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The Universe in 3D Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D); MVC (3D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, Dutch (Nemesis); English, Danish, German, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish (Solar System); English, German, Spanish, Dutch (Catastrophes)
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 192 Mins.
  • Discs: 3 (3 x Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: NA
  • Studio: A&E Home Video/NewVideo
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 13, 2012
  • List Price: $79.95

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
HD:[Rating:4/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

The History Channel’s popular astronomy series The Universe is perfect material for the 3D format. After all, who doesn’t want to go flying through space, getting up close and personal with a supernova or an asteroid slamming into a planet all from the safety of their own living room? Well, slowly but surely A&E Home Video has been releasing select episodes from the series, starting with the previously reviewed 7 Wonders of the Solar System. With The Universe in 3D, which sounds like it would be the complete series or something approaching it in 3D, we get, instead, a collection of three 45-minute episodes. For those already familiar with History’s easy to follow, layman’s explanations of complex scientific theories, each episode here follows the same pattern. Familiar experts appear, and, you may already be familiar with the episodes themselves for that matter. The collection includes Nemesis: The Sun’s Evil Twin, which discusses the theory of our sun being part of a binary star system. Nemesis, as the theory goes, has a 22 million year orbit which could correlate to the cycle of extinction on our planet. Catastrophes that Changed the Planets is a top ten countdown of various massive phenomenon throughout the history of our solar system responsible for shaping it, answering questions such as why Saturn has rings and what blew away Mercury’s mantle. Finally, the collection includes the episode How the Solar System Was Made. This rather self-explanatory episode takes us through the various stages of our own solar system’s 700 million year development. As per usual, the series uses mixtures of CGI effects, telescope footage, plus the informed input of various experts from different disciplines with everyday demonstrations to keep the show interesting and easy t understand for those of us not so up on our astrophysics.

Video Quality

HD: [Rating3.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:3.5/5]

The Universe has never had really reference quality HD video and that continues with this set where you see a mild amount of detail in the 2D transfer and areas where the image is swarming with video noise. The 3D imagery is enjoyable, but certainly not the sort of thing that rivals anything from the best IMAX exhibition films or cutting edge theatrical releases like Brave or Underworld: Awakening. It has a mild level of pop-out in the CG effects and subtle amounts of added natural dimensionality during the live sequences.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mixes are offered for each episode that are a big improvement over the 2.0 stereo mixes usually offered on The Universe. While they are hardly aggressive, they offer a more expansive sound with subtle ambient effects like the whoosh of a planet flying by and clear narration anchored to the center channel.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

There are no extras on any of the discs.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Watching The Universe in 3D makes it an even more interesting journey. Flying through the rings of Saturn or zipping through a gaseous cloud in 3D is absolutely exhilarating. The History Channel should do more of these episodes in 3D, and hopefully improve the quality of the 3D in them as well for an even better experience. Still, I heartily recommend this for fans of the series who are 3D capable (or not – the discs are 2D compatible as well).

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Universe in 3D on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008NNYA0C[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Universe in 3D on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
HD:[Rating:4/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]


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