I would appreciate any advice on a few things before I am able to purchase this blu-ray. First, will I be able to play this "PAL" format disc on my North American PS3 blu-ray player and Samsung LCD 1080p? From what I have read elsewhere, I believe that the PAL format is irrelevant with HDTV's/ HD format media. Also, what region is this disc? It is not listed anywhere on this site, yet, the UK Planet Earth is regionless. I ask these questions simply because this disc will not be available in North America indefinitely. Thanks.
The PAL/NTSC designation actually does not apply to Blu-Rays. However, this Blu-Ray is Region B encoded, so it will not play in North American players. That's the bad news. The good news is that it will be airing in the US (and, I would presume, in Canada) in March 2010 on the Discovery channel, and I assume a Region A version will be available soon thereafter. The not-so-good news about that is that the Discovery channel version will be narrated by Oprah Winfrey, rather than by David Attenborough.
Thanks for the responses, even though Amazon doesn't list the region, BBC certainly does and this came as bad news to me. Life has been airing in Canada actually much earlier than the apparent date in the US, we've gotten through quite a few episodes on the Discovery channel, with David Attenborough I might add.
In regards to the second response, I encountered a similar situation for many people who order Blu-rays from the UK, where they are able to play supposed region B discs with a region A player. Taking that into consideration, I may just go ahead and purchase it. It'll be a while before it goes for sale in North America, and I'm not keen on waiting that long. Let alone the potential prospect of having Oprah Windfrey narrate the disc, that would be tough to listen to.
If you get it, let us know if it works. I looked on the BBC shop site and it says that the Bluray is encoded for region 2. Well, technically, Blurays are region encoded as A, B or C, not 1-9. So I bet the information is incorrect.
I'm sure Oprah just can't say 'grass' quite the way David Attenborough does...
Upon further review, I may have done myself a service if I had looked more deeply into the situation prior to purchase. Essentially, as I have a PS3 and not any other Region A Blu-Ray player, it may not work as opposed to those who possess one in the United States and Canada. That being said, the PAL issue may be the only hinderance, as another owner of this disc confirmed that it started up with a PS3 but was incompatible due to the television. I do have one thing working in my favour though, I own a Samsung LCD that runs 60hz. Apparently, these televisions can run both 50hz and 60hz, the difference between PAL and NTSC. It is just a matter of the package arriving and having the opportunity to test it out. If it doesn't work, there are other outlets to compensate myself for the loss. For those that are in a similar position, I'll update this thread once I have received the disc. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Received the Blu-rays in the mail today, and sadly, they did not work with my North American PS3. I'm comtemplating whether or not I should purchase a standalone Samsung Blu-ray player, as these apparently work with Life's format. When I put the discs in they load and then load into a black screen after showing the 2 Entertain and BBC Earth intro's. Thus, it's not a matter of region encoding. It's quite the disappointment, and I still cannot fathom why we have differing blu-ray formats? Even with domestic market initiatives, making this disc universal would not hinder sales within Europe. It's entirely pointless, and annoying for those who wish to purchase items from abroad and simply cannot. I guess it goes both ways. For those with a NA PS3 stay away unless you have another blu-ray player not made by Sony, and even that information hasn't really been confirmed aside from a few personal experiences.
Just wondering, if you have a (first generation 60GB) PS3? I'm still on the fence about ordering this bluray for my 60GB PS3 and Sony XBR5 LCD. I live in California USA. I understand that the bluray didn't work with your equipment. Please le tme know what tpye of PS3 you have. Also is the PS3 in Canada the same as USA? Do you have the new slim PS3 or older generations? How may GB is your PS3? Thanks for you time. Craig
I tried the Life discs in a Sony BDP-S350 and saw the same thing: the opening credits work and then nothing. I think I figured out why -- the main feature is in 1080i50 format. This means either your player or TV must be able to handle a 50Hz HD image. My Samsung TV is 60Hz only, but I discovered my Oppo BDP-83 bluray player can re-time 50Hz to 60HZ (without too much of a hit to the picture quality). It also does the same for PAL DVDs. I love my Oppo BDP-83, though at $499 it is a tad expensive. They have said they will announce a less expensive player next month -- maybe it will also handle PAL discs.
Sorry about the late response, but I just realized there had been a few responses since my last observance. Now about the PS3, mine is a PS3 slim which is a North American product. Hence, it's the same as the one distributed to the United States as we use the voltage, and format (NTSC) as the US. Bottom line is, regardless of what PS3 you have unless it's the Hong Kong version, you're not going to get it to work. I'm still considering a Samsung blu ray player, but I think I'll just wait and buy the NA release and hold onto my PAL blu-ray in the mean time.