The Doctor Who Companion

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Clbeforehand, the Blu-ray sets of classic Doctor Who are underway and this writer –from a technological allude of view– is a little at odds as to whether BBC Records and Tapes (or whatever before they’re dubbed now) have actually took on this endeavor also early. Let me explain…

Please note: this isn’t any comprehensive analysis, but an overview(via a generous helping of opinion)to give a general idea.

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A Bit of Background

In ye olden days,BBCtelevisiondramawas taped in 2 mediums: videotape and/or film.Shows likeDoctor Who, Juliet Bravo,Blakes 7, and many sitcoms would traditionally have actually a mixture of both. Normally – but not exclusively – videotape would certainly be used for studio and film for areas and also model shots.

This was gloriously stated during theMonty Pythonsketch, The Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things: “Gentlemales, I have actually negative news. This room is surrounded by film!”

Conversely, otherdramas would becompletelytaped on film(Edge of Darkness,Shoestring, Bergerac)butDoctor Whowas never afforded this luxury apart fromthe well known incident whereSpearhead from Spacewas capturedallon film, due toindustrial activity within the BBC.


In the original release ofThe Eco-friendly Death, the episodes endured as the bit-price was lowered to accommoday various other extras on a solitary disc. This later on triggered a two-disc unique release to consist of for the restricted quality of the original.

High Definition(HD)andBlu-ray

It wasn’t till the introduction of HD television broadcasts that points really relocated forward, in regards to top quality, and also that all (primary channel) output was videotaped making use of high meaning camages.

High interpretation programmes released on Blu-ray shortly complied with, although it did take a while to capture up; in some situations, it still hasn’t: the BBC crime drama, Silent Witnesshas been made and also broadactors in HD for a number of years now, however commercially only SD DVDs have actually been released.

A commercial Blu-ray disc consists of area for 50 gigabytes and deserve to be encoded making use of an option of codecs such as MPEG2 or the a lot even more efficient H.264 which allows better photo and a greater resolution at lower bit-rates (which has actually enabled broadactors HD television).

Tright here is a variation in that tright here are twomainHD resolutions:

1920 x 1080 pixels. This is also recognized as Full HD. This is the conventional for Blu-ray.1280 x 720 pixels. When a tv is tagged as HD Ready – commonly older or smaller screen HD TVs – this is its aboriginal resolution. This is additionally the resolution that the BBC iPlayer supplies for its HD output.

Are you still through me? Good. I’ll gain to the suggest soon.

Are Tbelow Any Drawbacks to High Definition?

Oh yes! Tright here are points that were not visible in SD that have the right to come to be apparent in HD.


I was happily watchingThe Prisonerfor years: TV repeats, VHS and DVD… Then I acquired theBlu-ray collection. On my initially viewing,I noticedthatin a scene exterior of No.6’s house,behind the archwaynexttohis front door,therewas averyobvious backdrop painting.This is the danger of adding existing requirements to programmes that weren’t made to be regarded in this manner.

Cinema was produced substantial screens; pre-late 1990s tv was not.


Philip has actually covered this before, in more information, in relation to the release of thePaul McGann TV Movieon Blu-ray, yet in a nutshell: all Doctor Who stories up toPlanet of the Deadthat have been released on Blu-ray (exceptSpearhead from Space) have been upscaled.What thismeans is that the original conventional meaning material has actually been re-encoded with high definition resolution. This does result in a better photo quality(and they look incredibly good)but, as I’ve defined above, it is not appropriate HD. This is why it’s described as being upscaled.

Upscaling is also supplied to define what an HD or 4K(four times HD resolution)television does once displaying a snapshot from a DVD player. A DVD’s resolution will be upscaresulted in fill the television’s native resolution.

Now I’ll gain to the point…


I’ve wondered if releasing upscaled SD Doctor Whoon Blu-ray was a bit beforehand, from a technical allude of view,and I consequently explained that unmuch less a tv programme was recordedusingHD camperiods or film, appropriate HDis not possible.

Well… not possibleat the moment.

In a past life, I dabbled in convertingVHSvideo tapes to digital video. With the appropriate hardware/software(and also enthusiasm)the improvements that might be made to thephoto top quality wererather staggering!My heyday below was a decade earlier and also points have actually relocated forward significantly since.

Therefore,I can foreview, in the not too far-off future,software program andtechnologybeingsupplied to convertSDphotos intoHDpictureswbelow algorithms will synthesize the absent detail; newer televisions are currently making inroadsbelow.

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Hence, the answer to the original question – why can’t all Doctor Whobe in correct high definition? – is that itmany likelydeserve to.