This is NOT the review of the movies. I am solely reviewing the facts that what EXTRA you get in this set than the previous editions. I will start with very basic facts for those who are baffled by so many editions being out there.
The basic facts-
LOTR series has basically two types of movies- a) Theatrical and b) Extended, each edition are available in both-DVD and Blu ray format.
Extended versions of the movies have humongous amount of extra film footage added to the theatrical editions (approx. 30, 40 and 50 additional minutes for movie 1, 2 and 3 respectively). So, go for the extended editions only if you are a die hard fan of the movies. If you are not, the review ends here. Buy whichever movie you like in your preferred format and enjoy. Thanks.
FOR LOTR FANS-
Let's get straight to-the-point. Now, many of you may as well own the DVD versions of LOTR (Either Theatrical or Extended ot both), and if you are trying to make a decision whether to spend more money on this blu ray extended, here is the comparison-
Extended DVD set-
For each movie they have 4 discs (2 movie discs and 2 extra features); So total 12 discs. Sound is DTS ES 6.1, which is significantly better than regular dolby digital. This set is probably the most gorgeous I have ever seen for any DVD. Colorful and feature packed, it stands out in your entire collection.
Extended Blu ray set-
For each movie they have 5 discs (2 movie blu ray discs, 2 extra feature DVDs and 1 behind the scene DVD). So, total 15 discs. Audio is spine chilling DTS HD 6.1 and it has the all the betterments of blu ray (HD pic, HD sound, BD live). Also, blu ray set includes the Digital copy of the Extended Versions of all three movies (Standard definition, not HD). The set itself is a delight, with a sturdy golden cardboard package that is durable and beautiful. The remastering of these movies have been handled excellently and with respect to both picture and sound, this one is SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER THAN THE DVD.
The GOOD (Blu ray set over DVD set):
1. Video and Audio significantly improved. Excellent blu ray transfer. I have not noticed any 'darker' colors as mentioned by some other viewers.
2. Blu ray set has THREE EXTRA DVDs (Behind the Scene for each movie) apart from the 2 extra feature DVDs.
3. Blu ray set has Digital copies of Extended versions of all three movies.
4. They did not waste a DVD for digital copy. You download them straight from the server.
5. Digital copies are great downloads and super easy. Together, it's almost 10 GB download, which was overwhelming for me.
1. Extra feature DVDs (2 for each movie) are the SAME as those of DVD editions. In fact, the DVDs are identical when I do head-to-head comparison. These DVDs are pulled straight from the older DVD editions, nothing new added there.
2. The overall appearence of the set is not as beautiful as the DVD sets. This one is excellently packed though, lacks the colours of the DVD set.
3. Extra feature discs are DVDs and not Blu rays.
If you own the extended DVD set, then buy this only if you want to have a great improvement in pictutre and sound quality. The only extra features you get is 'behind the scenes' DVDs. All other extra feature DVDs (total 6 of them) will be a duplication of what you already own in Extended DVD set. Actually, I noticed that all the extra feature DVDs here are from the various older DVD editions. The two DVDs are from the Extended DVD set, and the one 'behind the scene' is probably pulled from the limited editions of LOTR (the double sided DVDs that New Line Cinema released sometimes back).
However, if you do not own the DVD versions, then this is a must buy as this includes almost everything that you can think of (HD movies, extra features, behind the scenes, plus digital copies).
UPDATE: Also check the images I uploaded which may help make the comparison.