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Where do tv stations source their films?

Posted (edited)

I like to collect dvds/blurays and can't help but notice when a film on tv has an improved picture quality compared to how it looked on previous showings. On checking it usually transpires that the picture has been upgraded and is available via a new transfer to blu ray.

So how does this work - are tv stations notified when upgraded movies become available?

If so I'm guessing they make choices as to what they want, as some films continue to be shown with original/lesser picture quality.

Not all Blu rays are an improvement of course so this offers a useful heads up re which ones to avoid.

Edited by Stevie

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TV stations do a long term deal with a licensing agent or one of the big studio companies (Sony, Universal, Disney etc).  These come as package deals with loads of subsidiary and old studios they acquired within it. Most of the time the TV stations do not show a renewed version of a film similar to blu-ray if it was upgraded at the point the masters transferred when the deal went live.  It's often static at the point they do the license deal.  A studio may upgrade the print for showing at HD, but this might be less than the work of doing a full Blu-Ray or UHD upgrade. That's how loads of old films are shown on TV in HD format, with a slight improvement but without a remastering.

However the broadcaster can also run the film through digital software that does a proxy upgrade for the HD TV standard so they can show it as 1080 resolution. Your box or TV now also does a huge amount of additional work too. So for example, I have an Ultra High Definition Sky TV box where I set it to upgrade everything into UHD at 10bits.  It's not really UHD (unless the source is), but will expand and sharpen the image to look good on a UHD compatible TV (if you use v2 HDMI cables too and switch the TV to be compatible). A lot of modern TVs do their own picture processing too.

The libraries the studios offer, will have a film substituted over time with higher definition versions - which then becomes available in a rights deal.

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Many thanks for such a comprehensive reply - answers a great many questions.

 

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