Universe (1999)

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Released 6-Jan-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 200:12
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Hurt
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    As you may have noticed from previous reviews, I am a fan of documentaries and enjoy watching them generally. Unfortunately, this 1999 English documentary series left me very cold indeed. I found it overly serious and self important and not very accessible for the casual viewer. Obviously, based on the title the show focuses on the universe around us. It includes four episodes of 50 minutes, each one focusing on a different aspect of the universe. The episodes are made up of commentary by John Hurt over computer graphics and images from space, along with interviews with famous scientists including Stephen Hawking.

    The four episodes are:

  1. Big Bang - Investigates where and when the universe started.
  2. Stars - How stars are born and how they die, including what the future holds for our Sun.
  3. Planets - How planets are formed.
  4. Alien Life - Focuses on the search for extraterrestrial life

    This series would be of more interest to people with a specific interest in the subject area rather than for people who want to get an introduction to the subject.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good but not without issue.

    The feature is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Some sections of the show were a little grainy but generally it wasn't too bad.

    The colour was generally very good although I did notice some cross-colouration.

    Artefacts included some macro-blocking on fast moving scenes, some specks on archive footage and some little bits of aliasing on car grilles and the like.

    There are yellow subtitles in English. They were clear and easy to read.

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


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 320 Kb/s.

    Dialogue and narration were clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music by Roger Bolton is very grand and epic, fitting nicely with the very superior tone of the show.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu was very simple allowing the user to select episodes, scenes and subtitles.

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 any evidence that this disc is available outside of Region 4.The disc is coded for all regions.


    A reasonably tedious documentary series about the universe which is not overly accessible for the casual viewer.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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