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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

House of Cards - Season Three  [4 Blu-rays]

 

(John David Coles, Tucker Gates, James Foley, John Dahl, Robin Wright, Agnieszka Holland, 2015)

 

  

  

  

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Media Rights Capital

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 13 episodes (av. 0:52:27.504  per episode)

Disc 1 Size: 38,592,246,637 bytes

Average Episode Size: 13,283,653,632 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.52 Mbps

Case: Wallet-Style Digipak Blu-ray case

Release date: July 7th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.0:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2165 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2165 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2166 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2166 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, none

 

Extras:

50-second Recaps for each episode

Disc 4

"Backstage Politics: On the Set of House of Cards"- An extensive behind-the-scenes look into the creation of House of Cards, Season 3 (24:59)
"A Death in New Mexico" - A featurette that chronicles the surprising Chapter 39 (17:01)

 

Episode Sample Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In Season 3 of “House of Cards”, President Underwood fights to secure his legacy. Claire wants more than being the first lady. The biggest threat they face is contending with each other. This Emmy-winning original thriller series stars Golden Globe winner Kevin Spacey as ruthless and cunning Francis Underwood, who will stop at nothing to conquer the halls of power in Washington D.C. His secret weapon: his gorgeous, ambitious and equally conniving wife Claire (Golden Globe winner Robin Wright).

 

Season 3

Disc 1
S3, Ep1
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 27
Frank's approval ratings have plummeted. Doug goes through rehab over his injury. Claire plans to run for Ambassador to the U.N.

Chapter 28
S3, Ep2
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 28
Claire's U.N. bid runs into trouble. Frank fights off mutiny with a bold address to the country.

Chapter 29
S3, Ep3
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 29
The Russian president's state visit becomes a cold war of wills.
 

Disc 2
Chapter 30
S3, Ep4
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 30
Claire bypasses Russia at the U.N. Frank tries to outmaneuver a potential challenger and ends up face to face with a higher power.

Chapter 31
S3, Ep5
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 31
Frank declares war on Congress to jump-start his jobs program. Claire spars with the Russian Ambassador.

Chapter 32
S3, Ep6
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 32
Frank and Claire travel to Moscow to negotiate the return of an imprisoned U.S. citizen. Claire takes a stand that jeopardizes their plans.
 

Disc 3
Chapter 33
S3, Ep7
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 33
The damage is done and the Underwoods must repair it. But deep wounds don't heal fast, and sometimes not at all.

Chapter 34
S3, Ep8
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 34
A hurricane endangers more than just the entire East Coast and Frank must make a difficult choice.

Chapter 35
S3, Ep9
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 35
The Jordan Valley erupts in chaos just as Frank's campaign is picking up steam. Claire gets disturbing intel and counsels him.

Chapter 36
S3, Ep10
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 36
Frank needs to deal with Petrov one on one, while Claire tries to preserve the peace-keeping mission. Sacrifices must be made.

Disc 4
Chapter 37
S3, Ep11
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 37
Things turn ugly when Frank, Jackie, and Heather square off during their first debate. Tom joins Claire on the campaign trail.

Chapter 38
S3, Ep12
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 38
Claire is given an even larger role in the campaign. The gain in points drives Heather to look for dirt on Claire.

Chapter 39
S3, Ep13
27 Feb. 2015
Chapter 39
Francis and Claire's relationship reaches a critical point. Doug catches up with his past

Excerpt from IMDb located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Sony's Blu-ray package of the highly lauded series House of Cards is as clean and crisp as you might imagine from a new HD-broadcast series. The 13 X 52-minute episodes are housed on four Blu-rays. 3 episodes on the first, second and fourth discs and four on the third - with supplements only on the fourth.  The original aspect ratio of 2.0:1 is supported. This is transferred on dual-layered discs with reasonable bitrates for the feature content per Blu-ray. There are plenty of dark scenes in House of Cards (dark topics) but the bitrate is supportive and I saw no noise or compression artifacts. The brighter the scenes the more depth - which is common. Detail is strong, visuals, especially close-ups, are crisp. It is quite flawless and in 1080P.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Excellent audio quality with a supportive and tight DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 2165 kbps. Any action, and it's not abundant although there are effect sounds that jump to the rear speakers. Jeff Beal's score floats in and out through scene changes. Everything sounds pristine in lossless and there is depth in the score's drums. There is a French language DUB and subtitle options signifying the four discs as being region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Firstly, there are 50-second recaps for each of the 13 episodes. They can play automatically or not as a "Play All" option. Only two supplements; "Backstage Politics: On the Set of House of Cards" runs 25-minutes and is an extensive behind-the-scenes look into the creation of House of Cards, Season 3. "A Death in New Mexico" runs 17-minutes. It is a featurette that chronicles the surprising events occurring in Chapter 39.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
House of Cards is an addictive TV series. I got wrapped up in Season One, then watched the British version (not as good, IMO) and rifled through Season Two and now Three on Blu-ray that I watched over 2 nights. It just keeps getter better and they spare no expense - look at the directorial talent used; James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross), John Dahl (Rounders, The Last Seduction), Agnieszka Holland (Olivier, Olivier) plus Robin Wright directed two episodes in the 3rd season. There continue to be some awful characters in House of Cards - and the moral implications are as well thought-out as the political nuances. My only negative is the wallet-style case - I hate it. I always struggle with removing and replacing discs and worry about scratches and damage doing so. This is still a ton of value here - one the best television shows I've ever seen - strongly recommended!  

Gary Tooze

June 30th, 2015

  

  

  

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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