‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ May Never Get A Full HD Remaster

Senior Contributor
02.03.17 8 Comments

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine might be the most beloved series in the Star Trek canon. A change of pace from the usual ships-and-spacetime-anomalies, the show earned enormous ratings and remains a streaming favorite. But it may never get the full HD remaster it’s crying out for.

Fans will remember that Paramount went to enormous expense to give Star Trek: The Next Generation an HD remaster. It was an enormously expensive undertaking, because of how TNG was produced: The actors, the effects, and the titles were all shot separately on film, scaled down to standard definition on videotape, and edited together at the video level. So, basically, when you watch a remastered episode of TNG, you are watching an episode that was literally built from scratch out of the original raw material.

Trek News asked Robert Meyer Burnett, noted Trek mastermind, why Deep Space Nine (fine, and also Voyager) haven’t gotten the same treatment. The first answer is money: The TNG Blu-ray sets didn’t sell the way Paramount was hoping. The second is that doing it with those shows would be even more expensive and complicated:

…both DS9 and Voyager made extensive use of CGI for their visual effects, especially in the later seasons. Those visual effects were rendered in standard NTSC resolution, with a maximum of 525 scan lines of resolution per second, split between two interlaced video fields of 262.5 scan lines running at 60 fields per second. So, the original resolution remains far, far below what audiences used to today’s HD, and now UHD resolutions, are accustomed to. These VFX could be upscaled 5x, but they’d have no detail. The Starship Defiant would look like a fuzzy, grey blob.

To make matters worse, acquiring the original effects is “a big if,” apparently, so it might cost tens of millions of dollars to upgrade the show, at a time when physical media is rapidly declining in favor of streaming. So, enjoy the fuzzy VHS-esque look of those Netflix streams; unless Netflix or someone else pays up for the editing, it’s all we’re getting for a while.

(via Trek News)

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