HBO Confirms “The Wire” Getting A Remaster

Still considered one of, if not the single greatest piece of American television ever made, HBO’s “The Wire” has only ever been available either in standard-definition broadcasts or on so-so quality DVD sets.

Over the weekend came a report that HBO had reportedly remastered all of the episodes for high definition broadcast and a new promo had leaked indicating they planned to air the series on weeknights starting later this week.

The truth is not that far off though. HBO has confirmed to Variety that they are in the process of re-mastering the series for HD broadcast.

They also confirm they original had planned a September launch for the marathon, but the episodes are still in review and the start date is yet to be determined. The secret remaster though was spoiled when a viewer noticed a promo ad with the wrong premiere date.

Two big issues remain, with the first being the aspect ratio. Though the series was composed and broadcast in standard 4:3 at the time, at least the first three seasons were shot with 16:9 in mind for future proofing. Creator David Simon has previously indicated he prefers 4:3 because of the “real life” documentary feel. Which one will HBO opt for? If it is 16:9, will the lack of future proofing on the last two seasons be a problem?

The other is the quality of the remaster. Considering that “The Wire” was shot on film, will HBO just do an upscaling of the SD master, or will they follow the same path trail blazed by “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on Blu-ray and do a full digital post-production refresh using the dailies combined with new color timing and visual effects?