Shawn Francis
09-28-2011, 03:22 PM

DIGITAL BITS (http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents): Your first real look at the project is coming on 1/31/12, with the release of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level Blu-ray sampler disc (SRP $21.99 - we posted the cover art yesterday). [Note that we're still unsure of the originally reported U.K. date - which was in early December - still holds there.] As expected, the sampler disc will include Encounter at Farpoint, Sins of the Father and The Inner Light. Here's more from the official announcement on Star Trek.com (http://www.startrek.com/article/the-next-generation-blu-rays-launch-in-2012):

"Star Trek: The Next Generation will be released in high-definition Blu-ray, starting in January with a sampler of several popular episodes, followed by a season-one set to be released later on in 2012, and subsequent seasons beaming down after that. Each of the 178 episodes spanning The Next Generation's seven seasons will be transferred to true high-definition 1080p for release in the Blu-ray format and, eventually, for runs on television and digital platforms in the U.S. and across the world. Star Trek: The Next Generation will, as fans know, be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012.

"Fans have been clamoring for a high-definition release of Star Trek: The Next Generation," Ken Ross, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement. "Transferring the series to high-definition presented difficult technical challenges, but our team has come up with a process to create true 1080p HD masters with true HD visual effects. We can’t wait to show fans how pristine the series looks and sounds with our upcoming Blu-ray releases."

CBS is, in fact, returning to the original film negatives, a mother lode of material encompassing 25,000-plus reels of footage, and editing the episodes together precisely as they were when they originally aired between 1987 and 1994. Visual effects will not be upconverted from videotape, but instead will be recompositioned. The freshly cut film will ultimately be transferred to high definition with 7.1 DTS Master Audio. And all of the work is being done in conjunction with respected, longtime Star Trek figures Denise and Michael Okuda, who are on board as consultants."

Very, very cool! Boy, it's nice to have some official word on all this finally. Can't wait to see how good this show looks in 1080p! That recomposited shot of the NCC-1701-D in HD sure does look sweet. And as you can see by the announcement, it sure looks and sounds like they're doing this thing right. By the way, we're told that the show's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio will be preserved (and that's what you'll get on Blu-ray), but 1.78:1 versions may be created for use in certain distribution venues. We'll post more as it's available.