Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is beloved by fans, and although Star Trek: Voyager is less beloved, it still has an ardent fan following. And these millions of fans have been waiting for a release of their Treks of choice on Blu-ray and HD.
Sadly, they’ll be waiting until the Emissary returns from the Celestial Temple … or forever, whichever comes first.
There's a unusually complex reason. According to TrekNews, Robert Meyer Burnett, who wrote, directed, produced and edited the bonus features on the Blu-ray sets of The Next Generation and Enterprise Blu-ray sets, had this to say about the situation:
"A program could be shot on 35mm film, but instead of editing on film and then cutting negative, the original 35mm material footage would instead be scanned to videotape — at NTSC resolution, and the rest of the post-production process, editing, mixing, etc., would then be completed on tape, at a reduced cost. However, NO FILM NEGATIVE WAS CUT, so the final product would only exist on videotape, at NTSC's greatly reduced video resolution and color."
Using videotape had the benefit of making special effects more cost-effective. But it means there are no 35mm prints of Next Gen (more on that below), DS9 and Voyager. The Star Treks from 1987-2001 are consigned to videotape-quality video.
(As for Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series, they were filmed and edited on 35mm film, and Star Trek: Enterprise was "shot on 35mm and finished in HD," said Burnett. These three series easily beamed to Blu-ray.)
So why can we buy a copy of Next Gen on Blu-ray? It's because CBS and Paramount spent $12 million restoring it. It involved finding the original negatives, rescanning them, adding new effects and remastering the sound. It took years.
Meanwhile, streaming media such as Netflix and Hulu were on the rise and the sales of physical media were on the decline. By the time Next Gen's remastering project went to market, "sales of physical discs dropped 10% a year across the board," said Burnett.
Burnett surmises it will take about $40 million and perhaps eight years to remaster both DS9 and Voyager. This means it will be too expensive and time-consuming to remaster them.
Anyone have a few bars of gold-pressed latinum they can loan CBS?