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 CBS.com), would you buy it on iTunes or plunk down for Blu-ray box sets? Or you happy with TNG in SD.