June 24, 2008

Sopranos and ER in HD ?

Virgin Media have the first six episodes of The Sopranos available On Demand in "High Definition". I know that from the second season the show was filmed in HD (see story here) but was unaware the first was available in HD. Dates from 1997
Also the pilot of ER is listed as HD. I watched this last night and I don't think this is high definition either. Cracking bit of TV, but it dates from 1994 and unless it was shot on film I suspect it's been upscaled. According to Wikipedia:
ER is unique in that the series was filmed in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen from the start, even though it did not air in widescreen until the seventh season when it began appearing in the 1080i HD format where NBC was being broadcast digitally.
Anyone know more?
[see comments below for an update : ER is SD, but The Sopranos is high definition...and looks great!]


Harold said...

None of these can be in HD unless they've been re-mastered for a Blu-Ray release.
This isn't the first time Virgin have put upscaled material in the HD section of VOD. I suspect it won't be the last.

Gavin said...

IMDB.com states that the show is shot on 35mm film.

If thats been the case from the start then it's possible that WB have made a HD print from that negative for a future Blu Ray release and thats what VM have put on OnDemand.

jimbo said...

possible, but unlikely given that upscaled content in the HD section is not unknown.

Nialli said...

Update: they've moved the ER pilot to the SD listings.
Have just watched episode one of The Sopranos though and it looks FABULOUS! Not upscaled to these eyes.

Jeremy said...

So we only have your opinion that it's actually HD?
I need a bit more proof than that, especially as ER has neen moved OUT of the HD section supposedly indicating that Virgin know they can't get away with such a deceit?

Nialli said...

Easiest way is to have a look for yourself - you don't have to rely on my opinion, when you can easily form your own.
I have a 720p 32in TV. To my eyes, Sopranos season one PQ looks very good, whereas ER was decidely average SD.
HBO are planning Blu-Ray releases of a lot of its back catalogue, including the Sopranos.

Nialli said...

Try this test if you want to check for yourself. Get just a few feet from your TV and start episode 7 in SD (the A-Z in TV Choice on Demand has SD and HD listed consecutively). In the opening credits, the picture's deliberately fuzzy but check the type of the credits. Typical SD. Then check the type of the credits for the HD version. Bloody hell that's sharp. HD. Compare the opening scene in the psychiatrist's office - it's not the best HD I've ever seen but it is a big difference from the SD version.
The Sopranos was shot from day one in 35mm. As it's not on Blu-Ray yet, something of a Uk exclusive for VM. Let's just hope they post every episode up in HD and they stay there for a few weeks.
And I think the mis-placement of ER was a mistake rather than deception; they rectified the sitation the following day.

jeremy said...

Yes looks good, I wasn't in a position to check earlier.
Still not sure why Virgin are putting content in the wrong sections of VOD. If it's not a deliberate deceit, then that leaves plain incompetence!

geekydaz said...

if we talking VirginMedia, then definately incompetence