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post #1 of 157 Old 03-26-2008, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to figure out which Pan's Labyrinth version to buy, not having picked up any yet including DVD. Here's what I've gathered from various posts/reviews/screenshots, please correct and add if you can.

USA R0 BD
- heavy (IMO) DNR applied
- English subtitles
- DTS-HD 7.1
- all 2-disc DVD extras included
- 1.0 PiP commentary cobbled together from audio commentary and some of the other extras (no talking head?)
- only missing web features from HD DVD (IMO useless)

French R0 HD DVD (no BD)
- less DNR applied
- no English subtitles
- DTS-HD 5.1
- all 2-disc DVD extras included, plus 30-min interview and "The Melody Echoes the Fairy Tale" as on UK
- no PiP commentary

German R0 BD
- less DNR applied?
- no English subtitles
- DTS-HD 5.1
- different audio commentary - Spanish with German subtitles
- 1 featurette + trailers
- no PiP commentary

UK R0 BD
- no DNR visible
- English subtitles
- DD 5.1
- all 2-disc DVD extras except "The Charlie Rose Show" and "Photo galleries", adds 30-min interview and "The Melody Echoes the Fairy Tale"
- no PiP commentary

English subtitles are the top priority for me (so that's just USA vs UK), followed by pic quality and then extras. Lossless 7.1 vs lossless 5.1 vs DD isn't an issue for me at this point since I only have stereo speakers (yeah, sue me ). If the PiP commentary is indeed just edited together extras without even cutting to Del Toro speaking, I won't miss it. The extras are all SD, I assume the UK PAL extras can't be played on my USA PS3 but I can handle PS3->PC ripping since they're usually a view-once thing.

So basically I've convinced myself to go for the UK disc if the info above is accurate. On, the other hand, it's looking like $40 for UK vs $24 for US (Amazon.co.uk vs Amazon.com Marketplace). Is there anywhere better/cheaper than Amazon.co.uk to go for that?
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post #2 of 157 Old 03-26-2008, 08:21 PM
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PQ - U.K is the best. Closest to the theatrical presentation.

Courtesy : benes

HD Disk (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) EE and DNR list : http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=937873

(US) Pan's Labyrinth

Format: Blu-ray
Codec : VC-1
Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
Avg Video Bit Rate :15.76
Running Time : 1:59:09
Movie Size : 20,214,595,584
Disc Size : 47,059,779,004
Total Bit Rate : 22.62
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Pan's Labyrinth PiP Secondary Encode (Fake)
VC-1
15.74
1:59:09
16,366,344,192
18.31
DTS 5.1 1509Kbps

******************************************************

(UK) Pan's Labyrinth

Format: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio : 1.78:1
Codec : VC-1
Avg Video Bit Rate :29.45
Running Time : 1:58:56
Movie Size : 28,571,160,576
Disc Size : 36,589,924,300
Total Bit Rate : 32.03
DD AC3 5.1 640Kbps
DD AC3 2.0 224Kbps

******************************************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZZDOqERyuU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AjyEbP0zKE

Beware the extras on the U.K Blu-ray won't play in NTSC only BD players as they seem to be PAL formatted @576i/p.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #3 of 157 Old 03-26-2008, 09:01 PM
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You can't fully enjoy Pan's Labyrinth without surround. The sound design for this film is exquisite. Go with 7.1MA track.

DNR sucks. But it's close enought that you wont really notice without a side by side. If there's was a more complete version I would buy this movie again. They all have the director's diary right? You definently want that on the disc no matter what.

Or just get the DVD. The 6.1 DTS track is awesome.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

Studio quality tier
Most Major studios>Small Studios>dogs>cats>Warner(the guys that do new movies)
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post #4 of 157 Old 03-26-2008, 11:30 PM
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+1. The 640 Kbps DD track sounded on par with many of the Tier-1 titles with Lossless audio.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #5 of 157 Old 03-27-2008, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

+1. The 640 Kbps DD track sounded on par with many of the Tier-1 titles with Lossless audio.

I know that the US version has DNR, but is it actually visible when watching the movie in motion, or is this just a screenshot difference.

According to HighDefDigest, they wrote that when watching both versions of Face Off in motion (DNR'd US version vs Euro release), it was nearly indistinguishable. I'm wondering if you've found the same to be true. As you probably already know, I don't always agree with their reviews as far as PQ, but the Face Off claim seems to be what I would expect.

Also, I remember you commenting that the bit rate of the blu-ray reaches the 30s many times. Do you believe it looks better because of this, or because of US version having DNR? In general, your posts don't typically suggest that you believe better bit-rate does a lot... are you saying it does in this case?

It seems strange that the bit-rate for the UK version is 8 GB more, yet has twice the average bit-rate as the US version.

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post #6 of 157 Old 03-27-2008, 01:29 AM
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Quote:


Also, I remember you commenting that the bit rate of the blu-ray reaches the 30s many times. Do you believe it looks better because of this, or because of US version having DNR? In general, your posts don't typically suggest that you believe better bit-rate does a lot... are you saying it does in this case?

To be honest I usually don't bother much regarding the bit rates but I get a bit frustrated when it dips down to notorious levels as found in many Warner titles. I firmly believe in the theory that higher bit rates can result in zero or less film artefacts. When there is enough space left on the Blu-ray why not go the extra mile by boosting up the bit rates. Also many have accepted that high bit rate presentations can offer value sharpness on big screens within a certain viewing distance.

W.r to Pan's Labyrinth the difference between the U.S and U.K transfer ain't huge but I prefer the look of the U.K Blu-ray as it comes closest to the theatrical presentation of the feature particularly due to the faithful retention of the grain structure.

The U.S Blu-ray looked Waxy on my friends 50" Panny which wasn't the case with the U.K Blu-ray.

Face/Off is a classic example of how DNR can mess up the overall PQ especially the close-ups and fine object details. I had both versions but sold the HD DVD version as I liked the PQ on the Blu-ray. This doesn't mean that Face/Off boasts phenomenal PQ.

Btw I love film grain and I am probably in the minority who loved the look of Ocean's trilogy.

Just my 2 cents and my opinion may be wrong.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #7 of 157 Old 03-27-2008, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

To be honest I usually don't bother much regarding the bit rates but I get a bit frustrated when it dips down to notorious levels as found in many Warner titles. I firmly believe in the theory that higher bit rates can result in zero or less film artefacts. When there is enough space left on the Blu-ray why not go the extra mile by boosting up the bit rates. Also many have accepted that high bit rate presentations can offer value sharpness on big screens within a certain viewing distance.

W.r to Pan's Labyrinth the difference between the U.S and U.K transfer ain't huge but I prefer the look of the U.K Blu-ray as it comes closest to the theatrical presentation of the feature particularly due to the faithful retention of the grain structure.

The U.S Blu-ray looked Waxy on my friends 50" Panny which wasn't the case with the U.K Blu-ray.

Face/Off is a classic example of how DNR can mess up the overall PQ especially the close-ups and fine object details. I had both versions but sold the HD DVD version as I liked the PQ on the Blu-ray. This doesn't mean that Face/Off boasts phenomenal PQ.

Btw I love film grain and I am probably in the minority who loved the look of Ocean's trilogy.

Just my 2 cents and my opinion may be wrong.

I think we should take advantage of the higher bandwidth and disk space for blu-ray. I'd never argue to use only 60% of the disc. Like you, I also don't agree that bit rate tells all. The biggest factor is the quality of the master. This is why some movies can look sharp and only be 12mbps, while others look soft at 25mbps. I agree though that if the sharp 12mbps picture were at 30, it would probably reduce any compression noise that we may see.

I don't like or dislike grain. If the grain is on the master, I want to see it. If not, I don't want to see it. I don't, however, believe that grain is always a director's choice. They shoot on film, they get grain.. it's a by-product in some cases. I don't want it removed, and if a director intentionally choose film stock that gives a specific type of grainy appearance, I want that to reflect in the transfer.

As for Face Off -some claim that the blu-ray used the same master as the HD DVD and that EE was added, which would make the HD DVD more "true". I don't know for sure.

Going back to Pan's Labyrinth though. I will probably wait until the title is re-released in US (assuming they correct the DNR mess) to repurchase. Great movie!

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post #8 of 157 Old 03-27-2008, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your thoughts.

Example 2 in the EE/DNR thread was a shot I hadn't seen before, the difference there is insane. There's a scratch or hair or something below the soldier that is so muddied you wouldn't even be able to see it in the US shot if you didn't look at the UK first. Of course, many people may not want to see that but it's evidence of just how smeared the picture is. I don't get how anyone can say there's not much difference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stumlad View Post

I know that the US version has DNR, but is it actually visible when watching the movie in motion, or is this just a screenshot difference.

It seems to me the answer to this must be: do you normally notice grain in a movie? I know I do, and I believe I'd notice the (apparently) complete absence of it.

Well, I Google'd for price comp sites and the cheapest I can find the UK BD is £17.49 shipped from sendit.com. I then remembered the whole VAT deal (sendit always includes it in the price but Amazon removes it if you're a foreigner), and the Amazon price ended up being just 4 pence more so I ended up ordering from them to avoid entering CC info again. $35.18 according to XE.com, probably a few bucks more with MasterCard's exchange rate.
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post #9 of 157 Old 03-27-2008, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan View Post

Thanks for all your thoughts.

Example 2 in the EE/DNR thread was a shot I hadn't seen before, the difference there is insane. There's a scratch or hair or something below the soldier that is so muddied you wouldn't even be able to see it in the US shot if you didn't look at the UK first. Of course, many people may not want to see that but it's evidence of just how smeared the picture is. I don't get how anyone can say there's not much difference?

It seems to me the answer to this must be: do you normally notice grain in a movie? I know I do, and I believe I'd notice the (apparently) complete absence of it.

Just a note: I have not seen Face Off (UK nor US version), but I heard about the DNR on the US and the EE on the UK version. I was trying to see if the difference in those two was about the same as the difference in Pan's Labyrinth versions. From what I'm hearing, the difference is even noticeable in motion, unlike Face Off.... The other difference is that both were initially DNR'd, whereas in this case, only one had DNR applied to it.

BTW - I'm in no way saying the US version of Pan's Labyrinth is "good enough" , I'm just trying to find out what the real-world performance difference is

This was the quote from HighDefDigest regarding Face Off:

Quote:


Although at first I was unable to a significant difference between the two transfers (which both seem to reveal the same DNR pass), when pausing the two versions of the film in a side-by-side comparison, I did detect a slight (and I stress slight) increase in sharpness on the Blu-ray edition. Having said that, when the film is in motion, I found this slight difference invisible to the naked eye. For the sake of a thorough investigation, I even brought both discs to a friend's house (he has a high-end 1080p projector, all the appropriate players and hookups, and an 92" screen). Even with three other critical videophiles in the room, none of us could discern a perceptible improvement in the Blu-ray edition when the films were in motion. If anything, Disney may have utilized a quick, additional sharpening pass for the Blu-ray transfer, but it doesn't magically fix the DNR application. Grain junkies who didn't appreciate the DNR alteration on the HD DVD seem likely have the same complaint here.

Edit: Just found this -- Regarding Pan's Labyrinth:
Quote:


On that note, a word of warning for purists -- grain has been artificially reduced using a minor application of Digital Noise Reduction (DNR). Because this decision by New Line has sparked some controversy, I spent quite a bit of time comparing this Blu-ray release to the previously released high-def import edition, hunting for blurry patches of skin and smeared textures. My takeaway: fans with screens larger than 100" may see a loss of clarity when directly comparing still shots from this domestic version to the same shots on the import, but the vast majority of viewers will never notice or care (especially considering how insignificant the visible difference actually is when the film is in motion). While I'm not a personal fan of New Line's unnecessary adjustment of the original print, I feel it's crucial to note how judiciously the technique has been applied in this case.

Not sure what import version he used. And I'm not saying that his word is the end-all either

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post #10 of 157 Old 03-27-2008, 07:13 PM
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I think he is comparing the HD DVD version released by Optimum on which DNR was applied.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #11 of 157 Old 03-28-2008, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

(US) Pan's Labyrinth
Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1

(UK) Pan's Labyrinth
Aspect Ratio : 1.78:1

Is the AR info correct that the UK release is cropped?
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post #12 of 157 Old 03-28-2008, 07:13 PM
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U.K release is Open Matted.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #13 of 157 Old 04-08-2008, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Got the UK BD in the mail today. The SD PAL extras indeed don't work in a Region A PS3 with current firmware. It pauses for a second when you click on them, acting like it's loading but it really just goes back to replaying the menu graphic. The only supplement that works is the Poster Gallery. Gonna rip it to PC later, just did a quick watch of the start of the movie and I realized that the white line smeared away in Example 2 in the US release isn't a film artifact but actually the plant fluff that's floating around during that scene, spores or whatever... pretty sad.
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post #14 of 157 Old 04-08-2008, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah it has a pop-up menu, but like I said it probably won't do you much good if you're Region A. Just one BD50.
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post #15 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 12:40 AM
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Since the UK release is open matte- does that mean information is missing from the picture?
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post #16 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 01:30 AM
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actually it's the opposite

open matte means more information was filmed that what is intended for the final framing
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post #17 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumlad View Post

I know that the US version has DNR, but is it actually visible when watching the movie in motion, or is this just a screenshot difference.

If screenshots are waxy and look unnatural then the 24fps version looks equally waxy and unnatural. In addition you get to see more artifacting due to the motion which you can not see on single frames since it's a dynamic phenomenon.
So the question should rather be: I see no problems with single frames but does it still hold up in motion, not the other way around.
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post #18 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 03:58 AM
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plus once you've seen the still comparisons it cannot be unseen

i had already noticed that it looked a bit off when watching a friend's copy.. after seeing the comparisons i couldn't stop noticing
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post #19 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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What the... what happened to the post in between my 2 that I was answering?
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post #20 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 08:23 AM
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Is the UK BD region locked?
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post #21 of 157 Old 04-09-2008, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steen DK View Post

Is the UK BD region locked?

No, it is not. It's region free baby!
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post #22 of 157 Old 04-10-2008, 07:42 PM
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Alright I'm gonna buy the UK version, anyone have a link to the best possible price ?
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post #23 of 157 Old 04-10-2008, 07:55 PM
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Try in sendit.com, dvd.co.uk, blahdvd.com, amazon.co.uk

Please be informed that the extras won't play on NTSC only players.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #24 of 157 Old 04-11-2008, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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[Mods: can we get a merge of this and thuway's new thread?]

I've looked at some more screenshots of my own T2 comparisons on 17" VGA CRT vs 40" 1080p DVI-HDMI LCD and I'm consistently surprised by how much sharper everything is on the LCD (I have the sharpness of the TV set to 0 so it's not EE). Going back to Pan's Labyrinth comparisons, I thought the US release was bad on my PC monitor but the difference is just ridiculous on the HDTV.

Honestly I have to question the eyesight of those of you saying you don't see the "waxiness", or at least your perceptiveness. Again using Example 2 mentioned above since the smudged out details seem the most obvious to me there, I switched between the US and UK shots and I can literally see the difference (at least on her cheek) up to 9 feet away from my 40 incher. Yeah, I used a tape measure. I can't try any farther without moving everything around since that's my head up against the wall, but come on. My last vision test was a couple years ago and the optometrist said I was near-sighted and borderline for needing glasses. I didn't get them. I don't think I could reliably judge which was which from 9 feet with either eye closed, but definitely with both open...

Now granted these are A/B comparisons of screenshots. Can anyone rip a sample of the US BD or HDDVD? I can post a small clip of the UK BD for comparison. It would be nice to say fairly definitively how they each hold up in motion.

Edit: Also, I can confirm that black levels are unfortunately a little washed out, at least on the UK BD. I assume the US release is the same judging from other comments and the lack of real color differences between the screenshots. I noticed this right away when watching the BD letterboxed on my computer monitor: the black during the opening text is lighter than the black bars of MPC. I had hoped this was a decoder issue but no, the first 24 frames are pure black and then it turns lighter on #25. Additionally the opening text appears jagged, which is especially noticeable when a slow zoom starts on the last lines. So neither release is perfect at this point...

Edit2...: The end credits are set against pure black, so at some point between the opening and the end black levels return to normal.
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post #25 of 157 Old 06-25-2008, 05:57 AM
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After having the US HD-DVD release (same as US BD PQ, afaik) sitting here for months, I finally got my pj setup squared way and we watched this last night (we watched the SD when it was first released). The "waxy" look is definitely noticeable, as well as a distinct lack of detail. Ordered the UK BD this morning, as this is already one of our favorites.

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post #26 of 157 Old 06-25-2008, 02:41 PM
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I received the UK HD DVD in the mail today. I think it's by the same company who put out the UK BD, and if so, hopefully it's the same in regards to application of DNR. I own the domestic release already, but figured I'd try for better. Hopefully the extras will be playable on this one (since a post above mentions the extras on the BD are PAL and not playable on a PS3 at least).
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post #27 of 157 Old 06-25-2008, 07:28 PM
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UK HD DVD has minor application of DNR and is a HD DVD specific encode. You should have bought the BD.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #28 of 157 Old 06-26-2008, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

UK HD DVD has minor application of DNR and is a HD DVD specific encode. You should have bought the BD.

I realized that it has DNR last night. I don't notice any difference between this and the U.S. one. And I paid a lot more for the import, also. $35, whereas I paid only $20 for the U.S. one. Disappointed to say the least. There seemed to be some saying the UK had less DNR, but I don't believe it. I A/B'ed certain scenes several times and didn't notice a difference. One time I thought the UK might have a bit less but I believe it was just placebo.
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post #29 of 157 Old 06-26-2008, 07:06 AM
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You should have bought the U.K BD as both U.S BD and U.K HD DVD have minor to moderate application of DNR.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #30 of 157 Old 06-26-2008, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

You should have bought the U.K BD as both U.S BD and U.K HD DVD have minor to moderate application of DNR.


Agreed that I should've bought the BD. I was just concerned about the extras being playable also.
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