After I purchased the show from Amazon, I posted a review there about how grainy and washed out the shows looked. I soon learned that what I had inadvertently ordered was that "international" release.
They sell that bootleg on Amazon? It's hard to feel sorry for Paramount when they're not even trying to protect their interests.
But yes it's true, I watched TNG on Netflix, and some of the shots in S1 were pretty murky. Later seasons benefit from better lighting, I think.