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Roy Orbison: Black & White Night Blu-ray

United States
Image Entertainment | 1987 | 64 min | Unrated | Sep 16, 2008

Roy Orbison: Black & White Night (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080i
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: LPCM 2.0


25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Region free

List price: $24.98, Price history
Best Buy: $19.99 (Save 20%)  
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 3.9 of 53.9
Audio 5.0 of 55.0
Extras 1.7 of 51.7
Based on 10 user reviews

Movie appeal


Roy Orbison: Black & White Night


Roy Orbison: Black & White Night Blu-ray offers solid video and reference-quality audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

Artistically filmed in black and white, Roy Orbison's 1987 television concert covers all his hits, including "Pretty Woman," "Only the Lonely," "Crying" and "Dream Baby." A star-studded group of friends -- Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen, among others -- joins Orbison onstage in a 1940s nightclub setting, jamming with one of rock 'n' roll's most unforgettable voices.

For more about Roy Orbison: Black & White Night and the Roy Orbison: Black & White Night Blu-ray release, see Roy Orbison: Black & White Night Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Roy Orbison: Black & White Night Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080i transfer, Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Image Entertainment.

Before I address the quality of this Blu-ray disc, I would like to quickly note that I have been very surprised to uncover a sea of incorrect information pertaining to the technical specs of this release, which a number of online sources have posted. I hope that our technical evaluation clears out the confusion these posts might have produced.

First of all, unlike what some reviewers claim, the transfer for this remarkable concert has been encoded with MPEG-4 AVC, not VC-1. It is fairly stable, with a terrific contrast and a (black and white) color-scheme that evokes a strong sense of nostalgia. The quality of the actual print is also very good – aside from a few tiny specks that I was able to detect, there are absolutely no disturbing scratches, debris, or stains on this print. Furthermore, there aren't any traces of DNR manipulation that I could detect either.

Second, unlike what some reviewers claim, Roy Orbison: Black & White Night has received a 1080i "live" transfer, not a 1080p transfer. This being said, there are a few suspicious blurs that I was able to detect on it (for the record, this isn't motion "judder", but a very unusual mix of softness and blurriness that pops up here and there); they are most noticeable during the second half of the concert and, apparently, they have been inherited from the master print (at least, this is what I am told). With that in mind, the rest of the presentation is fairly convincing and certainly something that fans of Roy Orbison will appreciate. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release which you will be able to play on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).

Roy Orbison: Black & White Night Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  5.0 of 5

There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Music DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Music Dolby Digital 5.1 and Music: LPCM 2.0. I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and did a few random comparisons with the other two tracks for the purpose of this review.

Originally broadcast on January 3, 1988 as an HBO special event dedicated to Roy Orbison and his music, Roy Orbison: Black & White Night is definitely one of the best sounding concerts currently available on Blu-ray. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track the disc contains allows for a pleasingly nuanced listening experience - every single guitar riff, the solid but not overpowering drums, the keyboard improvisations and, of course, the velvety voice of Roy Orbison come off the speakers in a very impressive fashion. Furthermore, I did not detect any annoying drop outs, cracks, or pops to report here and, in my opinion, this live performance definitely comes very close to resembling a polished studio effort.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track and the LPCM 2.0 track are also of incredibly high quality. Obviously, they don't match the richness and color of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but, truly, you would be hard-pressed to find any serious flaws on them (for what it's worth, they have also been mixed exceptionally well). Still, I strongly recommend that you opt for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. As many have already stated, Roy Orbison: Black & White Night is one of the very best live shows currently available on Blu-ray, and the fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is undoubtedly responsible for that. (For the record, Image Entertainment have not supplied any optional subtitles for this release).

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