Wasting Space?

Last night I watched Pale Rider, a Clint Eastwood Western released on Blu-ray by Warner Bros. I strongly suspect it is the same as Warner Bros releases of the movie elsewhere in the world.

I find this disc interesting for a couple of reasons. One is that blu-ray.highdefdigest.com gives it a good write up on picture quality, whereas I thought it was one of the weakest titles I’ve seen. Mind you, I’d just finished watching the deep, deep blacks of Sweeney Todd. Still, the blacks of this movie were a deep muddy brown, and there was a persistent paler band down the right hand side of the frame. Some brief sections of the film were clearly out of focus, for which I suppose I should blame cinematography, rather than transfer. The 20.88Mbps average video bitrate for the VC1 encode is probably higher than average for Warner Bros.

The other reason is the size of the disc. Both the highdefdigest review and Nero DiscSpeed 4 report that this is a dual layer disc. The maximum capacity of a single layer disc is, according to Wikipedia, 23.28GB (using 1,024 as the divisor for the ‘thousands’). This disc comes to 23.15GB, measured using BDInfo, AnyDVD HD and dir /s. So this might be the first disc that actually wastes more that half its capacity.

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