The idea behind superbit DVDs is that by leaving off all the extras you allow a higher bit rate to be devoted to the sound and video - more Mega-Bytes Per Second for your money - theoretically giving a better quality disc.
Recent tests conducted by Total DVD confirm that the titles released so far in Columbia/Tristar's superbit range do exhibit a higher bit rate than their vanilla counterparts. For example:
(Superbit rate listed first, followed by standard bitrate)
The test compared the bit rates of these titles to two non-superbit titles from other distributors, namely the 2 disc versions of 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Se7en', both of which are packed with extras, boast DD and DTS soundtracks, interactive elements and audio commentaries. The bit rates on these two discs were, respectively, 7.90 and 7.89 MB/Sec, higher than all but two of Columbia/Tristar's entire superbit catalogue.
With these results, Columbia/Tristar's superbit collection seems nothing more than reissues of discs that could have been mastered to a higher standard on their original releases, but at inflated prices and devoid of the extras that Fox and EV seem quite capable of offering while maintaining comparable audio and video quality.
You'll get my Fifth Element Superbit when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. It makes all other versions of the movie (which is highly regarded as reference discs) pale in comparison. You'll have to fight me for my Desperado Superbit too.
nope, lets hope it is understood by all that i prefer sound and picture to be at their best. extras will be watched once, commentaries will never be listened to and so on.
I apprechiate a set like the new LOTR, but would rather have the extended movie over two discs with only a DTS ES 6.1 track and max bitrate over the commentaries and two discs of extras in the four disc set. Probably would have been cheaper too
No one is disagreeing that the 'Superbit' versions of 'Fifth Element' and 'Desperado' are superior to the standard versions - they are without doubt, measurably better.
The gripe is, that other companies have managed to produce discs with equivalent or superior bitrates and include all the extras.
Some re-releases of existing titles from these companies have been re-mastered with superior sound and vision to the originals, but the companies concerned don't give them a fancy label like 'Superbit', strip them of extras and charge a hefty premium for the privilege.
And incidentally, Peter Jackson's stated reason for splitting the LOTR Extended Edition over two discs is to maximize the bit rate for optimum quality. Notice however that he isn't labelling it as 'Superbit' or some other such snazzy marketing man's moniker, and you're getting four discs for round about the £25 mark - roughly the price of one extras-free 'Superbit' title.