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A nice set, but it won't be replacing my ADV discs
on January 17, 2010
First of all, this is a nice, and very convenient set, well worth the money. If you've never bought any Farscape episodes before, or you have limited space to store a collection, then this set is probably for you. That said, there are some caveats. I did a back to back comparison of the original ADV discs and the newer ones in this set. There's three things that jump out.
1. The bit rate is about 2/3 of the ADV discs. I expected this to be lower since A&E is squeezing about twice the number of episodes onto a disc - ADV put two episodes while this set piles on four per disc. The only way to do this is to compress the programs more. Quality-wise, the image is still remarkably good, and I didn't hear any differences in the audio quality.
2. Unlike the ADV discs, these are not progressive scan encoded - the video is interlaced. Some players don't handle interlaced video properly when they try to convert it to progressive scan output, and jittering can appear in motion. This drops the image quality on players that are outputting a progressive video.
3. For some reason, A&E didn't bother using the original source material, and instead, used their broadcast edits. At the beginning of each episode, they have the "Dolby Surround Where Available" bug in the lower right corner, which is unacceptable to me. This just makes it look like they recorded it off TV.
On the bright side, the set takes up about a tenth of the space of the entire ADV set does (the main reason I even bothered to buy this set), and has some extra features the original doesn't. It also costs about as much as about 10 of the ADV episodes did. The cases also use the new Bluray style clips that hold the discs in place, so there's much less risk of getting a set with loose (and thus, scratched) discs.
If you're not a big stickler for quality, then this set is for you - the price is just amazing, and most people won't care about the lower bitrate or encoding method. Videophiles, however, should probably steer clear and stick with the ADV sets, or wait until a new set is released with higher quality.