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Will there be any version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that you can watch at home at 48 or 50 frames or fields per second?

It would be easy to do. When a standard 24 FPS movie is converted for DVD or TV broadcast in PAL or SECAM regions, it is sped up by about 4% to bring the frame rate to 25. The same speedup would make The Hobbit 50 FPS, which is the field rate in these regions. Even VHS supported 50 fields per second interlaced video, as does DVD. Blu-ray supports 50 frames per second at 1280×720, or 50 interlaced fields per second at 1920×1080. There are also digital downloads on various platforms which I am less familiar with.

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I think it is a perfectly valid question, BTW. –  Nobby Mar 16 '13 at 13:08
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@Nobby: I agree that this is a perfectly valid question but this isn't. The OP is somewhat(and understandably) aggressive as a consequence of the closed question. –  KeyBrd Basher Mar 22 '13 at 12:38

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From what I can ascertain there are no plans to release a 48fps version of the film due to the fact that this would require a complete overhaul of players, most TV sets and even the disc encoding itself.

The only potential way to do this today would be to download 48fps content to watch, but there are currently no plans to accommodate this.

There are many excellent online discussions going on regarding this, and here is one of my favourites.

48fps discussion on avsforum.

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I said "48/50 FPS" for a reason. In PAL regions telecine is particularly simple - the film is sped up about 4% to take the frame rate from 24 to 25. The same speedup would do 48 -> 50. –  Hugh Allen Mar 16 '13 at 13:11
    
I looked at that forum, and nobody there seemed to mention the obvious speedup "trick" which would make it compatible with all players and displays in PAL/SECAM regions. –  Hugh Allen Mar 16 '13 at 13:24
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Maybe. Take a look around the web, there are a gazillion other forums which seem to suggest alternative methods, however, the answer to your question is still no. –  Nobby Mar 16 '13 at 14:01

No. This is not possible with current televisions or DVDs - In PAL and SECAM (and even NTSC), a field is half a frame, consisting of every other line of that frame. The fact that PAL and SECOM have 50 fields per second is irrelevant, since each field contains only half of a frame, and the television displays a complete frame lasting 1/25 of a second. The bandwidth doesn't come close to what you appear to think it is, so the suggested speed-up trick cannot work.

Edit (much later)

While it is possible to have just about the same framerate as was used during the theatrical release, this obviously requires a trade-off (although it's taken me a couple of months to figure out how to describe it): smoother motion vs image resolution. For a sports broadcast, the image richness is arguably less important than smoothness of motion, but it just doesn't seem likely that a director would sacrifice image richness for smoother motion, and it is not possible to have both.

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Of course it would work. You lose half the scanlines but retain the smooth motion. Why do you think sports broadcasts look so smooth? Hint: they're not 25/30 FPS. Read up on interlaced video if you still don't understand. –  Hugh Allen Mar 20 '13 at 1:29
    
@HughAllen Arguing this point with people here isn't going to result in the film being released in HFR. None of us has control over New Line/Warner Bros' home video divisions. –  user209 Mar 22 '13 at 14:26
    
@Keen, I was mainly pointing out that "not possible" is not the correct answer (I don't have enough rep to downvote), but you never know, someone from New Line might read this. –  Hugh Allen Mar 22 '13 at 14:48
    
@HughAllen Then self-answer your question already, assuming you will only accept that specific answer. –  user209 Mar 22 '13 at 14:53
    
@Keen that doesn't make sense. Just because something is possible (or easy) doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen. –  Hugh Allen Mar 22 '13 at 15:00

Any 1080p50 capable TV will be able to play a 1080p50 HDMI signal from a 1080p50 Blu Ray disc.

So there is no technical reason not to release a high frame rate Hobbit.

"Speeding the film up" is not a relevant technique for digital formats. It is exactly how films used to be transmitted for TV but that was all about aliasing. If the TV station played the film at 24 fps then the 50 field per second cameras would introduce stobing effects, so speeding the projector's motor up and locking it to the field rate made sense.

In the digital domain one has to resample the frames. For 24fps to 25fps a common standard is 3:2 pulldown: "Converting a slower frame rate to a faster one requires duplicating frames or fields. People have been transferring film to video for a long time. For NTSC the film is slowed down to 23.98, and then every other film frame is held for one extra field. (see diagram) This is called 3:2 pulldown. Some of the original film frames now begin on the second field of the video frame. This looks fine while being played, and can easily be removed for conversion to 25 frame PAL or 24 fps for DVD compression. However, if this material is edited without attention to keeping a steady 3:2:3:2:3:2 cadence, a clean frame rate conversion becomes nearly impossible." http://digitalcinemasociety.org/downloads/FrameRateConversionSimplified-N.pdf

This same approach would be used to resample 48 to 50.

The audio is not normally sampled at the same rate as the video and is typically at 48kHz even when the video is at another rate. The audio and the video are separately multiplexed into the MPEG transport stream and kept in sync using timestamps. Therefore there is no need to resample the audio when resampling the video.

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Repeating every 24th frame would introduce a once-per-second motion-glitch which would be distracting to watch. To eliminate that would require interpolation that is not easy to do right. It would either introduce extra motion blurring, or require motion interpolation. It is much better to do the 4% speedup and just display the untouched original frames, and the only real cost is to people with "perfect pitch" who might notice that the music is off-key by slightly more than a semitone (which can be corrected with signal processing, introducing other problems). –  Hugh Allen Mar 22 '13 at 22:49
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You can't just 'speed up by 4%' That's a meaningless concept in digital video when time is quantised. And you would not speed up the audio, you would resample it. I only gave the trivial frame repitition as a conceptual example. Here is a link to a better explanation digitalcinemasociety.org/downloads/… –  Julian Mar 24 '13 at 9:54
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I will quote from that very page you linked to: "Converting between 24 and 25 just requires speeding up or slowing down the source by 4.16% (Audio may require separate pitch and data-rate conversion)." Time is indeed quantised, but the point is that different standards have different time quanta. If the difference is small, it can be better not to do frame rate conversion (which results in a change in speed). Do you understand? –  Hugh Allen Mar 24 '13 at 12:43

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