Blu-ray.com review is up...disappointing transfer >>>Video: 3.5/5
High Fidelity's hit or miss 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer, on the other hand, doesn't hold up so well. Filmic softness is one thing; scrubbed and filtered source materials are something else entirely. Oh, grain is still present (although it sometimes takes on the consistency of mashed potatoes) and many a closeup looks terrific, carefully preserved textures and all. It's the film's midrange shots that seem to be the source of most of the encode's woes. Grain and fine details tend to become muddled, brief but thankfully negligible bursts of artifacting enter the fray, minor macroblocking haunts oversaturated faces (skip to 33:41), slightly unnatural skintones and crush are minor but ongoing problems, and delineation and black levels aren't always as revealing or satisfying as they could be. That said, High Fidelity fares better than Grosse Pointe Blank. It isn't littered with thick edge halos like Blank, its colors are truer and more lifelike, its contrast is more balanced and consistent, and the entire presentation amounts to more of what filmfans have come to expect from a solid catalog release. Like Grosse Point Blank, though, it's clear High Fidelity's transfer wasn't minted from a new master but rather one that shows signs of age. That's not to say the image resembles its DVD counterpart, mind you. Far from it. Videophiles would just be wise to lower their expectations. This may be the best the film has looked since its theatrical release, but it would be easier to compile a list of the presentation's "Top Five Disappointments" than its "Top Five Upgrades," and that sort of says it all.
High Fidelity's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track spreads every last pop hit, indie fave and underground anthem in its arsenal throughout the soundfield, drawing the listener in with full, robust renditions of its mix tape soundtrack. The rest of the soundscape, though... well, that's another story. There's nothing wrong per se -- dialogue is clean and clear, LFE output is strong and attentive, and the rear speakers rarely grow quiet -- but the film is surprisingly front heavy on the whole. Street noise, store chatter, and rustling record sleeves are a part of the experience, but tend to clump in the front speakers rather than extending across the entire soundfield. Subdued emotional scenes are even flatter, despite offering up some nice interior acoustics here and there. There's little difference between Rob's apartment and his office, much less his store and a restaurant. The film's original sound design is presumably the culprit, but that doesn't really help when the music dies down and takes much of the soundscape with it. High Fidelity still sounds better than ever. Its lossless track just isn't as enveloping as most fans will probably be expecting.