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Planet Earth Blu-ray

United States
The Complete Series BBC | 2006 | Season 1 | 550 min | Not rated | Apr 24, 2007

Planet Earth (Blu-ray)

Codec: VC-1
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1

English: Dolby Digital 5.1

English SDH, French, Spanish

25GB Blu-ray Disc
Four-disc set (4 BDs)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region free

List price: $99.98, Price history

Amazon: $33.50 (Save 66%)
Best Buy: $79.99 (Save 20%)  

New from: $27.75 (Save 72%)
Fulfilled by Amazon

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TV show rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 4.5 of 54.5
Audio 3.4 of 53.4
Extras 1.0 of 51.0
Based on 73 user reviews

Movie appeal


Planet Earth

 (TV) (2006)

Planet Earth Blu-ray delivers stunning video and decent audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

With an unprecedented production budget of $25 million, and from the makers of Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the epic story of life on Earth. Five years in production, over 2,000 days in the field, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, shot entirely in high definition, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that captures rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the daily struggle for survival in Earth's most extreme habitats. Planet Earth takes you to places you have never seen before, to experience sights and sounds you may never experience anywhere else.

For more about Planet Earth and the Planet Earth Blu-ray release, see Planet Earth Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Narrator: David Attenborough
Director: Alastair Fothergill

» See full cast & crew

Planet Earth Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.5 of 5

The technical merits of Planet Earth's picture are impressive. Featuring the VC-1 codec at 1080p and a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the contrast, black level and definition approximate reference quality. No pixellation or digital artifacts are observed. The only reasonable criticisms have to do with dark scenes that obviously aren't resolved as clearly as daytime footage. That is to be expected, but a flaw has been observed. The dark areas show a very subtle strobing effect. For this reason, Planet Earth does not earn a perfect video rating, even though the strobing effect is almost imperceptible and not visible to most viewers.

The most notable feature of the documentary is its striking aerial footage. Many of the documentary's landscapes are best viewed from the air and so the camera crews take to the skies for bird's eye views. Nowhere is this exemplified better than in the "Mountains" episode with its rock steady footage of the Andes and Himalayas. The solid picture is stunning even compared to other documentaries like Blue Planet, which features mind-blowing views, but a noisy picture that trembles in many scenes.

So why doesn't the picture tremble in Planet Earth? After all, much of the footage comes from helicopters and cameras battered by wind, using incredible zoom magnifications sensitive to the slightest movement and vibration. The camera crews use an advanced stabilization technology called Cineflex. It involves floating the lens and a sensor inside a gyro-stabilized, immobile ball. The Cineflex bubble is impervious to movement, no matter what motion comes from the helicopter or the wind. To deliver the best possible picture, much of the documentary uses a $90,000 high-definition camera with a telephoto lens capable of 84 times magnification. But resolution and zoom strength mean little if the camera is unstable and subject to airborne vibrations, and that is why the Cineflex technology is so important. It allows us to enjoy the most dramatic views and most exotic creatures on the planet with a depth and definition that is lifelike and vivid.

Planet Earth Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.0 of 5

The most prominent audio is the voice of David Attenborough and the somewhat shelved orchestral score. Only occasionally are the sounds of the animals captured and included in the mix. With a low-resolution audio track, one is left wondering how much better the sound definition could have been. Frankly, Attenborough's voice sounds crisp and detailed, and the strings sound warm and palpable, though not gorgeously defined. The rear channels may as well never have been used and therefore, audio is the greatest room for improvement in the development of future documentaries.

One scene in particular reveals much about the audible merits of Planet Earth, when Attenborough is filmed in a tropical rainforest during the evening in the episode entitled "Jungles". The audio engineering isn't bad, but having recently returned from treking in the Guatemalan rainforest, I realize that the documentary is incapable of resolving the complex cacaphony of creature's calls, cries, croacking, clicking, creaking, cackling, and chirping. In Guatemala, I heard the sounds of a unique species of frog that is not unlike the revving engines of cars at the Indy 500. Intermingled with all manner of insects and nocturnal creatures in an orgy of feeding and sexual activity the "live performance" is far beyond what I should expect from a documentary on Blu-ray. And yet I have heard content that comes close. Warner will need to do far better than low-resolution, Dolby Digital mixes if it expects to deliver lifelike audio that convinces audiences they're hearing the real thing. While we can't expect perfect recordings and encodings, hopefully higher aspirations are within reach, now that Warner's days of dumbing down HD content to produce both HD DVD and Blu-ray are nearing an end. Starting in May, Warner will be able to stretch out and fully utilize BD's 50 GB capacity without worrying about exceeding HD DVD's 30 GB limit. This may mean lossless PCM audio tracks.

But Planet Earth's sound quality is much better than other documentaries, like Blue Planet. The mix of the latter was all over the map, with various sounds mixed in gimmicky manner to the rear speakers when they did not belong there. Thankfully, Attenborough remains anchored in the center channel and the minimal use of surrounds is actually very tasteful for this kind of documentary. The real showcase is the picture, and that is rightfully allowed to take center stage with no distractions in the soundstage.

Planet Earth: Other Seasons

Season 1
4-disc set
Season 1
6-disc set
Season 1
6-disc set
Planet Earth
Season 1

Blu-ray bundles with Planet Earth (3 bundles)

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Planet Earth Blu-ray, News and Updates

Deal of the Day: Planet Earth Blu-ray $37.99 - April 22, 2010

Amazon has an interesting BD-related (and Earth-Day-related) deal of the day going on. Today only, you can buy the BBC documentary series Planet Earth for only $37.99 (62% off MSRP). This offer expires today at midnight PDT, or when stock runs out. The price history ...

New US Version of Planet Earth - July 16, 2007

The BBC release (via Warner Brothers in the US) of 'Planet Earth' has become the highest grossing high definition release since it hit store shelves earlier this year. Now, Discover Channel, who broadcasted the series in the United States, wants to get in on the ...

Planet Earth Generates $3.2M in HD Sales - June 6, 2007

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has revealed 'Planet Earth' has become the biggest high definition moneymaker ever. Since the title was released April 24th on both Blu-ray and HD DVD, it has generated $3.2M in sales from about 42,000 units sold. 'The Departed', ...

» Show more related news posts for Planet Earth Blu-ray

Planet Earth Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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Planet Earth: The Definitive Thread (

Official Thread

727 May 12, 2014

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