5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Fun - Region Free - and it has Subtitles!, 8 Mar 2013
(Apologies in advance for the long post. Some quick background; though not deaf, I am hearing impaired due to an auto accident when I was a child. As such, I can hear okay, but not always understand what people are saying (due to the combination of hearing damage and tinnitus). Watching TV is an exercise in absolute frustration - unless I have subtitles.)
I live in the USA; for years, those of us who wanted to buy SPACE:1999 -- or, indeed, any British series, really -- only had one choice: A&E Home Video. For those of you who are unaware, A&E has no love for the hearing impaired. I'll sum it up this way: the bottom line response I received from A&E, after several years of letters and group complaints, was that (a) it was too expensive to add subtitles (or captions, back when CC mattered) and (b) they weren't required to, so they weren't going to do it.
When the full series was re-released -- that is, not the Series Mega-Pack that A&E released -- I had high hopes that I'd finally be able to watch and enjoy the series again; surely a modern release would include subtitles. Bottom line here: the UK Region 2 DVDs included subtitles; the US Region 1 DVDs did not.
I then noted the blu-ray release. Still A&E; I already knew the answer but here it is summed up in one reviewer's comments: "Strange though it may seem A&E elected not to include SDH captions... Let's hope that A&E realizes the error of their ways and corrects this by adding closed captioning because i for one would appreciate it." Don't hold your breath, friend.
I figured, then, to forget it. I wasn't going to watch the series again unless it showed up on broadcast TV here in the States, where captioning is basically required.
Someone on a forum I frequent mentioned that Amazon UK sold a lot of region-free Blu-ray discs. I sought out a few sets (including the UK release Harry Potter collection (yay, PHILOSOPHER'S Stone), and Battlestar GALACTICA) and found the SPACE:1999 UK release set. No mention of it being region-free, but it did confirm subtitles. I ordered it on a chance and decided that, if it was Region 2, I would pony up the extra money and pay the "hearing impairment tax" and buy a region-free BD player.
I got the set after two or three weeks (takes a long time to ship Royal Mail to USPS). With anticipation, I fired up my PlayStation 3 (which has turned out to be a first-rate BD player; big bonus is that, since it does regular system software updates, I have never had an issue playing any Blu-ray disc, like some of my friends with stand-alone players have). Disc in; waiting... waiting... and BOOM, we have the menu screen!
I was elated. I know it's silly to get excited over such a thing, but I was about to take a great trip down memory lane (with my kids, who watched the set with me over the following month), AND, since it had English Subtitles, I could enjoy it as well.
So a very big thank you to Network Studio for putting together such a great set, for going the extra mile and including SDH, and for making it viewable by this hearing-impaired American who wishes companies here gave a damn.
(I would also like to add that, should Network be gracious enough to give the same region-free SDH treatment to Space:1999 Series 2, I am ready with credit card in hand.)