HDNet Not Interested in Trek Remastered, Is Interested in Trek Movies

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.  



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Cuban is foolish to ignore Trek Remastered. Unless he is publicly stating this to gain leverage on paramount in ngotiating for the movies (“Sure, we’ll take those old episodes packaged with the Trek movies if we have to, but you’re gonna have to cut us a better deal first!”). In a year’s time, Trek fandom will be buzzing about the new movie set in the Original Series timeline, and there will be an improved market for those episodes as a consequence. I would suggest that Cuban get his hands on them now, before fan interest drives Paramount’s price upwards. I would start searching out HDNet if I knew the Original Trek was being broadcast. Come on, Mark, it’s a “slam dunk!”

Well – I thought they were exclusive to broadcast syndication for 2 years…did I get that wrong? so if that’s true he can’t have them if wanted them.

A practical reason why others wouldn’t get TOS Re-mastered for 2 years is the re-mastered episodes have yet to be completed. Even with all 79 episodes available, TOS is on the low end of minimum episodes needed to be scheduled 5 days a week. Another channel doing weekly showing would seem kind of redundant to the current syndication run.

What would be interesting, but unlikely, would be if PBS would take it, the way they take British series. PBS could show the uncut versions and got going on digital broadcasting ahead of a lot of commercial stations.

If I found HDNet might be worth subscribing to and I was on the fence about it, having TOS:Remastered would certainly seal the deal. If all they offered was TNG and later series in HD I wouldn’t bother since they were all edited on video ( I think) and the end result wouldn’t even be close to the gorgeous colors of 35mm TOS. Cuban is missing the boat…oh well, it’s his sandbox.

Well, since CBS is not providing HD copies to the local affiliates, maybe there is something brewing with HDNet. I think there’s room for both, especially seeing how in my market (NYC) the show airs at 2:40AM on Mondays. And even though I have yet to watch a Remastered episode (I have no Tivo, DVR) I have been watching my TOS DVDs almost daily, running through episodes and getting the nostalgia stirred up again. Yes, I’m thinking Cuban has room to negotiate for the “exclusive” HD broadcast rights if that’s what Paramount is willing to sell. Air the episodes one a week, and keep pace with the studio’s steady supply.

jonbec, one thing I want to add to your post– a correction in fact: TNG, DS9 and Voyager were all filmed on 35mm stock. “Enterprise” was the first show to move to HD-video, and I think that started with season 2. Even then, it probably looks very slick on an HD signal. But yes, the other Treks were all “filmed” as was the original. I jsut happen to like the original best, that’s why I’m not terribly concerned about the other shows in HD.

As others have stated, it’s unlikely that HDNet or any other national station would be interested until the the episodes were available in a “strip” — in other words, when all 79 or 80 are ready to go.

Meanwhile, I would LOVE to see the movies end up on HDNet or HDNet Movies. HBO butchers films by cropping or pan-and-scanning; only HDNet is consistent in their respect for OAR.

One more note…although the other Trek series (TNG/DS9/VOY) were filmed on 35mm and, in THEORY could make an easy transfer to HD, all of the opticals were done on SD video. (If you ever really look at a TNG episode, you’ll see it’s a mismash of film-source (telecined) and full 29.97fps video.) So there would definitely be more work than just a straight film->HD transfer.

One more correction…I really didn’t mean 29.97fps video; I meant ~60 fields/sec interlaced video.

Yes….its a HUGE lost opportunity for everyone providing that its handled right by all those concerned in the project from the CGI people doing the HD update to the broadcastors and those who handle the master – prints at Paramount – why not make a $$ – sell what the fans want and get it over with? Sure….TNG would be a smart and obviously easier print to update to
whats the fans may want and those at Paramount and the CGI people but who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?
Those in charge better wake up and smell the coffee while the interest is there….or rather here before the skillet get cold then who will want it then? They’ll have a tough sale then – perhaps..is that what they ultimately want?

By-Tor, thanks for the elaboration. Remind me to “thank” Rick Berman and his underlings at Paramount for their choices in opticals during the original run of TNG. Perhaps it was industry standard, but TNG was budgeted at over $1 million per episode, the least they could have done was master the films properly. It’s not like HD was some mysterious concept back in 1990.

Hi Adam, I had always heard that subsequent series, aside from Enterprise, were shot on 35mm and the prints were then, transferred to video, and edited into a final product. Apparently editing on video made it easier to work the FX into the show, and was more cost efficient…ultimately sacrificing the over all visual quality of the show. That is why the DVD’s dont have the quality of the original series, even though both were “remastered”. It will take someone with far more knowledge of the actual “behind the scenes” production than me to set the record straight, but that is what I have always heard. Not that I’m that worried, like you, TOS will always be my fav…after all it IS Star Trek! Cuban is crazy not to cash in on the hype…assuming he could negotiate some type of deal.

This is to Anthony and all the readers as well- Thank you for creating this place for us Trek fans to come and get news and discuss what’s coming next. I’ve been coming to this site for a few weeks now, lurking mostly, but I do appreciate the give-and-take with the other readers too. You are all courteous and likeable people (at least here, right?!). Ok, enough of the nice stuff, I just wanted to thank everyone for a positive experience.

PS Isn’t it nice that Trek fans have something “new” to talk about too? Phew! George Lucas took over the world for a few years it seemed. Him and Peter Jackson at least…

Like “fish and humans”, I believe Star Wars and Star Trek can co-exist peacefully, and indeed at one very special time in history circa early 80’s, they seemed to benefit from another and enjoy a semi-unified fanbase.
The real threat to the sci-fi, space fantasy genre is the more
whimsical fantasy oriented franchises – Harold Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc
Within the last 10 years or so unfortunately there has been a steady decline of interest in science fiction or space fantasy, and the audience that was there was filled by Episodes One through Three.
Young children today as a whole, don’t seem to be zipped away by the notion of space fantasy adventures, they are much more intrigued by Japanese monsters coming out of peoples pockets, sorcery, wizards, etc etc.
Nasa is suffering a similar public relations dilemma with no real societal interest in space flight.
In the natural ebb and flow of things, I think the next big interest in space will coincide with the next big Nasa/space related achievement .
Unfortunately, with the budget cuts Nasa has been forced to endure, the prospect of such is several years away at minimum.

^^^ addendum

Im describing primarily western culture, specifically the United States, as space fantasy/science fiction seems to be fairly popular in Japan, Europe,etc.

Adam: yeah, it was more or less industry standard. Jonboc more or less has it correct; because the spfx were shot on video, the bulk of the episode (which was filmed) was then transferred to video and edited, etc., there; to do it any other way would’ve been rather problematic. And while HD may not have been a completely alien concept, it was pretty close to one — NOBODY was thinking about mastering TV shows for future conversion to HD, and it would have been financially foolish to do so.

It’s certainly possible to remaster TNG/DS9/VOY for HD, but it’ll actually be more work than a straight remaster of TOS would be, and ultimately they may just re-do all of the effects scenes. We shall see.

I just can’t wait for the “purists” to come out and defend the TNG/DS9/VOY sfx shots that will have to be dumped for the HD transfer. Wow, imagine “The Best of Both Worlds” with all new effects! Very cool.

I’d be all for it. I don’t mind re-imaging — in fact, I’m in the camp that thinks the TOS remasters should have been more dramatic. I just don’t want to Lucasify them (change story elements, etc.). :)

Can we stop with the “Are they changing the story like Lucas did with Star Wars?” BS? Really, the Star Wars SEs didn’t change the story at all. Even the infamous Greedo scene has the exact same result: Greedo dies. Lucas takes the bad rap for revisionism but Ridley Scott and Spielberg were releasing special editions long before Lucas. And at the end of the day, Lucas is the one making changes to HIS movies, which is far different than a corporate entity revising material they acquired through a business merger in order to exploit it. This double standard is really annoying.

“Even the infamous Greedo scene has the exact same result: Greedo dies.”

YES, but Han shot FIRST! the SE didn’t change the outcome of the event, but it did change a fundamental aspect of Han’s character.

Think how you’d feel if all of a sudden Picard were to shoot to kill, rather than to simply disable an enemy ship?

It may be subtle (or not) but revisions of character do change the nature of the piece.

I think relegating Star Wars and Star Trek to some sort of quasi period peices for some sort of faux ill-percieved notions on artistic preservation is doing a tremendous disservice to both franchises.

Viability, relevance, and cutting edge have little to do with puritan ideologies on what constitutes art.
I like Star Trek and Star Wars, so therefore I want Star Trek and Star Wars to be pervasive and in my face.
These two fundamentally distinct science fiction/space fantasy epics have become mythic. They have transcended in every conceivable way the medium they were originally introduced in and intended for, and achieved a pop-culture relevance beyond a cancelled television series and sleep hit summer popcorn film.
Relegating Star Trek and Star Wars with a Smithsonian preservationist mentality to archival vintage relics of a bygone era status only ensures the death of popularity and relevance to both franchises.
I FULLY support ANY topical and superficial changes that add to the relevancy of these franchises. If that means polishing ALL of the special effects every 3 years for a new DVD release, well have it! I’m a consumer, and there is a demand, so supply the product!
The fallacy in logic among most puritan notions regarding these remastering/reissuing debates is that they hypocritically assume they are protecting “THEIR” Star Trek or Star Wars. As though their own personal investment in time and energy somehow gives them legal intellectual ownership of a property.
Star Trek belongs to me as well, and I prefer seeing the Starship Enterprise pristine, photo-realistic, and representative of advanced human technology. That requires updating 40 year old special effects.
I’m an artist. When Lucas discusses viewing earlier incarnations of his work as works in progress, limited by budgetary or time constraints, I understand what that means.
Special effects are defined and limited by the era in which they are produced.
Does anyone honestly think that if Gene Roddenberry had access to 21st century technology when producing Star Trek in ’66 he WOULDN’T have used it , in favor of the effects that WERE infact produced?
Let’s be realistic here. Star Trek and Star Wars embody the future, so they should by virtue of their concept be best represented BY the future, in this instance, the most advanced special effects techniques available.
I support the changes now, and I will support them in 10 year for the then “current” revamp.
The Bible has survived technological innovation, maintaining it’s core themes and concepts, Star Trek and Star Wars CAN’T?
Are we that limited in our scope of vision and inability to let go of the past?
In 20 years when and if holo-technology is cutting edge and mainstream, yes, I want to see holographic X-wings and holographic U.S.S Enterprises fighting the good fight.
I don’t know, call me progressive.

“YES, but Han shot FIRST! the SE didn’t change the outcome of the event, but it did change a fundamental aspect of Han’s character.”

No, this is the narrative that bitter fans have generated for themselves. Whether Han gets a shot off first, second, or, as in the current version, virtually simultaneously, doesn’t matter. It’s still a western style gunfight where the bad guy falls over in the dust and the good guy walks cooly away. The notion that there is a “fundamental” change in Han is ridiculous and the reaction to it says far more about the “fans” than it does Geoge Lucas. As Josh very intelligently pointed out, “The fallacy in logic among most puritan notions regarding these remastering/reissuing debates is that they hypocritically assume they are protecting “THEIR” Star Trek or Star Wars. As though their own personal investment in time and energy somehow gives them legal intellectual ownership of a property.” I think that’s really the fundamental issue in complaints about the Star Wars SEs and, to a lesser extent, Trek remastered: what I call the idea of “collective ownership”. Fans have invested so much of their time and energy into supporting and following these franchises that they’ve feel they have rights to influence creative decisions. In the case of Han/Greedo, it’s not so much that Greedo shot first as it is “How DARE George Lucas change it so Greedo shot first!” George Lucas is often demonized among some “fans” for daring to retain creative control over HIS work. I often hear “fans” complain about Lucas not being “respectful” of the original — which really means respectful to THEM and THEIR wishes. I applaud Lucas everytime he makes a change to his material. Art is constantly changing. Even a painting hanging on a wall goes through an evolution of perception based on how its presented and the context of the time in which people view it. I’m with Josh on this one: “I support the changes now, and I will support them in 10 year for the then “current” revamp.” Right on!

I can’t wait till the people who want to rewrite film and TV history just so they get a prettier picture start pushing for Metropolis to have all CGI SFX, or for Boris Karloff’s makeup on Frankenstein to be “improved” just because we have new toys to play with.

And I just love how the term “purist” is now being spit out the same way people were spitting out the terms “basher” and “gusher” with contempt in every other conversation about Enterprise a few years ago.

The point that appears to be missed here is the clear implication that the older footage is simply bad simply because the technology did not exist to make HD-quality programs back in 1966.

Personally I’m getting so fed up with the argument that I’m going to start advocating a truly radical idea: that once HDTV takes over completely, every show produced prior to 2000 is not only to be retired, but all the tapes wiped and the prints burned. After all, no one wants to see 1960s-style special effects anymore, right?

But see thats the problem and fundamental dilemma AI – the radical extremism.

“Purists” don’t allow for experimentation of oppurtunity before condemning the notion of change. Their rejection is immediate and unequivocal.

ANY subjective or arbitrary alterations to an aged work should ALWAYS be on a case by case basis.

Your analogy of “Metropolis” and “Frankenstien” isn’t applicable or relevant. I don’t know of very many people even familiar with Metropolis with the exception of film buffs or film historians, and Frankenstein is simply much easier to remake completely in an entirely different film. Additionally, those two works never achieved the iconic status of a Star Trek or Star Wars. I suppose you could argue Frankenstien did, but again it’s much easier to simply make a new film, which Universal repeatedly did infact.

The point here is to try to make these franchises continually viable and cutting edge, which often times is synonymous.
Frankly, no one gives a rats rear about Metropolis, yet people care about Star Trek and Star Wars.

Substitution and improvement are two vastly different intentions.

The intention here I believe on the part of the team is to improve Star Trek, not replace it or alter it. I think they are succeeding magnificently.

“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.”

Showing Enterprise to guage interested in TOS? WTF?

Yet another TV exec who’s clueless about ST.

Well this is odd.

I recall reading that TMP:DE was in fact mastered to 720P upon completion.

Now they’re saying they don’t have it?

Correct me if I’m wrong but how can this statement be true: “Around 1999 the 10 Trek films got new HD transfers for their ’special editions’ “.

I thought that Star Trek Nemesis was relesed 13 December 2002 and being the 10th movie the statement seems to be in error, ’cause the move had not yet been relesed when the so called HD transfers were suppose to have been made.