Tour de France 2008: The Complete Highlights (2008)
|Year Of Production||2008|
|Running Time||548:30 (Case: 558)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I recently reviewed the new 11 disc box set called Le Tour de France - The Ultimate Collection 2003-2007 from Madman Entertainment. This 2008 set is the second original release of Le Tour through Madman, following the 2007 race. All other years were previously released through Roadshow but have been re-released through Madman. As with the 2007 set each stage is 25 or 26 minutes rather than the previous 10-15 minutes. Accordingly it is spread over three discs rather than two.
As has been the case over the last two or three years the race was wide open from start to finish with many riders winning stages and wearing the yellow jersey at some point in the race. One striking feature of this years race is the amount of rain.
The race itself is made up of 21 stages spread over 3 weeks which this year kicked off in Breton. Each stage is very different and they include hard slogs up mountains, time trials, 200Km+ flat out racing and all sorts of combinations. Each stage has its own winner and for many riders this is an achievement of a lifetime, in fact some riders try for years just to get accepted into one of the teams and start in the great race. In total the riders cover over 3500 kilometres. There were some rule changes for this year including the removal of the prologue stage and the cancellation of the time bonuses system.
In terms of the overall race, there are four main categories, overall, climbs, sprints and youth. The overall classification is won by the person with the lowest total time over the 21 stages. The person leading this competition each day gets to wear a yellow jersey signifying they are in the lead, but at the end of the day if they are no longer in the lead they must relinquish it. The climb classification is a prize for the best mountain climber in the tour and points are awarded in the various climbs included in most stages. The leader here gets to wear a red polka dot jersey. The sprint competition is similar except that points are awarded for pre-designated sprint portions of each stage. The best sprinter in each of these gets points which go toward the final classification win. In this case a green jersey is worn by the leader. The best young rider gets the white jersey.
As mentioned above, the coverage is expanded in this set compared to previous (over 9 hours in total) with more race highlights, some documentary sections and more magnificent photography of the beautiful scenery. The quality of the photography is improved in this coverage. Disappointingly the menus are not as interesting and do not feature stage maps or text versions of the results as they have in previous years. In fact this year, the extras have disappeared completely. Another slightly annoying feature is that each day's coverage includes highlights of the previous day, which you have probably just watched. However, the chapter stops are well placed allowing you to easily skip forward to that day's action should you desire to do so.
Overall, this set features excellent coverage of a competitive race.
The video quality is very good but somewhat restricted by the nature of the source material.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which would be the original aspect ratio or close to it. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, despite some graininess. There was some macro-blocking especially during fast motion although I think this was from the source material considering the healthy bitrate of the transfer. Shadow detail is fairly irrelevant as most shots are in strong daylight.
The colour was generally very good with no colour artefacts. Strangely there were some sections where the colour became a little dull.
From an artefacts perspective, there was quite a bit of minor aliasing especially during helicopter shots and some pixelation especially from motorbike shots.
There are no subtitles.
The layer changes were not noticeable and must have been placed between stages.
The audio quality is good.
This DVDs contain one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.
Commentary was clear and easy to understand.The music was funky never overpowered the action.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras this year!
The menu was simpler than previous efforts with a still picture and the ability to either play all or choose stages.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This set is only available in Region 4.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is good.
The set has no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|