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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Created by Craig Mazin
UK / USA 2019

 

Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting) and Emily Watson (Breaking the Wavess, Punch Drunk Love) star in Chernobyl, the critically acclaimed five-part mini-series. On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukrainian SSR suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and Western Europe. Dramatising the true story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, Chernobyl shines a light on the brave men and women who fought an unprecedented war against an invisible enemy, and who suffered and sacrificed, saving millions of lives, often at the cost of their own.

***

In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes.

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Theatrical Release: May 6th, 2019

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Comparison:

Acorn Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. HBO - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Acorn Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray HBO - Region FREE - Blu-ray HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 1:02:05.040 X 5         1:04:56.475  X 5  1:04:56.475 X 5
Video

2.00:1 1080i Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 49,238,669,066 bytes

Disc Two Size: 24,527,702,133 bytes

Part One: 16,879,509,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.15 Mbps / 19.59 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.00:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 47,988,898,395 bytes

Disc Two Size: 45,918,104,342 bytes

Part One: 15,955,556,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.55 Mbps / 33.08 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.0:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD
Disc One Size: 93,977,723,204 bytes

Disc Two Size: 63,416,141,188 bytes
Part One: 31,796,773,632 bytes
Video Bitrate: 57.47 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Acorn Blu-ray:

Bitrate HBO Blu-ray:

Bitrate HBO 4K UHD:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS Audio English 1509 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2944 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2944 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Czech 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2944 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2944 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Czech 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None English, French, Spanish, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, None English, French, Spanish, Czech, Dutch, Korean, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Acorn Media

 

2.00:1 1080i Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 49,238,669,066 bytes

Disc Two Size: 24,527,702,133 bytes

Part One: 16,879,509,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.15 Mbps / 19.59 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Photo Galleries


Blu-ray Release Date:
July 29th, 2019
Standard thick (UK) Blu-ray Case

Chapters 7 X 5

Release Information:
Studio:
HBO

 

2.00:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 47,988,898,395 bytes

Disc Two Size: 45,918,104,342 bytes

Part One: 15,955,556,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.55 Mbps / 33.08 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Blu-ray One:
• Inside the Episodes (3 featurettes - total = 7:20)
• What is Chernobyl (1:39)
• Meet the Key Players (3 total = 5:40)
Blu-ray Two:
• Inside the Episodes (2 featurettes - total - 6:56)
• Behind Curtain - Director Johan Renck (1:38)
• Script to Screen: The Divers (1:23)
• Pivotal Moment: The Trial (2:13)
Digital Download


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 1st, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case in cardboard slipcase

Chapters 8 X 5

Release Information:
Studio:
HBO

 

2.0:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD
Disc One Size: 93,977,723,204 bytes

Disc Two Size: 63,416,141,188 bytes
Part One: 31,796,773,632 bytes
Video Bitrate: 57.47 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Blu-ray One:
• Inside the Episodes (3 featurettes - total = 7:20)
• What is Chernobyl (1:39)
• Meet the Key Players (3 total = 5:40)
Blu-ray Two:
• Inside the Episodes (2 featurettes - total - 6:56)
• Behind Curtain - Director Johan Renck (1:38)
• Script to Screen: The Divers (1:23)
• Pivotal Moment: The Trial (2:13)
Digital Download


4K Ultra HD Release Date:
December 1st, 2020
Black 4K Ultra HD Case in cardboard slipcase

Chapters 8 X 5

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: HBO/Warner 4K UHD (December 2020): HBO/Warner have transferred the excellent TV mini-series Chernobyl to 4K UHD. While released only a year after HBO last Blu-ray set of the min-series, the 4K UHD image quality is striking for its improved 3840 X 2160 resolution presentation. It's the exact same source - with the same running time to the 1/1000th of  seconds, but it's simply mathematics why the new 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR image is a vast improvement at over double the bitrate. This shows up in color depth, contrast and detail. A notable upgrade.

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 78 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE.

That's about it - the exact same audio as the 2019 Blu-rays (see below) with the same extras included in the 4K UHD package. These supplements are available the two 4K UHD discs.

I REALLY enjoyed this again - my third time. There is a justified reason it has a 9.4/10 rating on IMDb. This is a fascinating mini-series. The Chernobyl disaster was shrouded for years in such a mystery of lies and misinformation. It subtly pays homage to those who suffered - many surviving in pain for years after - by focusing on individual stories as well as giving an interesting take on the overview of the politicization of the tragedy. It follows what happened second by second on the control room that fateful day. Historically this is essential. New adopters shouldn't hesitate.  

***

ADDITION: HBO Blu-ray (September 2019): Looking at these two transfers of the TV mini-series Chernobyl to Blu-ray. It is obvious that the Acorn has tried to mimic a disaster - perhaps in keeping with the theme of the brilliant docu-drama.

We can now see that the 1080i Acorn is in PAL speed (which may have been accurate for broadcast in Europe) but it is abnormally horizontally stretched as well as suffering the softness of the interlaced rendering practice. Totally unacceptable.

This is a huge difference and makes the HBO (US) Region FREE BD (actually 2 dual-layered Blu-rays) - the package to own. Add on lossless (DTS-HD Master) 5.1 surround audio, English and foreign language subs and DUBs, and some extras (albeit brief featurettes) - make for a very easy decision.

I don't usually state it as such - but buy the Region FREE HBO Blu-ray set and watch this series - it is deeply impacting. Essential TV, folks. Don't hesitate. Order now.

***

ADDITION: Acorn Media Blu-ray (August 2019): Acorn Media have transferred the excellent 2019, Sky Atlantic, TV mini-series Chernobyl to Blu-ray.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the 5-part series, I can't help but be disappointed in the 1080i (as broadcast) image quality. Despite being shot on HD (Arri Alexa 4K) it looks decidedly soft with an unusual green/bluish/teal hue especially in the 4th and 5th episodes. It doesn't look anywhere near as good as the included 'Picture Gallery' stills (see sample HERE.) Another issue is that the first Blu-ray is dual-layered and the three episodes have a high bitrate, but the second Blu-ray is only single-layered and the bitrate is significantly decreased (over 1/3rd) - making it look even weaker. The image is dark, which is probably accurate, but detail appears to be compromised. I have my doubts that it looked this weak when it was broadcast but I admittedly don't know. I mean, you get used to it and it didn't affect my viewing enjoyment but I will just state that I was surprised as the inferior quality.

On their Blu-ray, Acorn Media offer the option of a DTS Dolby 5.1 surround track of a linear PCM stereo choice - both only 16-bit, in the original English language. It is fairly unremarkable with a theme credited to Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Mary Magdalene, Tom of Finland) supporting the series well always keeping a consistent tension surfacing throughout. Acorn Media offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The Acorn Media Blu-ray has 'Picture Galleries' for each of the five parts with a dozen or so images in a slideshow fashion. They look great (HERE) - much better than the features.

Chernobyl is excellent entertainment and we may compare this release to the US coming out in October. Perhaps it will look the same. Regardless we strongly recommend seeing it.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Acorn - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

HBO - Region FREE  - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY and 4K UHD CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

1) Acorn - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) HBO - Region FREE  - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) Acorn - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) HBO - Region FREE  - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) Acorn - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) HBO - Region FREE  - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) HBO - Region FREE  - Blu-ray TOP

2) HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) HBO - Region FREE  - Blu-ray TOP

2) HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

  

 

Box Cover

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Acorn Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray HBO - Region FREE - Blu-ray HBO - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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