Lonely Planet: Best in Asia (2011)

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Released 7-Nov-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Travel None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 295:27 (Case: 299)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor
Beach House Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Utt
Fiona Xie
Mohini Sule
Oli Pettigrew
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Aaron D’Arcy
Nicole Skeltys
Byron Scullin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Lonely Planet website invited travellers to nominate their most exciting Asian travel experiences in 12 categories. The result is Lonely Planet Best in Asia. Hosted by Utt, three Lonely Planet reporters, Fiona Xie, Mohini Sule and Oli Pettigrew road test travellers’ suggestions in 12 episodes. In the 13th episode, they count down their best 5, culminating in the naming of their top travel experience in Asia. I must say that I like my travel reports humorous, informative and sensible. Unlike other Lonely Planet travel shows I have watched, this one at times is silly, with freeze frame and slow motion camera tricks, and some especially annoying antics from Utt and Fiona Xie. But that may just be me. Lonely Planet Best in Asia is a two disc set, with episodes 1-7 on disc 1 and the remainder on disc 2.

     The episodes are :

Disc 1

Disc 2

     Lonely Planet Best in Asia promises that they scoured Asia for “its most exciting and inspiring travel adventures” and I guess the nature of this show, where travellers nominate their best holiday activities and destinations, is not going to get agreement from everyone as “the best in Asia”. Indeed, a lot of the adventures and destinations are quite predictable and repetitive. Of the 36 adventures in the series Bali is included 5 times, Western Australia 6 times, Hong Kong 6 times, Bangkok 5 times; thus 22 of the 36 adventures are in 5 places. Asia is a huge and diverse place, but in this “best of” Japan and the Indian subcontinent are not mentioned (Taj Mahal or the beaches of Sri Lanka or diving off the Maldives anyone?) while China apparently is only Beijing, which gets 4 adventures, the rest of China (which includes Xian and the Great Wall) ignored. Australian adventures seem to start and finish at the near the Margaret River in Western Australia, no Central Australia here.

     If Hong Kong, Bangkok, Bali or the Margaret River region hold your interest the series works, others looking for more off the beaten track stuff might look elsewhere. In addition some of the presentation of this series at times is annoyingly silly. There are some things of interest here but this is not the best, or most varied, Lonely Planet travel series I have seen. Best in Asia? I don’t think so.

     Note that there are outtakes at the end of each episode, some quite funny.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Lonely Planet Best in Asia is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which I suspect is the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     There are 13 episodes with different directors of photography. However, the footage is consistently good with only a little variation in sharpness, colour, contrast and brightness. Colours are generally natural, blacks good, skin tones accurate. Part of each episode is video footage sent in by travellers, which is of lesser quality. Other than slight ghosting with motion against some backgrounds, I did not see any obvious artefacts.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in an easy to read white font that follows the narration almost word for word in the portion I sampled. When non-English is spoken, or the speaker has a heavy accent, English subtitles automatically translate the words.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 192 Kbps. It was perfectly adequate for a television series.

     The episodes are mostly voice over narration with a bit on extra dialogue. This narration was always clear and easy to understand, and when English was spoken by some non-native speakers the subtitles appeared. I noticed some music and effects in the rear speakers but no sub-woofer use. Not that the series needed either.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

    The music is credited to Aaron D’Arcy, Nicole Skeltys, Byron Scullin and Big Ears Audio. In truth, there is not a lot of music used in the series.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I cannot find a release of Lonely Planet Best in Asia listed in other region.

Summary

     The Lonely Planet website invited travellers to nominate their most exciting Asian travel experiences in 12 categories. The result is Lonely Planet Best in Asia. A lot of the destinations and adventures are quite predictable and repetitive. While there are some things of interest, this is not the best, or most varied, Lonely Planet travel series I have watched.

     The video and audio are fine. There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, November 05, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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