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Hello folks,


I recently took a delivery of three European HD DVDs by Nixbu Entertainment. They contain 10 episodes of Rides, a TV show for car feti... enthusiasts.



Show was shot with Sony CineAlta FW900 HDCAM, the same camera used by George Lucas on Star Wars Episodes I and II. Content is encoded in-house by Nixbu as 1920x1080 VC-1. Audio is, surprisingly enough, DTS Master Audio 2.0. Backcover takes special care to point out that the content is actually 1080p24, and "exactly 23,976 with 3:2 pulldown".


The content is rather challenging, encoding-wise, as the camera is almost constantly moving around, and there are numerous jumpcuts, flash frames and other stylized effects. IOW, exactly the sort of stuff that would fill the screen with heavy pixelation/blocking during OTA broadcast. I checked a couple of episodes from each disc and didn't see any such encoding artefacts, even when all screen content/pixels changed rapidly many times in a few seconds.


Image quality is generally very nice, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I should be seeing more detail. Checking the net, I found out that the FW900 shoots compressed 1440x1080 only, and is apparently unable to resolve full 1080 lines. That might explain my feeling. You can also see some (to my eye) nasty digital noise in poorly lit scenes. That all said, there's plenty of eyecandy on offer, in the form of brightly painted cars and sweet, sweet chrome.


There's very little in here extras-wise, unless you count the ugly mug of Jason Priestley, who pops in to introduce each episode. OK, each disc has some interview footage in SD and boy, do they look terrible next to the full HD episodes! Makes for a nice comparison demo, though
 
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