Are USA Doctor Who Blu Rays region-free?

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Lance, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    I only ask because I've found that some things (like the Star Trek movies) have been completely region free, while other stuff (like a lot of releases from Criterion Collection) aren't.


    The release of the complete new series on Blu Ray format has got me tempted, but by my reckoning the USA set gives you far more bang for your buck, what with it's pack-in Sonic Screwdriver and comic books -- none of which are in the UK release -- plus, it has the original DVD box art on the slipcase sleeves, complete with original orange lozenge/taxicab logo, etc etc. ;) The brand new box art which has been designed for the UK versions of the same release looks like crap, and the use of the Pertwee/McGann logo (which has hithero only been exclusively used for the original series releases) is nonsensical, 50th anniversary or no 50th anniversary! :wtf:


    So yes. The idea of the whole of New Who, Series 1-4 inclusive, upconverted to Hi-Def has got me excited enough to actually rebuy them all. :drool: But my objective head tells me that the USA release is far and away the superior one compared to the UK release. I'm genuinely tempted to just import the USA release, because for only about 20 bucks more it's got a hell of a lot more actually in it.....
    ..... but of course that little phrase 'Region A' haunts me from Amazon.com. :rommie:


    I know there are Blu Ray discs that claim to be Region A, but are actually openly encoded for all regions. A suprising number of major studio content, including nearly all of the Paramount discs I've ever imported from the States, are region free. In the experience of our forum-goers, would you say that the BBC Blu Rays (in general) tend to be among those region free releases? Or, in the case of BBC blu rays, does Region A truly mean Region A? :confused:


    (Obviously I'd prefer to have a definitive answer before I lay down the green, because it would be a very costly chunk of useless plastic otherwise.)
     
  2. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Okay, a quick search about the internets has proven slightly inconclusive. :shifty: Most internet pundits that are discussing the issue seem to assume they're Region free. I'd prefer a first hand account of course, but if that's all I've got to go on, I might well take the gamble on them.....

    Ultimately I think both regions are a comparable price, on Amazon at least..... I think the USA one is currently more competitive though because of all the bonus goodies.

    The collector in me is like a beast that can't be held back. :devil: :(
     
  3. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    I see no mention of Region on any of the blu-rays.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Thanks for that, that's kind of what my research was telling me. :techman: Still a few days to release, I might still hold off to see what the word is like on the quality of the upscaling. Certainly in terms of value per poundage the USA release has got the UK one beat. I wonder if they'll be released individually later down the track?
     
  5. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Are there any reviews of the upconverted Series 1-4 stuff? Like, is it a lot better then the DVD's I have?
     
  6. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Haven't been able to find anything at the moment, the release date is still a couple days away so the user reviews will probably start trickling in over the next week.

    The only example we currently have of what it might look like is "The Next Doctor". The series officially started shooting in HD as of "Planet of the Dead", but "The Next Doctor" was (until now) the only SD example released on Blu Ray as an upconvert. Obviously it isn't going to be as good as the stuff that was actually shot in HD, though it might still be better than the DVDs. I seem to recall Series 1 in particular suffered from some terrible blocking artifacts in places due to the way the discs were compressed at the time. If the Blu Rays have been scanned properly, that at least should be a significant improvement.
     
  7. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    See, I had been buying the specials as they came out so started blu-ray with Waters Of Mars.

    I did see the specials set had them all in blu-ray, but it was too late for me by then.
     
  8. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    So far I've resisted buying the Doctor Who's on Blu Ray at all (even Series 7 I only got on DVD), which is why the idea of a set that has all of the new series in it is so appealing. I figure if I am gonna upgrade them to Blu Ray, I might as well upgrade them all at once. ;)

    See, one part of me wants to lay down the Benjamins for this. But another more rational part of me is saying they might be released seperately (cheaper?) later down the track. I think it will be helpful to see a few user reviews first to help me decide whether it's worth it or not.
     
  9. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Mostly, the cheaper alternative has lacked any extras.

    I bought the half season sets as they came out because I'm terrible at waiting, plus I'm not really an "extras" kinda guy.

    I'm not above replacing a DVD with a blu-ray (just did it with the 3 Austin Powers movies), if there's a big enough difference in quality.

    That's why I haven't replaced my Farscape collection...the blu-rays are upgraded SD that aren't much of an improvement over the DVD's.

    That Series 1-7 gift set is a helluva set though.
     
  10. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Combom.co.uk quizzed the Beeb about a few things regarding this set about a month ago, and among the answers given was:

    Which doesn't sound promising in regards the question of this thread. :(

    Having said that, maybe the Region B discs are region-locked, but the Region A discs won't be? The BBC representative being questioned was speaking specifically about the UK release rather than the US one.....
     
  11. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    If one (major) region code isn't locked, it kinda defeats whatever purpose region coding has.
     
  12. 3chordboy

    3chordboy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, GOC, UK
    The set is coded to Region A.
     
  13. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Hm, I should be pretty wary about importing unless I hear differently then. :)

    A shame, because it would seem the US release outclasses the UK release considerably.

    A few pictures of what the actual episodes look like have started to leak online:

    http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=224234&page=18

    Not exactly pixel sharp, but I would stick my neck out and say it's marginally better than the DVDs. But only marginally.

    Series 1 of new Doctor Who is a bit like season one of TNG. Of all of them, it looks the worst because they used some kind of soft camera filter that they stopped using from Series 2 onwards. I'd say those pictures do compensate some for that, but whether it's worth the upgrade..... that I'm not too sure about. :p

    From what I can piece together apparently the big problem here is that the original camera tapes no longer exist. The Blu Ray upscaling is being done from the 'transmission tapes', which were the end result after editing. If the BBC still had access to the actual unedited camera tapes (they don't, they transfered them all to TX after editing and then they reused the tape) the remastering house would apparently have been able to do a more substantial "ground up" remastering of the material, not strictly HD but there would still have been a generation less to work from (always a consideration for material shot on SD).

    As it is, it'll have to do.....

    (Bloody ironic that the BBC lost the original tapes, eh? Don't they ever learn? ;))
     
  14. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Well, I got the answer from a couple of extremely reliable internet sources I usually use for this kind of info: while most American Doctor Who blu rays are not region locked at all, up to and including even the recent Series 7 release, it seems that this particular boxset might have been locked, possibly owing to the exclusive content contained within it (the BBC America specials). Maybe the extra stuff hasn't been licenced for outside the USA or something.

    Cheers everyone for your help. :techman:
     
  15. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    You could always buy a region free blu-ray player.
     
  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    The word is that there are some..... issues with these releases. A few reviews have popped up now giving the set only 1 star and saying the upscaling isn't great (the always dubious juddery-picture syndrome). Looks like maybe a cash-in release. :(

    I understand that there might still be some improvement over the NTSC versions of the DVDs, if those are the ones you've got. But I think it might be best to leave this one alone for now (unless the price drops dramatically).
     
  17. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    The website mightyape.com.au are listing the Australian releases of these BDs for individual sale, rather than as part of a boxset, commencing from December 5th 2013. If that's any indication for the rest of the world that individual releases are just around the corner (although UK and US individual release dates haven't actually been announced yet), then maybe there is still some hope for anyone who already has Series 5-7 and doesn't want to shell out for the big box and double-up. :)
     
  18. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    ^ Y'mean people like me? ;)
     
  19. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    :D

    I'm actually quite relieved that they aren't just a boxset exclusive, although possibly mightyape has let the cat out of the bag about the release date for individual releases before the Beeb actually wanted it to get out. I suspect they wanted to milk the 'exclusivity' of the boxset for as long as they could.

    Crossed fingers that non-Australian regions get these individual releases too. It'd suck if a boxset was all there was..... ;)
     
  20. StCoop

    StCoop Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Just got my set; didn't care about sonic screwdrivers or any other tat so happy to pay less for the UK set but after half an hour of flipping back and forth between the original DVDs and the Blu-Rays I can't see any difference between the two, except the episodes are a couple of minutes longer because they're now at the wrong speed.

    Here's two screenshots from 'Rose'. One's DVD, one's Blu-Ray. Can you tell which is which?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]