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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. I have had this for over a week now and could finally sit down and view it. Most of it, anyway. I also own the 5 Star DVD and used to own both the original Pro-Logic and then the later THX/AC-3 (5.1) Laserdisc versions.


DIE HARD’s soundtrack has always been top notch and the D-Theater is no exception. It’s hard to say which soundtrack is the best and since sound can be such a polarizing topic, I’ll move on to the subject we all want to discuss.


The Picture: DIE HARD looked great on Laserdisc, back when laserdiscs were the king of the hill. The first DVD release was just a port of the THX laserdisc transfer, so I avoided it. The second DVD, part of a 2 disc Five Star Collection line, had the same 5.1 soundtrack, but a new anamorphic transfer that many complained was no better than the non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. Some even claimed it was just an upconvert (It isn’t. It’s simply taken from a 1080i master created the same time as the 480i letterboxed master).


No matter what camp you were in, you could not avoid the fact that the film looked soft. This should not be a surprise considering the film was shot using a variety of filters, not to mention lenses that caused flares and glares throughout (this was done purposely).


Recently a FOX executive even admitted the High Definition transfer for DIE HARD was not up to par with their current standards for D-Theater releases and that a new transfer was going to be created soon.


So how does this “new†transfer look? One wonders if it is actually new, because it is in no way up to the clarity levels seen with some titles (U-571, X-MEN), but again, the film had a variety of filters utilized during filming, so the soft look of this 1080i transfer is somewhat expected, I guess. Maybe the film is just soft.


Detail is superior to the DVD, especially in regards to the sweat on Willis, his stubbled face and bruised body in close-ups. Wide shots of Nakatome Plaza have far more stability compared to the DVD and colors are also purer, with no sign of bleeding, even when some very red blood is seen on screen.


There are zero compression artifacts and the fast camera movements that looked fuzzy on DVD appear quite natural here. You gotta love 28 megabits per second compared to the 6 or 7 you would find on DVD.


I did not see any Edge Enhancement, but I did not look for any.


Like lower quality 1080i transfers, switching back and forth between 1080i and 408p DVD won’t reveal all that much during most scenes. Where I saw the biggest difference was after watching 5 minutes of the D-Theater, then watching the same 5 minutes on DVD. My eyes didn’t like it and that is when the increased detail of the D-theater tape became most apparent. Keep in mind that this is on a 47 inch screen, so those of you with 65+ inch RPTV’s or front projector’s may notice a more pronounced difference.


If I had to rate this transfer compared to other D-Theater titles I have seen, I would put it above T2 and The PEACEMAKER and about where ID4 and BACKDRAFT are, which is middle of the road. About an 8.5 on the 10 point 1080i scale. The recent release, THE TRANSPORTER, rates a 9.25 at least, but it’s a brand new film. FIGHT CLUB would also get a 9.25. T2 and Peacemaker rate a 7 (Most HBO transfers are superior).


SWORDFISH, TRAINING DAY, VIRTUOSITY and BLACK RAIN are all examples of 9.25 to 9.75 HBO transfers. Showtime’s studio provided transfers of APOCALYPSE NOW and ENEMY AT THE GATES are also near a 10. The key difference between HBO/Showtime transfers and D-Theater are compression artifacts. D-Theater has none, while OTA and cable/satellite feeds of 19mb/ps have some.


Long story short, DIE HARD in D-Theater is the best we are going to get, until 1080p HD-DVD comes out, anyway. Don’t hold your breath on that one. ;)
 

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Matt- Great review. By the way, this title was recently reviewed by Widescreen Review and I believe that they attributed the softness to the original film elements. It would then seem that you were spot on with your guess on filter use. Anyway, I also have this on LD and DVD and will soon have it on D-VHS.
 

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Thanks Guys,

-------------You make me feel more "sane". I've got 3 different LD copies and 2 different DVD copies.


---------------Very comprehensive review, Matt, hope you continue with this trend on all DVHS movies that you view. Sure helps separate possible marketing hype from the facts.
 

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matt,


what films on dtheater would you say are the best picture quality?

say top 3 films?


i am going to get a dvhs soon and would love to know the 3 best pix tapes....


thanks

mark
 

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Matt

nice revie.

dts is now said to be featured on DTHEATER. will all the current titles available be re-released with dts ? ... :D
 

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David600,


Where did you read that DTS is now going to be a part of D-Theater tapes? Did JVC announce a newer player with that capability (the current model does not)?


That would definitely be a welcomed addition, especially if it was full bitrate DTS.


Dan
 

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Dan,


JVC has announced the new deck (originally due out in May, perhaps delayed somewhat) will feature DTS. Software manufacuters already had stated they were prepared to release titles with DTS support.
 

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David,


I'm with you on that one. Just give me one working JVC deck with 1080i and 5.1 audio, and I'm a happy man.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by David600
http://db.widescreenreview.com/dvhs/...d=40533&-find=


not so sure all the dvhs owners will be happy to buy again everything in dts :D

for me, even though I like dts, I think the image quality and the 540kbps dolby is enough. no need to get crazy and buying everything twice as HD DVD is a few years away (technically it's available but let's be realistic...)
Well as far as I know, JVC didn't do a good job and making a reliable working deck. A small number of HT people do want to get a working deck as semi-early adopters. If this deck delivers, then it would really be a boon for them when D-Cinema titles include full-bitrate DTS too. And who wouldn't like that?


Now it don't mean that people with their current rigs and tapes would have to get this new deck. But I bet the temptation would be high.



fuad
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mark, U-571 is #1. X-MEN is #2 and #3 is most likely END OF DAYS.
 

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Matt,

Thanks for spending the time on the review. This is the kind of thing which really makes purchases comfortable. The thing I love about DTheater is that it blows away anything I've ever seen at any of my local theaters. I used to say that the upscaled DVD looked great in color,cleanliness etc but didn't have the resolution but with DTheater it is just difficult to want for more.


Art
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt_Stevens
Mark, U-571 is #1. X-MEN is #2 and #3 is most likely END OF DAYS.
I'd put Entrapment ahead of all of them. No eye-poppin' special effects, just good cinematography captured with zero EE and no artifacts. I have not seen From Hell on d-theater yet, but would assume it would top End of Days easily (EoD has EE) just based on a comparison of dvds. K-Pax would also be a shoo-in for good PQ.


In DieHard, how does the bullet riddled shot with the guy in the Santa hat look? This seemed fuzzy on the laserdisc.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Art Sonneborn
I used to say that the upscaled DVD looked great in color,cleanliness etc but didn't have the resolution but with DTheater it is just difficult to want for more.


Art
Just wait until the cerebral implant spec is ratified by the powers that be Art. It will make HD look like a Webcam video :)


Petey
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ollie W. Holmes
I'd put Entrapment ahead of all of them.
Thanks Ollie,

I like that movie very much. You've given me just the incentive I need to order it right now! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ollie, I have not seen Entrapment or From Hell on D-Theater. Nor have I seen Men of Honor, Galaxy Quest, Spy Game or Courage Under Fire.
 

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JVC needs to "go crazy" or their format will die. True 1080p from 1080p masters (Joe Kane said it actually encodes better than interlaced anyway in the digital domain with no filtering needed) and full bitrate DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 or full bitrate DTS 96/24 5.1 needs to be added YESTERDAY.


Dan
 

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Why should I have to dream when this should be a "standard" feature? :)


Dan
 

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I thought the quality of the Transporter exceeded that of X-men. I watched them both yesterday. The outdoor scenes in the Transporter were amazing.


I will take the dolby dig sound tracks on D-theater over anything on DVD in DTS !!!


The thought of Full DTS on D-theater has me salivating.....
 
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