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The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: Full HD 3D; AVC/MPEG-4 (2D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Region:
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • List Price: $29.95

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Purchase The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
HD:[Rating:4.5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System is a one-off episode from The History Channel’s popular astronomy documentary series The Universe. It counts down the top 7 most amazing wonders from our own solar system, including Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the asteroid belt, Saturn’s rings and the highest peak in the system, Mars’ volcano Olympus Mons.

Utilizing cutting edge CGI graphics, viewers are flown right through the fascinating sights as narration and commentary from leading scientists in the field of astronomy and physics lend their expertise in explaining the phenomena we are witness to.

This Blu-ray 3D release takes viewers even further into the action, with its three-dimensional exploration of the cosmic wonders, with flybys, flyovers and fly-throughs.

Of course, with entire seasons of The Universe being available on Blu-ray, this 47-minute one-off may seem a bit steep, coming in at a suggested retail price of $29.95, but for early adopters desperate for content, 7 Wonders of the Solar System is a nice 3D entry nonetheless, particularly for those science geeks out there, myself included.

Video Quality

HD: [Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4/5]

The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System can be played back in either 2D or 3D and is backwards compatible with 2D systems. The 2D program looks solid and arrives in a 1.78:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encoding. But, we are going to focus our review on the 3D aspects of this title.

As far as the Full HD 3D encoding is concerned, 7 Wonders of the Solar System looks nicely detailed and does not suffer from any excess compression noise or posterization. The 3D effect adds a nice depth of field to the live sections, and the CGI effects, while having good depth, don’t necessarily pop off the screen. It would have been nice to see something a little more aggressive in the way of 3D effects, especially while “flying” through space.

I’ll also add that this title seems to suffer a bit more from crosstalk/ghosting (when the left eye sees what is intended for the right eye or vice versa) than some other 3D titles I have reviewed. Even after tweaking some of the 3D settings on my Samsung UN55C8000 display, there was heavy crosstalk in a lot of scenes, but it seemed rather sporadic.  I won’t let this be reflected in the rating since, at this point, it seems issues with crosstalk are both determined by the display and the source material. Every 3D display suffers some manner of crosstalk and a lot of it seems dependent on what is being played back.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is supplied that surrounds listeners with a slew of foley effects. It’s not an overtly aggressive mix by any means and the narration and interviews take precedence, but as science documentaries go, it’s quite engaging.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

There are no supplements on this release.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System may not be the most informative stop in The History Channel’s popular series, but it is certainly fun and offers some great eye-candy for anyone with a 3D display.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0043VUHXC[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
HD:[Rating:4.5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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