Star Trek is one of the most popular television franchises of all time. Five different live action series in the Trek universe have aired so far, and a brand new installment is in the works for later this year. Unfortunately, two of the shows in the franchise will probably never get the upgrade to Blu-ray. Star Trek special features director Robert Meyer Burnett has come out and revealed why Voyager and Deep Space Nine haven't gotten the high definition treatment, saying this:
A complicated question with a simple answer; it takes way too much time and money to remaster DS9 and Voyager into HD.
Of the five Star Trek series, only Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, and Enterprise are available on both DVD and Blu-ray. Robert Meyer Burnett worked as writer, producer, and editor in addition to his directing duties for the special features on the Star Trek: The Next Generation and Enterprise Blu-ray sets, so he definitely knows what he's talking about. He elaborated on why Voyager and Deep Space Nine are unlikely to make it to Blu-ray, and as it turns out, the two shows were just not filmed in a way that would make a conversion to HD possible without a huge investment.
Deep Space Nine and Voyager premiered in 1993 and 1995, respectively, and it was a time when it was much cheaper to shoot a special effects-heavy genre show like Star Trek on videotape rather than the traditional film. Recording on videotape was significantly less expensive, but it also meant that video resolution and color were inferior to what they would have been on film. Any attempts to zoom in on an episode recorded on tape would simply distort the image rather than display more details.
That said, there is a way to restore content that was originally released on videotape, as long as the original negative is still available. The Star Trek team successfully rebuilt Star Trek: The Next Generation with a process that took several years and many millions of dollars. The result was a gorgeous remastering of The Next Generation... but the Blu-ray wasn't released until streaming services became the most convenient way for consumers to watch old episodes of TV. The Next Generation Blu-rays didn't sell well enough to justify another investment of time and money on other Star Trek series, especially considering that The Next Generation was far more popular than either Voyager or Deep Space Nine.
If all this wasn't bad enough news for Voyager and Deep Space Nine fans, Robert Meyer Burnett also mentioned in his chat with TrekNews.net that it might actually be physically impossible for the two shows to make it to Blu-ray. Original visual effects assets were required to transfer The Next Generation episodes to Blu-ray, and those necessary assets may have been lost for Voyager and Deep Space Nine. All in all, I'd suggest that diehard fans get used to the idea that they probably won't be getting the shows on Blu-ray.
The good news is that the existing episodes aren't hard to find. DVD sets of Voyager and Deep Space Nine are available, and both programs can be streamed on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. They may not look perfect, but at least they haven't been lost. Take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what current shows you can catch on the small screen, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest news on the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series that's coming to CBS All Access.