'The Nativity Story' - High-Def Digest Review - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default 'The Nativity Story' - High-Def Digest Review

Aaron has reviewed 'The Nativity Story.' This is recommended. Here's why...

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Old 03-29-2013, 03:45 AM
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The Nativity Story Blu-ray (brief review)

On December 1st 2006 the Nativity Story was released in theaters in the United States. With a budget of 35 million dollars, this Christian movie is considered to be a high budget movie when compared to other modern Christian made movies. The Nativity Story box office sells were almost 46.5 million dollars. The 2004 Passion of the Christ movie had a budget of 30 million dollars and box office sells of almost 612 million dollars. The Passion of the Christ was a more popular Christian movie.

On March 5th 2013 The Nativity Story was released on the Blu-ray format for the very first time. The Nativity Story target audience is Christians and anyone else interested in learning about the birth of Jesus Christ. The Nativity Story movie overall is faithful to the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah and the New Testament historical record. The Nativity Story movie also mixes historical facts in with Christmas traditions regarding how many wise men there were. Like all or most Christian movies, The Nativity Story has a few historical errors.

Overall I really enjoyed The Nativity Story quality of production. Anyone interested in learning about the birth of Jesus Christ will most likely enjoy this movie.

Video comments

The Nativity Story contains two different optical disc formats. This Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is designed for families that have not yet upgraded all their DVD players to Blu-ray players. With standalone Blu-ray players now available for under $50 and low cost portable Blu-ray players available, I wish Warner Brothers would have released this movie in a Blu-ray only version. For example the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack list price is $19.98, however I would have rather seen a Blu-ray only version for around $14.99 list price for those consumers that own 100% Blu-ray players.

The 480i DVD version of The Nativity Story uses a total of 7.69GB of space on the dual layer 8.5GB DVD disc. What is disappointing is that The Nativity Story Blu-ray version is not on a dual layer 50GB disc with a high bit rate encode, instead The Nativity Story only uses exactly 20GB of space on a 25GB single layer Blu-ray disc. The MPEG-4/AVC bit rate appeared to be only around 21Mbps on average. Some scenes appeared a little soft while many scenes in the movie had excellent resolution detail with deep blacks. Overall, the video quality was very good and this 1080P Blu-ray version looks much better than the 480i DVD version (For those consumers that own the proper equipment and sit close enough to the screen, one will see a big picture quality improvement that the Blu-ray format offers). Also the 1080P 24fps Blu-ray looked better when compared to the 1080P 24fps lower bit rate MPEG-4 version that Direct TV offers around Christmas time. The Blu-ray disc also offers an English and Spanish subtitle option in the menu.

Audio comments

I enjoyed the 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio soundtrack of The Nativity Story on Blu-ray which was much better when compared to the 1080P Direct TV version which was only offered in lossy 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo. The Nativity Story Blu-ray with the 5.1 lossless audio soundtrack is bit for bit the same as the studio master. For many parts of the movie the sound comes out of the front speakers, however at times the rear speakers added nice depth and detail to the movie during certain scenes. Also a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack is offered for those that want to listen to the movie in Spanish. The Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo audio track is also encoded with Dolby Prologic information which means that when the Blu-ray player bitstreams the audio to a modern A/V receiver the matrix flag will tell the A/V receiver to turn on Dolby Prologic IIx decoder so the rear speakers and center channel will be active (rear speakers are mono surround and not discrete).

Extra features

The only exclusive features located on the 480i DVD that is not found on the 1080P Blu-ray version is the exclusive “DVD-ROM features” and the “sneak peeks”. The sneak peaks section on the DVD is mostly made up of several secular movie trailers.

When it comes to the Blu-ray version of The Nativity Story, Christian families will be happy to know that there is no secular movie trailers at all. As soon as the Blu-ray disc is inserted, a brief New Line Home Entertainment High Definition logo is displayed in 1080P MPEG-4/AVC with 5.1 Dolby Digital and then the main menu screen for The Nativity Story is displayed. The Blu-ray disc main menu is 1080P MPEG-4/AVC with Dolby Digital 2.0 and encoded with a Dolby Prologic surround encode. There are three Special Features on the Blu-ray disc: “Trailer #1, “Teaser Trailer”, and “Behind the Scenes: The Nativity Story: A Director’s Journey”. “Trailer #1” lasts 2 minutes and 34 seconds. “Trailer #1” uses 1080P MPEG-4/AVC and 2.0 Dolby Digital with a Dolby Prologic matrix surround encode for those that own an A/V receiver. The “Teaser Trailer” last a total of 1 minute and 16 seconds. The “Teaser Trailer” uses 1080P MPEG-4/AVC and 5.1 Dolby Digital.

The “Behind the Scenes: The Nativity Story: A Director’s Journey” is an exclusive extra feature that is only found on the Blu-ray disc. It is an interesting 23 minute and 13 second documentary on making the movie. The documentary begins by saying that the director set out to bring The Nativity Story to the screen with as much historical accuracy and integrity as possible. The “Behind the Scenes: The Nativity Story: A Director’s Journey” is 480i MPEG-4/AVC with 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo. The documentary is encoded with Dolby Prologic surround information and the matrix flag will activate the Dolby Prologic IIx decoder when one bitstreams the audio to a modern A/V receiver.

I was disappointed that no audio commentary exists for The Nativity Story.


The Nativity Story is an excellent Christian movie about the history and tradition of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Blu-ray version is clearly the best way to watch the movie in ones home since The Nativity Story has never looked or sounded this good before.
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