Planet Earth Special Edition is an update of the 2007 Blu-ray release. This edition includes bonus features missing from the previous release along with some new Blu-ray exclusive features. Planet Earth is the highest selling documentary DVD and is the most expensive factual series ever created by the BBC. This six-disc set expands on the previous four disc set by offering over thirteen hours of bonus materials in the way of extra footage, making of documentaries, and commentaries.
Planet Earth was an eleven episode BBC series that aired in 2006. The episodes in this set are the original U.K. versions with narration from David Attenborough. Sigourney Weaver narrated episodes for U.S. television, and that narration is not included. The eleven episodes focus on different natural subjects and settings. The first episode, “From Pole to Pole,” is kind of overview with subsequent episodes focusing on specifics such as mountains, caves, water, and jungles. Planet Earth gives viewers the chance to see parts of the world hardly witnessed by humans. The entire series is an unobtrusive natural voyeurism into the fascinating world we all share.
The literature on the outside of the box specifies the release has taken “advantage of recent innovations in Blu-ray technology.” Though that is not specific it is an indication the picture quality has been boosted in some way from the previous release. The picture is presented in 1080i MPEG-4 encoding, though the original was presented in 1080p. The image quality is quite impressive. Colors are vibrant and detail is excellent. Planet Earth is one of the most spectacular Blu-ray presentations I have seen. Everything from wide plains to the tiniest insect is sharp. White snowscapes, green jungles, brown deserts, and sparkling blue seas all look as real as if you were there.
The sound is presented in 2.0Mbps DTS-HD 5.1 surround. The audio track is dominated by David Attenborough’s narration, which is clear and easy to understand. The rear speakers are well used with background noises such as storm sounds, running water, birds chirping, and insects buzzing. The sound is very good and ads atmosphere to the presentation. This presentation is more about the visuals with the sound being reserved for the narration and as an enhancement to the visual presentation.