...at least so far.

Last week, during the course of ODeck regular FrankN.Stein's AMA, lightninglouie mentioned hearing about a German TV channel, ProSieben Maxx, airing older X-Files episodes in HD and the 16:9 format. An HD remastering, particularly of pre-fifth season episodes, was definitely exciting to hear about and inspired a discussion between lightninglouie and myself about what's known so far with regard to just how much of an improvement there allegedly is.

Let's start with the link to the blu-ray.com forum that lightninglouie provided which is here.

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Overall, I found the blu-ray forum examples less than stellar and for some, a bit problematic.

Example #1:

Note that we definitely have more visual information on the horizontal plane and this is looking promising.

Standard definition 4:3 vs. ZMAXX HD 16:9

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Example #2:

Neither "stretched" or "zoomed in" seem appropriate, but I'm not seeing either additional visual info or an improvement resolution-wise in this example.

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Standard def in 4:3 vs. ZMAXX HD in 16:9

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Next, we'll take a look at a comparison found on a blog called The Wertzone. I don't know what episode this example is supposed to be from, so feel free to chime in [ETA it's from the pilot], but it definitely illustrates a much better example of what I'd expect a remastered version to look like.

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Now that's a big difference! Go here for a convenient mouse-over comparison of the above images.

As both lightninglouie and The Wertzone pointed out, at least some TV shows in the 1990s actually filmed in the widescreen format as they anticipated that would soon be the common format. And apparently, even the early X-Files seasons were shot in the widescreen format, but the irregularities in the blu-ray forum examples made me wonder. I particularly didn't like how the vertical information seemed to be chopped in the 16:9 examples, but I realized later that was probably quite common and normal. The Trek BBS site provided an illustration of how the remastering was done for Star Trek: TNG and how the same process was likely used for the X-Files.

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So when will those of us who don't live in Germany or have access to the ProSieben Maxx channel get to see The X-Files in HD goodness? This is what The Wertzone had to say as of January of this year:

No timeframe has been given for the release of The X-Files on Blu-Ray, but it seems like it's a safe bet for later this year. It's also rather unclear why Fox have slipped the show out on German TV like this before confirming a US release date.