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Monday, April 21, 2008

BBC Natural Histroy Collection DVD Review

BBC Natural History Collection

Today, we finish a massive undertaking in finally reviewing the recently released BBC Natural History Collection made by the BBC and distributed by Warner Brothers. This package collects some of the most well known natural history documentaries made by the BBC including Planet Earth, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, The Life of Mammals, and The Life of Birds. Normally, most of these sets retail for nearly $60-$100 apiece. The excellent and reasonably priced collection can be found on Amazon for only $180, which even if you were able to get each set at bargain prices, the Natural History Collection is still nearly a $60 dollar savings. It’s an excellent way to experience the world around us and the creatures that inhabit it; if you live in a crowed city, it’s always wonderful to see just how much of the world is still lush, vibrant, and wild. This collection is a wonderful purchase for nature lovers, schools, and people who just love watching wonderful visuals. I can actually attest to the second point as students for Earth Day at the Robert E. Lamberton Public School in Philadelphia are watching Planet Earth from our box set that we loaned out to the school.

Video: All of the shows (which combined is roughly 33 hours) with the exception of Life of Birds (which is nearly ten years old) is in anamorphic widescreen and looks wonderful. The Life of Birds is in its original full screen aspect ratio. All of the shows are wonderful and a joy to watch visually and experience the beauty of the Earth. It sparks the imagination as you see the opening of Planet Earth and the emergence of a polar bear from hibernation with her new cubs, just how a creature can sleep for months with no food except what it stored up. The picture is clean, clear, and free of any print damage of any sort. Despite the extreme running times on these DVDs, there is no compression artifacts or any other digital defects.

Audio: All of these shows give your audio system a workout as they were filmed with some of the most advanced sound equipment. The specs will vary with each set, but you will get a clear and immersive sound environment that makes you feel like you are there watching the action as it unfolds instead of just watching it on your television.

Extras: You may be expecting this set to be a simple repackaging of older releases for a lower price; well you would be wrong in that case. To list all of the extras would be an exhaustive process. However, the extras that appear are quite substantial including episodes of related shows that did not appear on the original DVD release.

Overall: This is a wonderful set for those who love nature and those who want to spread that love to others (friends, children, students), and the BBC makes a double dip for some an easy choice by putting all of their best documentaries together, with new extras, and for a very reasonable price. If you have the interest and the money, this is a must buy.

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