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Where to find best picture quality for Road to Avonlea?

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2 months 2 weeks ago #34 by Michael G
I am puzzled by the grainy picture quality of the Road To Avonlea DVD sets. The claim of "HI-DEF Digital Restoration" seems like false advertising. Sullivan Entertainment charges a premium for their offerings so I can't imagine they were knowingly cutting corners. Has there been an explanation for why viewing RTA is like looking through a pane of glass? Are there current formats of the series that resemble HD quality?

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #35 by timothy
My understanding is that the series was never filmed in HD so there can never be a "true" HD restoration. The best we can hope for is that the series is cleaned up as best as possible.

In a September 2005 chat at the now defunct Avonlea Message Boards, Sullivan responded to a question regarding the inferior DVD quality and the difference between the seasons in quality:

Disney has exactly the same source materials we do in creating DVDs. I have much debate on this subject. Their digi-betas are clones of ours. I think the debate on DVD quality has to do with the fact that even though the show was shot on film it was mastered on 1-inch analog tape in the early seasons. Unless all of the film that was shot for seasons 1-4 was completely re-duplicated digitally, the quality that you see on the current DVDs is really the best that the show will ever look. Season 5-7 were mastered digitally and have a completely different look. However, please note, the Avonlea movie was also mastered digitally and has a quality of the later seasons. Please have a look at it and you will see what I mean.


Despite Sullivan's claim that the quality is the "best that the show will ever look," they were improved since the first DVD releases.

Original 2005 DVD release:


2009 DVD release ( from Lifestories91 Road to Avonlea reviews ):


Original 2005 DVD release:


2019 Gazebo TV Comparison:


For the early DVD releases, I always considered HD to mean "Highly Degraded." I was very disappointed that the first DVD release was so grainy with VHS style quality.
Last edit: 2 months 1 week ago by timothy.

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2 months 1 week ago #37 by mseevers
OMG was that released? It looks like Sully just copied some old VHS tape onto a DVD. That is really really bad.

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #43 by timothy
It still bothers me that the set was released in that condition. Sullivan describes the restoration process of removing dirt frame-by-frame in this 2009 wide-screen release feature (It starts around the 3 minute mark). It contradicts the claim that the 2005 edition was the best we we're going to get.

Last edit: 2 months 1 week ago by timothy.

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