A week ago HDNet began showing Star Trek: Enterprise in HD. This makes it the sole source for any Star Trek TV in HD, as the new Trek Remastered is not being broadcast in HD (story). Since they currently have a monopoly on Trek in HD, TrekMovie.com contacted HDNet to see what is next and owner Mark Cuban himself answered our questions about the future of Trek on HDNet. Cuban tells TrekMovie.com that HDNet has spoken to CBS Paramount about the new Star Trek Remastered in HD but they are not interested in the show presently. Cuban did say he was open to HD version of other Trek series (like TNG) in HD if they become available, telling TrekMovie.com "It depends on the response to this series. If we find a lot of people are subscribing to HDNet to see Enterprise, we will of course look for more." But for the 10 Trek feature films in HD, Cuban is ready to go, telling TrekMovie "we are in discussions about them." Cuban and HDNet did not give any further details on when we might see the feature films in HD and our sources within Paramount and CBS are still trying to figure out where in the vast former Viacom empire deals with HDNet are struck.
But what masters will HDnet get?…especially for ST:TMP
One of the questions about HD versions of the 10 Trek films is related to exactly what masters would Paramount be providing to HD Net. Around 1999 the 10 Trek films got new HD transfers for their ‘special editions’ (on regular DVD) and to be broadcast in Europe in HD. HD versions of some of the Trek films have shown up on HBO/Showtime’s HD channels, but some HD enthusiasts have questioned the quality of the HD masters. One film that has already caused some HD controversy is Star Trek: The Motion Picture. After the first HD transfer of the film, director Robert Wise put together a special ‘Director’s Edition’ complete with many new edits and CGI effects which was released in 2001 on DVD. The problem according to David C. Fein, the producer of the Directors Edition, is that the ‘DE’ is not HD ready. Although only the Directors Edition is availble on DVD, Paramount have continued to provide only the ‘theatrical version’ in HD to broadcasters. "While the rushed theatrical version of the film does have historical significance, Star Trek: The Motion Picture is not Robert Wise’s completed version in any cut other than the Director’s Edition," says Fein. If any of the Trek films needs a proper HD transfer it would be the epic ST:TMP and Fein tells TrekMovie that it could easily be made HD ready. We hope that Paramount take this opportunity to give the Director’s Edition the full HD treatment.
And what about the HD DVDs?
In July of this year Bill Hunt of Digital Bits reported a rumor that Paramount Home Video was working on ‘The Ultimate Star Trek MovieCollection’ box set for HD. Hunt tells TrekMovie that he has since confirmed this rumor with Paramount, but that the box set won’t be available for at least a year. Regarding the masters Bill pointed out that many HD transfers done years ago (like those for the Trek movies) are proving insufficient for HD-DVD and BluRay, telling TrekMovie" originally the studios thought they could just transfer them, but due to the processes they used they are finding they have to redo them all over again". Hunt says that this issue with the masters is why it is taking much long to get libraries out then the studios originally had thought.
TrekMovie (and Digital Bits) are still investigating this story and hopefully will have more details on the future of Trek in HD soon.