Jeff Kleist of the Digital Bits says that it's a new transfer, although it does indeed look pretty soft still. I guess a Japanese company couldn't go back to the original negatives though (Mr. Kleist didn't give many details), so perhaps they only used an interpositive or later generation film material for the transfer. Hopefully a full restoration will happen in the future, perhaps for the 20th anniversary in 2011.
The StudioCanal releases might have the best quality, but I'd say the Extreme Edition DVD gets the best value award. A reference-quality DVD transfer with a couple extras and the best HD version available if you can ignore the roughly broadcast-quality compression
So it seems the WMV-HD disc is the best one as picture quality and detail. Is it also the less cropped version? If I'm not wrong the D-Theater version released by Artisan share the same master but is 1920x1080i and with higher bitrate. As far as I remember there are some macroblocking in the WMV-HD version, for example in head titles with fire flames.
This film needs a full restoration like Warner did with Blade Runner. The film simply looks soft. And a movie of this caliber shouldn't be. Maybe when the new Terminator flick hits the screen, we'll see a re-release.
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Added pics from both Japanese discs. I think this "new master" thing is BS. It looks the same down to the framing, colors, individual specs of grain. Just a little blurrier than the StudioCanal encodes.
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Here follow 2 terrible screenshots of WMV-HD edition taken with MPC-HC and saved in PNG format, bitrate is really too low even if resolution is lowered to 1440 vertical lines:
I confirm WMV-HD has some more lines on top and bottom of screen but not at sides. Anyway it's exactly the same master used for D-Theater tape by Artisan which is 1920x1080 even if interlaced, but it has higher bitrate and no artifacts.
You mean new encode. The japanese so far look the best. Sod all the other versions. (the TC on the japanese BR also looks inferior to the SE, which is the same as the 2003 Extreme Edition master, but with better encoding and colors). All the old T2 dvds are rendered useless by this japanese version, except for the missing bonuses.
Did anyone find the video portion of this review confusing/contradictory?
"So here we go again with the 'Skynet Edition,' which Lionsgate is whipping out just in time for the theatrical debut of the upcoming sequel, 'Terminator Salvation.' But don't expect anything new -- this 1080p/VC-1 encode (2.35:1) offers no truly appreciable upgrade over the previous Blu-ray (which I reviewed upon first release back in 2006)."
followed a couple paragraphs later by
"The disc's VC-1 encode is far better than the previous Blu-ray, however, with none of the motion artifacts, edginess or pixelization that so rankled last time."