Rumor: CBS Moving Forward With Star Trek: TNG In HD Project?

The remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD is something that has been talked about ever since CBS gave the original Star Trek series the HD treatment in 2006. Now a new rumor has surfaced that CBS is moving forward on the project. Details below.


Rumor: TNG in HD project moving forward?

The latest news of Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD comes from our friend Bill Hunt at Digital Bits, who has a "Rumor Mill" post which cites sources "hinting that TNG Remastered IS moving forward." According to the report this remastered TNG would first show on Netflix in the fall (in addition to their TNG SD offering) and possibly on EPIX as well. TrekMovie recently reported that Netflix had confirmed that all seven seasons of TNG will begin streaming in July in standard definition, with only the Star Trek original series and Enterprise available in HD.

Digital Bits report also states:

We believe a high-definition film scan of The Next Generation is very likely in the cards for the entire series run, along with the requisite digitally-upgraded effects. Of course, in addition to syndication and streaming, the end result of all this might be a Next Generation: Remastered Blu-ray release down the line.

TrekMovie has not yet been able to confirm this report, however we have previously reported that CBS has been considering a remastered TNG project for years. We first reported on this from Comic Con 2007 when CBS revealed they had done tests on an "upresed" version of TNG. And last Summer CBS’s VP of Consumer Products John Van Citters told TrekMovie confirmed that there were still conversations going on at CBS about TNG-R, but he noted that, at the time, there was no specific plan or budget for the project. It is worth noting that it took CBS two years to remaster all three seasons of original Star Trek, so if a project has started using similar techniques, it is hard to imagine it could deliver all seven seasons of TNG in HD by the fall
of this year.  

Last summer Van Citter stated that there were significant technical issues that made remastering TNG in HD more problematic than remastering the original Star Trek series. One of the main issues is that the special effects for TNG were done in video, and redoing all the effects would be much more expensive than with the TOS Remastered project. Mike Okuda, who was one of the producers for 2006-2008 project to remastered the original Star Trek series, once told TrekMovie a particularly problematic issue is with the USS Enterprise D bridge screen. Unlike the original series, characters often stood or walked in front of the screen and so to swap out new digital effects, they would have to manually rotoscope out all the moving actors. However, last summer CBS’ Van Citers also noted that he was "optimistic" CBS would eventually figure out how to deliver Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD.

Shot from  pilot "Encounter at Farpoint" shows how live action and effects shots are more often intertwined in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" – making it harder to remaster in HD

If the DigitalBits rumor is true, then it could be that CBS has resolved the technical (and financial) issues for TNG-R. TrekMovie asked CBS to respond to this report, but we were told  they have no comment on rumors. We are also awaiting a response from Netflix, but a source at EPIX cast doubt on their being involved as they currently don’t have a deal with CBS and only show movies (not TV shows).

TrekMovie will keep an eye on this potentially very exciting project.


POLL: Want your HD TNG?

If Star Trek: The Next Generation were made avaialble in HD would you watch in streaming (on Netflix or, would you buy it on iTunes or plunk down for Blu-ray box sets? Or you happy with TNG in SD.




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First……………This is a great idea. Too bad they can’t fix the somewhat lacking scripts that made up a bulk of season 1.

I would so love to see TNG Remastered on Blurey. Would love to see the Best of both worlds Remastered and Yesterdays Enterprise along with so many others. Would be so sweet. Come on CBS. Get on this.

I was just thinking about this the other day. The SyFy reruns the last couple weeks have looked… significantly sharper, than in the past. Maybe they’ve been testing upconverts.

Or more likely my memory is faulty.

Hoping this goes forward, but there seem to be significant challenges involved. If it works, I wonder if they’ll also do a dvd release to coincide with blu-ray (like with TOS Remastered).

I would love to see an HD edit.

Put that Blu-Ray player on my PS3 to good work.

All I can say is, I loved TOS-R and I would love a TNG-R. Get rid of all those old model shots and updated everything!! Better looking ships, the whole nine yards. This is what TNG needs!! Please let this be true! I can’t wait.

The most fundamental problem with doing TNG in HD is that the entire series was shot on film but mastered on SD videotape, like most series of that era. The original negatives would have to be digitized, and then recut exactly the way they were originally. And all that has to happen before they even think about the FX. It would take years and cost millions. Sounds like a longshot but I’m there if they pull it off!

The FX in Best of Both World ALWAY bothered me, Especially the final battle.

I don’t understand why they’d have to manually rotoscope for viewscreen scenes. Weren’t those scenes filmed in front of a blue screen, and then the effects were added in video? If they work with the camera negative it’s the same as inserting the effect in the first place. The only reason for talking about rotoscoping would be if they’re not going back to the camera negative but plan to up-res the video master and replace effects. That would not be a true HD product.

I’m confused. Do they really need to rotoscope live action scenes with effects? Do they not have the original blue/green screen film shots anymore? If that is the case, then how can the live action parts be converted to HD, since the effects were composited with video?

#9 Magic_Al

Good point. The upres they did of the DS9 tribbles episode for the TOS set was atrocious. Those masters didn’t look good in SD, and the upres only amplifies the problems.

The TNG DVD prices have always been too high (a brand new show is 30 bucks and they are still charging 50 or 60 bucks per season for TNG?), so if the trend is the same with the Blu-Rays I don’t think I would buy all the seasons on Blu-Ray. But I absolutely would download my favorites in HD on iTunes. They definitely need the remastering, the quality on the DVDs and on re-runs is pretty poor. I’m a little confused if it really would be that difficult to do, I wonder if its just an excuse. Maybe it would be more difficult than bringing TOS into HD, but it couldn’t be THAT much more difficult.

I would buy it if they would stop price gouging. Box sets of TNG, Voy, and DS9 are still selling for 65-80 bucks a season, while season boxes of other popular sci-fi shows like SG1, Atlantis, BSG are in the 30-40 range.

There is absolutely no reason why the season sets need to be that expensive.

GREAT! …I love TNG!

:-) :-)

PLEASE BE TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wait why wouldn’t they go back to the blue screen components in order to insert new hi-res images in the view screen? Surely blue screen removal is easier than cutting out all the actors. On the other hand I would like to see them remove the black cardboard on the science stations in the first 2 seasons.

#8, i totally agree with you. The story was strong but, the effects could have been better. “Fire all weapons” from both episodes were identical. Plus the Borg cutting beam only shook the ship but, those damn lights never flickered. lol.

Sure! I’d be on board for this!

Hey TNG is so deserving of this….I hope it happens, and yeh re-doing special effects for numerous episodes would be a plus.

DS9 in HD!

Yes yes yes, oh god please yes.

To go back and redo all the effects. this will be one of the ultimate tributes to the visual library.

I purchased the TOS series as well as both movie box sets on blu-ray the day they came out. The new effects, clear images (there still are a few rough frames, no big deal) brilliant rich color, watching TOS over again has never been such a treat.

In my opinion DS9, YOV, and ENT do not need the special effect redone they hold up very well. The only thing these three series need are a proper transfer to the HD blu-ray – and digital download – format.

I am surprised Enterprise has no made it to blu-ray yet as it would be the most easy to transfer, and I believe it was the last season which was filmed digital? I want to see the film to digital difference in HD. My eyes can pick up subtle cues.

DS9 in HD! ditto
#20 you read my mind, and beat me to the post.

I dont get why the live/action comp shots would need rotoscoping unless the original blue screen footage was lost. If it’s still present and the original SFX reel is present too all they need to do is use comping software, even the cheapest home version can pick a colour from a frame and say “swap this colour with that image”.

If they are going to do it, I hope they do it right and not try to cut corners.

By that, I mean Full HD from the film negative and not upressed conversions; widescreen from the negative if possible, and good effects not hamstrung by weekly time constraints or basement budgets.

Also, I want to be able to see the difference in HD quality. Why bring up the quality of the material, only to have it available only via streaming, where the quality also depends on the viewers internet connection? So if the consumer has a poor connection, they only get to see a watered down stream comparable to a dvd experience. What would be the point of that? In order to see the quality stream, they would have to upgrade their connection and pay more. Who would do that?

Itunes HD downloads make sense. Blu-rays make sense. Streaming only doesn’t make sense. It would have to be in conjunction with the other pathways to work.

In addition, by upgrading their product, CBS is giving new life to TNG in todays HD world. Because frankly, the new standard *is* high definition. Anything less would be.. uncivilized, as might be said in some old TV advert.

I CANT WAIT! But I want DS9 too!

calql8 nailed the problem they have likely been having converting this series to high def. The Original Series was shot and edited on film making a transfer to HD a far easier process. TNG, on the other hand, was shot on film but all of the opticals were shot on SD video. The video was then transferred back to film when the masters were created and it was painfully obvious even then that effects looked a bit subpar. Had they actually been shot on film the series would have had a far different look and creating HD masters would have been part of a fairly routine process.. It wasn’t until later seasons that they had finally figured out how to shoot sharp looking visual effects with miniatures on video.

Because the original filmed elements still exist it’s possible that the filmed elements and the elements shot on video may be tackled separately and then made whole again. Assuming this approach is taken this is likely to be a very time consuming and expensive process.

DS9 and Voyager should be an interesting challenge since both started out primarily with miniatures and then moved on to CGI for all visuals (and the effects on both series in later seasons were fantastic). Unaware if the CG was produced in HD or we could be looking at the same situation that plagued the new visuals that were produced for TMP (low res, SD).

A bit of trivia, if you look at GENERATIONS there is one popular stock shot that’s lifted from the first season of TNG. It looks a bit soft compared to the rest of the visuals but it was a relatively simple effect and looks OK.

#21 voyager isn’t as bad as ds9, but ds9 has too much CGI rendered in 480 (or about 480) making all the SFX completely worthless to blu-ray. I would estimate at least 30-40% of DS9 SFX footage must be replaced no matter what. Voyager probably on 15%.
Enterprise was done “properly” from day 1 and shouldn’t need any work short of boxing it up and selling it.
With that said I would like to own all 28 season of star trek on blu-ray.

i’d love to see a remasted version of TNG also wouldn’t mind seeing DS9 in HD as well

They will not redo 7 seasons of fx. No way. They are looking at ways to upres the existing fx.

That would be so cool if they did a brand new much more credible looking NG Enterprise with this project. No more of the ridiculous fat guppy with the paint scheme that make it looks like they can’t decide on what silver to use in the 24th century.

I’ve been wanting TNG in HD for a long time now.. should blu-ray editions be released, I would be quick to buy them. :)

Could they edit out the technobabble, and maybe edit in some DRAMA??

Maybe have the A-story get as much screen time as the B-story?

Maybe not have every crisis resolved in the last 5 minutes with some magic maneuver unrelated to the story?

THAT, I’d pay for.

I’d much prefer an HD Deep Space Nine, not only because I like the show more but because those space battles in the second half would be ridiculously awesome in 1080p. (Of course, given how they were rendered, they’d probably be pretty costly.)

Of course… I recognize that TNG is the much more well-known show and I do like it just fine. So maybe after this goes through I can wonder if DS9 will get the same treatment for five years and then happily purchase it when finally it does.

“Make it so!”

Hell Yes !

Would love to see some remastering of DS9. Would love to see more of the Dominuion War with new Fx.

I’m up for it if they can remaster ‘Code of Honor’. And by remaster, I mean delete from history.

As a big fan of Next Gen, I’m super excited for this.

I was thinking about getting Netflix when I read they would be putting Trek on it, but now I’m almost certainly going to.

This could mean we could get to see remastered DS9 in a few years :)

Riker looks HUGE in that picture!

An HD version for ST: TNG isn’t quite necessary as the visual effects and quality in the show are already modern enough for Sci-Fi live-action as it is. No need to re-enhance this classic show. Well, that’s my opinion by the way.

Weren’t they doing something like this with Babylon Five?

If they do this, then I hope… for the love of God, that they make MORE shots so we don’t have the same several passes of the Enterprise in every episode. Maybe some different battle footage for Best of Both Worlds at the VERY least.

I believe many of the (at least earlier) special effects (read: model) sequences were shot on film, not on video. It was the compositing and editing that took place on video.

If they are going to create entirely new visual effect shots, they should really try to get Gabriel Koerner on the team.



Really? The visual effects have not aged well at all. Especially from the first 3 or 4 seasons. I’d think a kid watching it now would view it similarly to how kids in the 80s probably viewed the TOS effects.

If the original film elements are there it can be done just long process- some elements of the effects would have to be re-created but shouldnt be that hard.

If the film is lost & its just the video masters then thats the end of that.

Why don’t they release Ent & the annimated series in high def now to fill the time?

#41: There has been heavy talk within the Babylon 5 community to have this done to the series. The episodes were all shot on film (and in 16×9 widescreen). The episodes have all the original non-composite film shots (where effects were added). The “problem” is that WB lost all the effects shots. What their original plan was consisted of them taking the original wireframe digital effects they produced from 1993-1998 and run all the effects though again with higher textures and pixel counts (and in widescreen). Without those original files, the process is “too expensive” for a show that has probably sold nearly a billion dollars on DVD (if the figures of $600 million seasons 1-4 box sets sold way back in 2005-2006 are accurate).

Perhaps if the TNG one is successful, WB could at least make the plunge with doing either “select” episodes (Stargate Atlantis did this with a double-dip “fan” box set exclusive to blu a year or two before the series release was announced) or do some or all of the 6 TV-movies first. I’ll take all I can get here.

#44: I agree with you that the effects themselves probably haven’t aged much, but the models used are pretty phenomenal. If they have the original model shots in film form, they’re all set. They simply need to key in the “effects” and they should be golden.

Of course they’ll need the native film of the live action, this should eliminate any need for rotoscoping since I thought they keyed in all that in post (on video). If they did some kind of rear projection, then yeah, it’ll be more tricky.

In Best of Both Worlds Pt II, there’s the scene where Captain Riker gets the call that the fleet had engaged the Borg. Cut to commercial and it cuts in with the Enterprise D arriving at the debris field at Wolf 359.

What I wanna see, is where that commercial break originally was, I’d like them transition from Riker hearing that the fleet engaged the Borg to a short extended scene where it actually shows the battle. Maybe a minute or so of straight Starship combat. Is that too much to ask for? :)

This isnt the only show shot like this if there is going to be a future of retro tv on hd the studio’s better get this sorted out & deal with it.


We got to see some of the battle during the opening scenes of “Deep Space Nine” premier episode, “Emissary”.

And besides, I think it works better the way it is in “Best Of Both Worlds”, as the audience was following Riker and the Enterprise. It would take the audience out of “being” with the characters.

Great idea!!! This would be totally awesome. And they should do DS9 and Voyager as well and release Enterprise on Blu ray!

Top five series I would love to have a TOS style remastering in HD:

5: Star Trek Voyager
4: Star Trek Deep Space Nine
3: Stargate SG-1
2: Star Trek The Next Generation
1: Babylon 5 (would rock if they gave it Battelstar Galactica style visuals, imagine B5’s awesome story with BSG’s visual effects!