Originally Posted by anikun07
The DVD trilogy of the original episodes have a bonus disc of the "original" releases of each movie. They are not anamorphic, and I'm not sure if some of the purists say that they are the true original, unedited theatrical version. I'm not sure if episode 4 says Star Wars or A New Hope at the opening crawl, but that might be an indicator. However, the sarlacc in ep 6 is the good, ol' puppet I remember from TV recordings. The recording of ep 6 I grew up watching started taping late, so to this day I forget the opening on the second death star; I think the movies begins on Tatooine.
This is correct. Also, if buying the DVD edition online, make sure you get the 2006 edition, which is the only DVD release that includes the originals. The 2004 4-disc and 2005 3-disc editions have the SEs only. All will cost you $100+, probably much more. The originals can also be found fairly easily by other means if you're so inclined (Hint: Rhymes with warrant). They're the same quality as the non-anamorphic DVD editions, less than 200p resolution IIRC, but they're as good as we're going to get until Fox and Disney get their acts together.
When all is said and done, the non-anamorphic versions don't look terrible, even on a 50" hdtv, but obviously the picture quality of even the special editions is far better, even on DVD. Since the special edition of Empire has so few changes from the original, I'll generally choose the special edition of Empire over the original, but I find that I still prefer the original versions of ANH and ROTJ, even with the inferior picture quality.