Forests (Koch/DHX HD-DVDs)

Aquarium Impressions/Fireplace Impressions/Mystic Forests (Koch/DHX HD-DVDs)


Picture: B     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Main Programs: B



Since videotape has hit the market, the Special Interest market has produced some oddities and one of the most laughed at, yet enduring has been the novelty of what we could call the “natural recreation cycle” where the video program attempts to recreate something natural unnaturally.  Sometimes this includes natural sound, other times music and always is limited by the format it is on.  DHX and Koch have now released three such programs for the first time in high definition, in this case, HD-DVD.


Aquarium Impressions spends its time trying to make your TV look like an aquarium and the HD-shot program makes sure there are no flares on the lens.  Here is classical and ambient music here only, as I guess the sound of a filtration system is just not exciting enough.  The fish are a colorful mix, but without the smell of the fish and its food, it never quite gets it.


Fireplace Impressions has nonstop footage of logs burning in an actual fireplace, though I wondered how many people actually would have their expensive HDTVs on the floor.  Nevertheless, this has the same two types of soundtracks as Aquarium, but also adds the actual sound of the logs you see burning and crackling.  With no heat coming from the HDTV or possibly limited warmth in the room, any illusion is limited, though Video Red is an issue for this release on any HDTV.


Mystic Forests is not wacky enough to think you will believe your house is suddenly connected to a forest, so you will not be reaching for a shotgun or Raid bug spray, but instead is a montage of scenes in isolated areas (like rainforests; and to think they used to call them swamps) but the scenes are nice just the same.  The comparison here would be with HD-DVDs and Blu-rays from the BBC, which it can compete with somewhat.


All three serve their purpose for what they are intended to do and honestly, they don’t mess up their intent, so try them out if you are interested.  You might even get a few unintended laughs.



The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition images are all colorful, stable and pleasant, if dated a bit by being interlaced and originating on older HD, though because the camera hardly ever moves, there is no motion blur to its credit.  All also have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo options with the classical pieces on Aquarium and Fireplace a bit more compressed than most of the ambient and mood music.  Amusingly, you can watch Fireplace with the sound of the wood burning in all of its crackling glory.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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