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In 2006, the American satellite channel "Family Room HD" (channel 9486 on Dish Network) began showing UFO in widescreen and high definition. Since UFO was not filmed in widescreen, this was achieved by cropping off the top and bottom of the picture.

Family Room HD is showing these episodes uncut, and without commercial interruption. Dish Network is transmitting this channel at 1280 x 1080i resolution, which is only 66% of the resolution of full HDTV (1920 x 1080i). The satellite receiver box upscales this transmission to 1920 x 1080i before sending the signal to the television set. The audio is supposedly in surround sound, however, this is just an addition of echo and left/right balance changes to the original mono audio.

Here is the opening sequence, downsized to 720p and converted to a 30 MB Window Media file - play/download

Below is a comparison of the uncropped DVD release and the widescreen HDTV broadcast, showing the difference in image area and resolution.

Purists will likely object to the top and bottom removed from the original image, but for the most part the image looks fine in widescreen, for example see the image below. However, note the slight color differences between the two, with everything tending towards green on the HDTV version, while the DVD version has more variety of colors:

For the most part the widescreen image is simply cropped, however during the end credits there is a combination of cropping and stretching -- note in the below example, the Earth and the credits are flattened. Also note that in this particular case, the DVD version is brighter and more colorful:

Note in the case below that the image framing had to be compromised so as to include the credits (it would have been better to show more of Straker's head!). Again there is a difference in brightness, this time with the HD version being brighter:

Overall, the HDTV picture quality is very good for most of the episodes. One noteable exception is THE CAT WITH TEN LIVES, which is too dark, overly contrasty, and grainy throughout. I don't know why this episode is different. For an example, here is a comparison of a frame with the much brighter DVD image:

One interesting difference between the DVD and HDTV versions are the flashback sequences in THE LONG SLEEP. On the DVD's, these are sepia-tinted throughout. On the HDTV version, these scenes are practically black & white:

(special thanks to Jerry G.)

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