November 10, 2014

AVENGERS DEBACLE

I wish I had a more positive report for my fellow fans of The Avengers. We've waited so long in the States for a quality transfer and the Season 5 Hi-def release promised so much. My copy of the new box set arrived today and I have to say the Blu-ray is unfortunately not an overall upgrade. I previewed a few episodes with a fellow audiophile/videophile and we found the visuals were sometimes washed out, suffered from odd contrast (especially in the credits), and some unnatural color boost. Other footage looked SUPER nice in terms of texture and clarity, but in general, the A&E DVD sometimes looked natural in comparison. I imagine this is due to the sources being varied in quality (yet the UK Optimums look good, right?) and that there are 8 hours of episodes compressed on each of the 3 discs. Now the bad news… The new Blu-ray suffers from PAL speed-up, giving the actors a helium quality (talking at a higher pitch!) and causing movements and pacing to appear unnatural. The difference is subtle, but Steed and Peel sound unlike themselves (to my ears). Hopefully we'll see this important series get its due someday, but in the meantime, I suggest sticking with your A&E DVDs. What does speed-up sound like? The Optimum DVD discs provided improved visuals, but also suffer from speed-up. See my comparison video below between A&E DVD and Optimum DVD. Some viewers don't mind (or notice) the change in pitch- I envy them. I've heard Optimum re-pressed the DVDs with corrected speed and I'll post more about that once I can confirm. 

**SEE updated review and pitch comparison video (A&E DVD, Blu-ray, Optimum DVD) here.



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6 comments:

  1. This is very good to know. Thank you, spymaster.

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  2. I'm sorry, but I just purchased this set. The sound difference is negligible, if it's even present at all, and the picture quality is much better than the A&E DVDs. As this is the one of the few available ways to watch The Avengers in America, I'm glad to see that you've updated your review. I hope you won't continue to discourage people from purchasing discs that can actually allow them to watch this show, instead of pirating or having to spend large amounts of money on British discs.

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  3. I'm glad to hear the pitch change isn't a big issue for you. I'm super sensitive to it, but I know (and envy) many who are OK with it. Also, I'm seeing visual improvements in many episodes as I preview more from the box, so certainly a lot to enjoy there! Hopefully we'll see a better release in the future.

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  4. That isn't negligible sound difference to my ear, that's an annoying difference that translates to NO SALE.

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  5. agreed. i posted an update to the review, but the sound issue was still the deal-breaker for me as well. however, i've since bought an all-region blu-ray player and am enjoying the Avengers blu-ray sets being sold via Amazon UK and in Germany. Gorgeous prints and at the correct speed.

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  6. I'm a bit flabbergasted by Lauren's comment above. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to write about these issues. The Optimum DVDs are hardly expensive, but even after reading the very long thread about the Avengers DVDs at Roobarb's Forum, it still didn't register with me just how awful that pitch problem is. I'm planning to rewatch and blog about the series later this year, and I've decided to stick with the old A&E disks for the Mrs. Peel years. I'll use the Optimums for Tara, because the A&E collections of those are such a disaster, but I'd rather not hear Mrs. Peel squeaking like a mouse, thanks.

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