Whitney Houston

The Greatest Hits

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Menu Animation and Audio
Featurette - Whitney Houston DVD Interview
Featurette - Clive Davis Interview
Featurette - Home - Premier Performance on the Merv Griffin Show
Featurette - Lover For Life - Live HBO Concert for South Africa
Featurette - One Moment In Time - Live From 1989 Grammys
Featurette - My Love Is Your Love (Making of)
Featurette - Why Does It Hurt So Bad - Live From 1996 MTV Movie Awards
Featurette - My Love Is Your Love - Live From Germany
Music Video - Impossible
Featurette - MTV News - All Access
Featurette - Behind The Scenes At Greatest Hits Photo Shoot
Year Released 2000
Running Time 92:26 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (?)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Introduction, then Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director  
Arista Records 
Starring Whitney Houston
Case Black Amaray
RPI $34.95 Music Various

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    It seems like aeons ago that a rather attractive woman burst onto the music scene with a stunning voice and a soul type of sound that harkened back to the days of the great gospel singers. The woman's name was of course Whitney Houston, and the fact that she drew a lot from the great gospel tradition was no coincidence: her mother is after all Cissy Houston, one of the greats and her aunt is none other than Dionne Warwick. Blood lines like that certainly make things a bit easier when you make the transition from model to singer. Naturally, like most "brand new sounds" she had a couple of spectacular album successes and plenty of singles success, before disappearing (relatively speaking) from the scene - not entirely unconnected with marriage, child and drugs (at least if arrests for possession are anything to go by). After an absence, she reappeared a short while back, but the old magic that was there just ain't the same no more! It has therefore been a while since I checked out her music, so I willingly stuck my hand up to review this first BMG release through our hands.

    Certainly this lives up to the title of The Greatest Hits and the songs on offer pretty much are. For the record they are:

1. You Give Good Love   12. I Will Always Love You
2. Saving All My Love For You   13. I'm Every Woman
3. How Will I Know   14. I Have Nothing
4. Greatest Love Of All   15. Run To You
5. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)   16. Queen Of The Night
6. Didn't We Almost Have It All   17. Step By Step
7. So Emotional   18. Heartbreak Hotel
8. Where Do Broken Hearts Go   19. My Love Is Your Love
9. I'm Your Baby Tonight   20. It's Not Right But It's Okay
10. All The Man That I Need   21. I Learned From The Best
11. The Star Spangled Banner      

    Basically the songs can be divided into two categories here - the stuff up to and including the film The Bodyguard, which I know pretty well, and the stuff after, which I hardly know at all. On the basis of the evidence here, there is good reason for that. Even though the stuff here has a very mono-dimensional aspect to it (hint - the word love crops up very frequently), at least the earlier stuff had something in the way of musical quality to it. The later stuff is instantly recognizable as music of the nineties, which is a great shame as Whitney Houston does have a great voice and it would be nice to hear her give it full voice again. Obviously the highlights here are to return to music videos that I have not seen in so long it is not funny.

    A great voice, that earlier in her career was given full range with some fine material and it has all been brought together well on this lengthy collection of videos. Fans will certainly not require any urging to indulge in this and even casual fans of 1980s music will find many pleasant memories here.

Transfer Quality


    Apart from a couple of live performances, this collection comprises music videos made for promotional purposes. As such, the production values are not huge and I would hazard a guess that many were shot on video rather than film. As a result, it is unreasonable to expect the sort of quality we would demand from a recent feature film, which is thankful, as nothing here comes close to that at all. All things considered however, this is a decent enough transfer of the available source material. Since most, if not all, of these songs were recorded for television promotional purposes and for television shows, the aspect ratio of the transfer is Full Frame and not 16x9 enhanced.

    Since the age of the videos dates back as much as sixteen years, and they were made for television, the transfers are not exactly the sharpest you are ever likely to see. There are in the main quite decent, but really the overall impression is of a softness in the whole appearance of all but the very recent videos. Since they are not much more than promotional efforts for the singer, there is not a huge amount of detail here and that is precisely what I would expect. Clarity leaves a little to be desired and in general all the videos display various extents of grain. At its best, the grain is not too distracting though. Shadow detail is not much of an issue here, since the videos are generally shot in such a manner as to avoid such issues. There did not appear to be any serious low level noise issues in the transfer.

    The colours are not the most distinctive collection that you will ever see and display the sort of variance that would be anticipated in a collection of videos covering sixteen years. Some are decidedly muted and lacking in naturalness whilst others are quite saturated, bordering on oversaturation. Even the best videos though do not display much solidity in the colours, with blacks never quite seeming black and whites never quite seeming white. Overall, I would not consider this to be an especially vibrant collection. At times there was the indication of some oversaturation but nothing too serious. Colour bleed did not seem to be too much of an issue either.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Unfortunately there are problems with film-to-video artefacts (or rather video-to-video artefacts I guess), with some especially odd looking moiré/cross colouration-type artefacting in some striped shirts in I'm Your Baby Tonight and Step By Step. In a few places there are some issues with shimmer in the videos - most especially in Heartbreak Hotel, My Love Is Your Love and I Learned From The Best. Add into the mix some video artefacts including white interference lines and this is just a little disappointing at times.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD but I am unable to advise where the layer change is, as it could be in any of the short sequences between videos. The player goes into search mode after every video, so take your pick as to which one hides the layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The video transfer may be average, but it is more than made up for by the audio transfer! There are two soundtracks on offer on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is the default, but make sure you change the selection to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is the one I listened to after sampling the Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.

    The vocals come up very well in the transfer and there are no problems understanding them - although the lyric subtitles helped to clarify some of my long held questions about some of the lyric wordings. Unfortunately the audio sync in the transfer is not the best and in the case of two videos - All The Man That I Need and I'm Every Woman - is pretty woeful. Indeed, they almost looked as if the lyrics were completely different to the song being filmed. Part of the problem will probably be due to some rather shabby lip-synching.

    The 5.1 soundtrack is a good one though, with plenty of presence throughout the channels. Thankfully, the engineers managed to get the bass channel nicely balanced in the overall mix, with the one notable exception of Run To You that has some bass reverb problem, so we get a really nicely balanced soundscape with just enough oomph to the sound to let the rhythm out for a dance. If you want to crank this one up a little you will probably be well rewarded. There is not a huge amount of action out of the rear channels but it is enough to give the balance to the soundtrack. The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a nice effort too, but obviously lacks a lot of the body of the 5.1 soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Well, it looks like a huge extras package but what it boils down to is a bunch of additional music videos. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but you just wish for a bit more variety here. The really annoying thing here though is that there is no time encoding in any of the extras and all your DVD player will display is the rather useless message "play".


    Decent enough efforts with a reasonable amount of audio and animation enhancement.

Featurette - Whitney Houston DVD Interview

    Presented in a decent Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, it comes with decent Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Not too bad but it comes over in a manner that I find just a little egotistical. Probably just me.

Featurette - Clive Davis Interview

    Who the heck is he, you ask? President of Arista Records that's who. Also presented in a decent Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, it comes with decent Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Reasonably interesting.

Featurette - Home - Whitney's Premier Performance on the Merv Griffin Show

    Presented in a somewhat diffuse Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, it comes with a slightly murky sounding Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, probably reflecting its television origins more than anything else. Hardly the most auspicious debut (refer to the interview for the reason), but that voice starts to shine as the song goes on.

Featurette - Lover For Life - Live HBO Concert for South Africa

    Presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, it comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Decent enough but also a little diffuse.

Featurette - One Moment In Time - Live from 1989 Grammys

    Another television originated effort that is presented in a Full Frame format, not 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Again this is a little on the diffuse side.

Featurette - My Love Is Your Love (Making Of)

    A slightly more extended effort that presents an interesting enough, if somewhat self-praising, look at the songs on the album and their songwriters and how the album was put together. Add another half an hour onto the featurette and this would have been a pearler. Like all the other efforts on the DVD, it is presented in Full Frame format, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Featurette - Why Does It Hurt So Bad - Live from 1996 MTV Movie Awards

    Okay, same old story here too....

Featurette - My Love Is Your Love - Live from Mannheim, Germany

    More of the old story here too....

Music Video - Impossible from Cinderella

    Whilst billed as a music video, this is perhaps more for variety than anything else, as it really is just the excerpt from the film that contains the song. The presentation is much the same as everything else and it hardly is the most exciting thing I have ever seen.

Featurette - It's Not Right But It's Okay - MTV News - All Access

    This one does not even appear to be the whole song, but that is the only variety here....

Featurette - Behind The Scenes At Greatest Hits Photo Shoot

    Well, you will not need too many guesses as to what the presentation format is. About the only distinction here is the fact that this is technically the best video transfer on the DVD - bright and sharp in general. The content however is definitely in the filler mode and this really is quite boring.


    Just a collection of automated links to various websites as far as I can work out.

R4 vs R1

    As far as I can determine, there is no substantial difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases, which would make the call pretty even in this instance. I cannot imagine that the NTSC version is any better or worse than the PAL version.


    Whitney Houston - The Greatest Hits is precisely that. Fans will lap it up, whilst non-fans should find something to enjoy here. However, the video has some inherent problems that keep this pretty much in the solidly decent category, whilst the audio transfer is very good albeit marred by an audio sync problem at times. For a music DVD, the extras package is very good in quantity, but there really is not much here than I would consider essential. A decent enough start for BMG in Region 4.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
9th February 2001

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL