October 9, 2017

Warner releases 4K Ultra HD version of the Peanuts Holiday Collection video box set

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing a new version of the Peanuts Holiday Collection video box set, titled Peanuts Holiday Collection Deluxe Edition 4K Ultra HD.

This latest incarnation of the set includes 9 animated Peanuts TV specials, supposedly on regular Blu-ray discs, Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and digital copies. However, not all 9 specials are on all formats - see more below.  (DVDs are not included, but a DVD version of the set - albeit with fewer specials - has been previously released and remains available.)

If you're wondering what the heck 4K Ultra HD discs are and whether you need them, also see further below.

The 9 specials advertised as being in the set are as follows (each group appears together on one disc):

A Charlie Brown Christmas
It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown
It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It's Magic, Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown's All-Stars
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers
Play It Again, Charlie Brown

This would be the first time 3 of these specials have been released in high definition (although, again, see important warning below). The new-to-HD specials are It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown; Charlie Brown's All-Stars; and Play It Again, Charlie Brown.

Warning: despite the PR and the back box cover implying that all 9 shows - including the 3 that are new to high definition - are on both the Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs in the set, that is not the case. Only the A Charlie Brown Christmas Blu-ray disc includes 3 shows; the Great Pumpkin and Thanksgiving Blu-ray discs are copies of the old Blu-ray discs, with only 2 shows each.  Which means that the only way to see 2 of the 3 new-to-HD shows is if you have an Ultra HD disc player.  This apparently is the case will all sets currently shipping; I do not know if this is intended, or a mistake.  If I find out more, I will update this blog post.

The discs also include the "behind-the-scenes" featurettes that were created when Warner Bros. first released the specials on DVD in 2008.  (They have appeared previously on all other Warner DVD and Blu-ray releases as well.)  There are no new behind-the-scenes features.

The box set retails for $44.98 SRP.

Given the fact that the new-to-HD specials do not appear on the Blu-ray discs of this set, you should buy it only if you want the Ultra HD discs.

* * *

The three Ultra HD Blu-ray discs mark the first time that the Peanuts specials have been released in 4K Ultra HD with HDR, which theoretically has four times the resolution and better colors than regular HD and Blu-ray.

However, you need a 4K-enabled Ultra HD Blu-ray player and a 4K TV to take advantage of this. The Ultra HD discs will not play in regular, older Blu-ray players.

If you don't have a 4K Blu-ray player and/or TV, you could still use the three Blu-ray discs that are also included - but you will not get to enjoy the 3 new-to-HD specials this way (see warning above).

You might be wondering, can the Peanuts specials actually look better when viewed in 4K Ultra HD than in just regular high definition? It seems doubtful - the regular 1080p high definition picture on the Blu-rays already reveal pretty much all the details available in the source material.  Most of these shows were created on a budget in the 1960's and 1970's... so it is unlikely that, beloved as they are, they will be the best material to showcase the extra details of 4K resolution.

* * *

Each holiday special will also be released individually as separate releases containing an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, a regular Blu-ray disc, and digital copy. Although again, likely only the Ultra HD disc includes both bonus shows; the Blu-ray discs may only include 1 bonus show.  The individual 4K releases have a retail price of $29.98, so getting the set with all 9 shows is a much better deal. The individual releases dates are September 26 for It's the Great Pumpkin, October 24 for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and October 31 for A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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