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Never have I been so moved by a series to exclaim in wonder and actually shed tears of joy at the beauty that surrounds us on this wonderful planet.

I have been watching it on Discovery HD Theater when it premiered in March. The first episode "Pole to Pole" set the tone by showing the range of life and species that exist on this planet. The subsequent episodes delve into the habitats one by one. Mountains, Fresh Water, Caves, Deserts, Ice Worlds, Great Plains, Jungles, Shallow Seas, Seasonal Forests and Deep Ocean are the subsequent episodes. This is one series that has to be seen to be believed of what the intrepid cameramen of BBC/Discovery Channel have been able to capture through their sheer perseverance in remote locations. The HD technology has captured some scenes and images never seen before and some seen before but never with this clarity and beauty. 5 years, 62 countries and 204 locations is what it took to make this series, and the result is a lifetime TV series.

This is one series that fascinated my kid as much as it amazed me. She wanted to watch her cartoons but the moment the episode began she was captivated. Both of us shared together the wonder that is our Planet and it was she who brought up the subject of what we might be doing to it by our actions. We cried when we saw how polar bears have begun to drown as ice melts faster every year. The image of one lone bear trying to walk on ice but falling into the slushy waters, and having to swim longer distances to capture food and finally dying with exhaustion was heart breaking. The series makes no references to the present conditions, just in passing as with the polar bear. I think the directors and producers of the series just wanted to show us the beauty of the natural world, the fight for survival of several animals even when there is no climactic change. And as we keep watching and are filled with awe and wonderment that we're lucky enough to live on this planet, we begin to appreciate quietly in our hearts how we need to change today to ensure that we save our planet.

That is what my daughter felt on her own, she asked me why we were not doing more to save our natural world and I did not have any good answers. The last 3 episodes, Planet Earth: The Future delve deeper into these issues, which I haven't had a chance to see yet.

I watched a clip of David Attenborough's version video on the web before I started watching the series with Sigourney Weaver's narration, and I was disappointed by her blandness and lack of depth. I bought this set like many others to listen to Sir David's narration. I was torn between the regular DVD set and the HD DVD though. This series is good enough to make me buy an HD DVD player just to be able to watch it in its true form! However, the regular set has the Future series and the Planet Earth diaries which the HD set does not have. I loved the Planet Earth Diaries (or behind the scenes) with cameramen, it made a fascinating documentary on it's own, and wished some were longer. If they had the extra material in the HD DVD set, it would have been my first choice.

I had saved the Discovery HD Theatre epidodes on my HD Cable box and I was able to compare their image quality with this Standard DVD version playing on an upconverting DVD player. The Discovery Theater images were crystal clear, and you could literally see each grain of sand on the sea bed or each crevice on a rock face. The Standard DVD looked pretty good when upconverted to 720p and if I had not seen the HD version I would have been quite amazed with the image quality. Right now I've been spoilt by the Discovery Theater version. If you're considering the HD version it's a great choice if you have an HD DVD/BluRay player. You'll probably not see a better HD disc. This series was shot completely in HD format. From my experience in the media industry I can tell you that this is a very, very expensive format to shoot in especially given the 5 years that it took to make this series. Most television is shot in a regular digital format and then upconverted to the HD format later. That gives great images but they cannot compare to something shot totally in HD. That is the reason the image quality of this series is spectacular. In HD they were able to capture the action which when replayed in slow-motion also stays crystal clear. Therefore you have breathtaking images of a shark capturing its prey (and many others) in slo-mo.

This really is the set to buy. It's like a living documentation of the beauty of our earth, some of which was starting to disappear right as the cameras were rolling. Perhaps, that is why BBC and Discovery spared no cost to produce this series and it is a masterpiece.
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on December 29, 2015
I love all things narrated by David Attenborough, he's just a great narrator. Period.

Narrator aside, planet earth is just simply a documentary that I cannot take my eyes off of. The cinematography is (in my opinion) completely unrivaled by any other nature series / shows I've seen. It puts to shame most of the work by Nat Geo, and animal planet, discovery channel, etc. It's just a visually breathtaking show to watch. Make sure and get this in 1080P and watch it on a very good TV. They did a fantastic job at really making the cinematography as perfect as it can be - do yourself a favor and watch it as it should be (in full 1080p, and in its full visual glory)!

I cannot say that I've been interested at all in watching any nature documentaries more than one time. This is the only one that I find to be so involving to watch, that I can watch it many times, and still feel a sense of awe at what the planet and mother nature does. While the structure some may not like (it's fairly whimsical), I like it. It switches from complex to simple, and turns things around, it keeps my attention.

As for the educational value, you get a bit of all kinds of ecosystems, from the deep seas, great plains, to the jungles, caves, etc. It's not a super deep look at everything, but the material is all quite interesting. They are separated by episode, see the list below:

- From Pole to Pole ( a bit of everything )
- Mountains
- Freshwater
- Caves
- Deserts
- Ice Worlds
- Great Plains
- Jungles
- Shallow Seas
- Seasonal Forests
- Ocean Deep

This is in my opinion - the best nature series there is. It's a treat to watch. Do yourself a favor and watch it without any distractions.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 29, 2015
This set can only be described as "visually stunning." The BBC spent some 25 millions dollars on it's production a few years back, and it was one of the very first shows ever natively recorded in high definition. It was hideously expensive when it first came out, and the lower-resolution DVD versions were what many of us purchased (and it was still excellent). But seeing this in high-def is what it is all about. It is mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, intriguing. It is also superbly narrated. It stands up to repeated viewings. And it is unique, even among nature shows. At today's price, it is a steal, and I can't recommend it more highly. I'd be surprised if you did not see all kinds of things in the presentation that you might not have seen before (I know I did). The show covers a wide variety of geographical regions, including the oceans, and was filmed in many fantastic locations that you will rarely have the chance to see. When we hear about financial issues in today's BBC that may eventual threaten its very existence, I think back to shows like this and hope they have the sense to keep the organization going. Five stars.
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on June 3, 2015
This is a visually spectacular and startling series that sets the standard for all nature documentaries. Filmed at enormous cost, over several years, with high definition cameras (making it ideal for blu-ray), Plant Earth allows you to see and appreciate our planet as no one has ever done before. Some of these scenes are breathtaking and amazing. And, unfortunately, some are disturbing. There is a lot of attacking and killing of animals here (including baby animals), so this may not be for the very young or squeamish. I found these parts traumatizing. It made me wonder if this is all nature is: fang, claw, and teeth killing to survive as long as possible until it's your turn to fall. If you can get past these parts, this is an amazing experience.
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on April 18, 2010
Taking a complicated order for a simple burger involves smorgasbord of holding this or extras on that when it comes to every tailored garnish? Well, here's the scoop on this 6-disc Special Edition blu-ray set, as the problem with distributors setting the final cut allows no a la carte freedom to pick and chose extras. After all, this IS another chance for distributors to double dip, like in any industry, music, movies, etc. a genealogy of remakes, re-mix edits, extended edition, director's cut, previously unreleased bonuses tracks, re-master, new cover art, all in the name of gouging consumers. Especially with blockbusters, and Planet Earth (PE) is no exception. Yes folks, as long as you buy into it, you've suckered up into their marketing ploy. It was all in their strategies from the very start. After all, companies hire a panel full time solely dedicated to all the nitty-gritty tactical ways in capitalizing the bottom line of $, every chance they get, AKA milking the system. What can you do? Really nothing. You are at their helm when the goods are dangled to you in tantalization, and your pavlovian response is beyond your control. But I'm sure as you're reading this, you're wondering if this set is worth it. So without further a due, let's see what you get, and whether or not you can beat the system to your advantage.

So here's the 411 scoop of accompaniments NEW to this 6-disc 2012 BD set that's NOT on the 2007 4-disc BD set, listed in the order of importance:

1) Diaries (bonus in disc 1-4), the 10-min making of clip following each of the 11 main features. Total of ~107 min in SD. Worthy to note, unlike the DVD version and other BBC nature diaries, which auto-plays the diaries immediately following the credits, here you do need to navigate back to the main menu to select these bonuses.

2) 3 new bonus documentaries (disc 6), total 150 min's:
a) Snow Leopards: Beyond the Myth 50 min in HD
b) Secrets of Maya Underworld 50 min in SD
c) Elephant Nomads of the Namib Desert 50 min in SD
-Note: the UK version contains Natural World - Desert Lions 50 min. Not sure why US version left this out. But lucky for US version, UK left out Maya Underworld and Elephants Nomads.

3) The Future (disc 5), 3 episodes in SD; total 3 hours:
a) Saving Species 60 min
b) Into the Wilderness 60 min
c) Living Together 60 min

4) Great PE moments (disc 4) 46 min in SD, narrated by Sir David the Great Attenborough himself.

5) Audio commentaries by producers, but only for 5 of the 11 main episodes: Pole to Pole, Mountains, Caves, Great Plains, Shallow Seas.

6) Music only viewing audio. This feature is a bust. Why in the world would you ever watch a documentary without a narrator? BTW, it's not really music only. The sound effects (water falling, animal sounds, etc.) are still tracked in. I guess they couldn't get rid of that. In my opinion any upgrade to the audio portion should have been to include the Sigourney Weaver (Discovery version) narration.

7) Sneak Peak at Frozen Planet (disc 6) 13 min's in HD. Oh great, more advertising :(. But this IS BBC's next big release following the Life and Human Planet series.

Technical issue: the transfer is 1080i. From my research regarding the ad nauseam debate of PE being i or p, the original cameras used to film this series were no better than 1080i, so that's the limiting step. Though some earlier 2007 BD packages states 1080p, and the signal to your TV indicates p, later releases of the 2007 version corrected this to say 1080i on the package. Considering this series was filmed over the course of the early 2000's, you really can't notch about this (it was the best they had then). The main feature is still reference quality by 2012 standards. However, regarding the extras, for the most part, ALL the bonus features (with the exception of Snow Leopard and the Sneak Peak Frozen Planet which are clearly HD) are all in SD, and at best, an upscaled 720 clearly not full HD from my sharp 20/20 on my 65" panny.

So back to the title of my review, can you beat the system to your advantage? Well, I'll tell you what I did. Ordered used (much cheaper, note: got mine for $22), tossed out the scarfed package (it's cheap cardboard anyways). Bought a 6 disc blu-ray case (brand viva elite) for $2.50 from casetopia dot com, which BTW is the exact same size as the 4 disc case (15 mm thickness). Fit's perfectly into your old slip case. Successful upgrade. Donated the old version to a friend. Done.

Ultimately it's up to you, the well informed consumer to flip the switch or say screw you Mr. distributor leech. Everyone's economics and shelf space run the gamut to savvy your rations, like those must have fan boys. Still not sure?, here a logical final decision making:

-If you have both the dvd and original 2007 BD versions, no real need to upgrade unless you really need the bonus of Elephant Nomads.
-If you only have the Discovery US version of Sigourney Weaver narrating and want the original David Attenborough, then go for it.
-If you don't have the dvd version but only have original 2007 BD version, your upgrade will be solely for all those bonus extras, but keep in mind those extras are in standard def.
-If you don't have any copies of PE, this is a must own in every household for all ages. Starting with this Special Edition 6-disc version, you'd be skipping all other previous wasted versions.
-When it comes to double dipping, price of course is always an issue. Currently as of this writing, the price on Amazon is as follows: Amaz $35; MarketPlace $33; used $26.

To top it off, a globe limited edition (gift version) is also available. Contains the same materials, just the hardware/ packaging is different, Planet Earth: Limited Edition [Blu-ray]

Good luck PE fans. Hope this helps. Note: this updated PE review is written on 01/21/12.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 23, 2008
This BBC 5-disc, 14-episode series blew me away!

OK, what makes this series any different than the myriad of other nature shows out there?

1) Planet Earth filming crews made it a point to visit remote places that are seldom visited
2) They made it a point to locate and film many endangered species that have seldom if ever been filmed in the wild
3) The film crews were not satisfied to only film these animals, they succeeded in filming many seldom-observed behaviors of those endangered species
4) The film crews included not only footage of the animals they sought, but incredible footage showing the habitats those species rely on for survival.
5) The "how-they-did-it" video short features accompanying the episodes were fantastic.

From all indications the BBC did not cut any corners or leave any filming techniques unexplored in order to compile video footage and then produce this masterpiece.

When our copy of "Planet Earth" arrived we decided as a family to watch one episode a week. After only the first episode the entire crew wanted to watch more, but we decided to stick with our original plan. We set aside a designated time each week to watch an episode and no one missed any of those showings. That's incredible considering the fact that we have a HS senior, a HS junior, a HS freshman, and a 4th grader.

The episodes satisfied and intrigued children, teens, and adults alike. We were sad when we reached the final episode, but we all agree that it was a highly enriching experience.

If you are looking for intelligent, meaningful, and well-done programming to add to your personal video collection, look no further. Planet Earth is a MUST HAVE item.

Nature video experiences just don't get any better than this! And, I should know - I've been teaching biology, zoology, and environmental science at the college/university level for over 15 years.

5 stars all the way! And this is not just any 5 stars - a solid, A+ 100% 5-star rating!
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We finally stepped into the new world today. We have one of the first new Sony 46" XBR4 LCD TVs and this amazing Blu-Ray Planet Earth set of disks. The combination of Blu-Ray, the Sony XBR4, the amazing close ups and panoramas, the dialog from David Attenborough, and God's creation are mesmerizing. We put it on at dinner time but forgot to eat as scene after scene stunned us. Throughout the first two segments of the first disk as each new scene came onto the screen you could hear, "wow", and "Oh", and "amazing" spoken out loud in the living room. The new world is very very good. I highly recommend this disk set. It is educational, vivid, stunning, and wonderful. They must have spent weeks to capture the Great White coming out of the water with a seal in its mouth, coming clean out of the water in the process. We haven't seen it all so can't speak of the quality of the vidow throughout the whole disk set but what we've seen is the sharpest, clearest, and most colorful images I've ever seen.
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on October 29, 2009
Most people break their reviews of this product down in 2 parts, picture and content. I think this dvd has been praised very highly due to both but even more so concerning picture quality. It is extremely popular for "Jaw-dropping" detail, visually.

The content is great and yes, the narration is superb. Sounds like he should be narrating Lord of the Rings or something. Very, very interesting so far. I have viewed a disc and a half so far. I will update when I finish watching. The exploration is fantastic (most shots are by helicopter it seems)and the history is splendid. I am learning so much. It is very much about the history and learning about the world. I love the strange and bizarre creatures that I never knew existed. So far, the animal "hunts" are very tastefully done. I am not a fan of seeing animals suffer (even though it is nature). Just the knowledge and experience alone is well worth this package.

The picture I found to be slightly disappointing. It is recorded in 1080I. Being a Blu-Ray, I expected 1080p. Expect the detail to be exactly like watching this on Hi-def tv broadcasting (on Discovery channel or something). There is some grain here and there, and from what I have been experiencing lately with a lot of Blu-Ray's, is that the detail is subject to light. In dark scenes the picture will look average with some grain and blurriness, meanwhile with scenes of natural sunlight the detail will be incredible. Every now and then there are scenes with great lighting and detail that make me go "Wow". But it is not uniformly throughout the entire dvd. Your not going to be sitting down the whole time with your mouth open. More of like an open-closing sort of thing.

Another thing I noticed was the contrast flickering. In some episodes the contrast seems to go in and out like a pulsing set to every second. I noticed this in dark scenes and found it to be VERY distracting. I haven't checked other reviews for this, but I find this extremely unacceptable.

For what it is worth, it is a good buy.

Viewed with a Sony 1080p lcd tv and slim ps3.
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on August 8, 2007
Well I bought the DVDs and they looked so bad compared to what I watched on HDTV that I broke down and bought a blu-ray player and this set on Blu-ray. By all means buy it if you like nature documentaries. I've watched some episodes twice already and was not bored. Anyway, they look great too, but there is no reason that for even more money than the DVDs they don't include the extras. The 10 minute docs after each episode are wonderful and show you what the film teams went through. Literally days of hiding out in a tent just to get a few minutes of the birds of paradise footage. Well you'll have to rent the DVDs to see it all if you buy these. Are they really 25GB discs? If so, that is even more lame and makes it more inexcusable not to use 50GB and inlcude all the extras. You could buy these and not know what you're missing on the DVDs. Unfortunately, you'll be missing a lot.
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on September 25, 2009
This collection contains two of the best nature documentaries the BBC has ever produced. Planet Earth in 1080p is a breathtaking experience, and every time I watch it I notice new things and I am continuously amazed by the power and beauty of nature. David Attenborough is the perfect narrator (much better than Sigourney Weaver on the Discovery edition), and I honestly think there should be a law requiring all nature documentaries to be narrated by him. Earth: The Biography is also a wonderful series, though arguably not as good as Planet Earth. Narrated by Ian Stewart, Earth: The Biography travels around the globe explaining natural phenomena and the complex interplay of geological and natural wonders. Both of these, together, in high definition, are the pinnacle of nature documentaries.
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