When the first season box set of Babylon 5 was first released end of 2002, the PAL master for the episode "And the Sky Full of Stars" (episode 8, on dvd 2) contained a mastering error (details at the end of the page). The episode has been remastered and at the end of March 2003, Warner UK was the first to offer a way for customers to get their faulty discs replaced, thanks also to the work of a few insistent people at this forum. WHV Germany is now following suit. Hopefully Warner Home Video will do the same in other R2/R4 countries as well now that corrected discs are available.
The temporary address for the replacement is:
Warner Home Video
98 Theobald's Road
Return ONLY Disc 2 (not the full box) together with full name and address. A covering letter explaining that you wish to replace the disc is a good idea. More details can be found at the forum mentioned earlier.
WHV Netherlands is reportedly looking into the problem so hopefuly they will offer a replacement soon (The dutch WHV can be contacted at telephone number 020-5411211).
If you have any more details that I can put here, let me know and I'll include them here.
The table below shows images resulting from the following experiment: A few stills were captured of the same frames (from the first fifteen minutes of the episode) from both the region 2 dvd (the januari 9th release at amazon.de), and from the region 1 dvd. These images were then scaled down to 384x216 resolution for display on this webpage. These 16:9 images show a small version of what you see on a widescreen tv watching those dvds. As you can see, the region 2 image on the left appears horizontally stretched (because it is a 4:3 image stretched to 16:9), whereas the region 1 image (in the middle) shows a proper aspect ratio (no flattened faces).
As an extra check, I've cropped the captured 576-line region 2 image to 432 lines (to select a 16:9 area from the 4:3 source material). I tried to crop to the same region as used for the region 1 dvd. I then again scaled the resulting 16:9 sub-picture to 384x216 pixels. This is the column on the right. As you can see: it very closely matches the image as available on the region 1 dvd. This shows that indeed the region 1 (ntsc) mastering was done by selecting a 16:9 portion of the available 4:3 image, and scaling that to proper anamorphic dvd resolution.
|R2 DVD||R1 DVD||R2 DVD 16:9 crop|