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The Universe Mega Collection Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4; VC-1 (Season 2); MVC (7 Wonders of the Solar System)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0; DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Season 5); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (7 Wonders of the Solar System 3D)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 16
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • List Price: $179.95

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BestBuy.com:
Universe: Complete Series (16pc) -

Purchase The Universe Mega Collection on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Read Our Reviews of:

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Collection
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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 Collection

[Rating:4.5/5]

The History Channel’s astronomy documentary series The Universe is clearly a big winner for the network for they have have continued to repackage the show on disc in too many configurations for me to recount. Now’s your chance to get all five seasons on Blu-ray plus The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System 3D in one big set.

Over the course of its whopping 16-discs, The Universe covers multiple phenomena throughout the Universe and our solar system. It’s an astronomy geek’s dream come true. With fantastic CGI work, photos from the Hubble Space telescope and other telescopes, plus commentary by scientists and experts in various fields, The Universe is one of the most thorough television series on astronomy around.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Video has always been a mixed bag for The Universe, but it is consistent across all seasons. All seasons are in 1080p/24 and use AVC/MPEG-4 except Season 2, which uses VC-1 and 7 Wonders of the Solar System 3D, which uses the MVC codec for its 3D encodement. The CG work looks brilliant, but where the HD work suffers most is in the many interviews with the experts. They show lots of video noise and softy detail. Of course, some of the archival footage used is also of lesser quality than the newer HD material.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio across the series is all in stereo, with Seasons 1 through 4 coming with PCM 2.0 and Season 5 coming with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix. 7 Wonders of the Solar System is the only disc provided with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The series does offer clean narration and dialogue, but high frequencies have always seemed just a bit rough to me.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Season 1 and 2 have the best extras in the series, but everything in here is a boon for astronomy fans.

The supplements provided in this collection are:

Season 1:

  • Beyond the Big Bang (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 1:29.56) – Theories on the big bang.

Season 2:

  • Backyard Astronomer (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:56.18) – Bodies in space that can be viewed by amateur astronomers.

Season 3:

  • Universe Facts – Read through a list of interesting facts about the Universe like how the sun burns an estimated 600 million metric tonnes of hydrogen every second or how Pluto, once considered a planet, is actually smaller than seven of the solar system’s moons.
  • Image Gallery (1080p/24)

Season 4:

  • Meteors: Fire in the Sky (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:09.33) – Meteorite from Mars contains possible signs of Martian life.
  • Comets: Prophets of Doom (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:03.18) – The destructive force of comets.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Get it all together now astronomy fans. The Universe Mega Collection may make a great gift for someone you know or for yourself if you haven’t already purchased many of the seasons.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004HJ0ZMI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Universe: Complete Series (16pc) -

Purchase The Universe Mega Collection on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com





Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Collection
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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