Superbit was a brand of premium DVD-Video versions of motion pictures from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Superbit DVDs aimed to improve picture quality over a standard DVD edition of a feature by increasing the bit rate of the encoded video. Audio quality was also improved by the mandatory inclusion of both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround audio tracks.
Superbit discs can be read by all regular DVD video players, but their film files were encoded at a bit rate that is, according to Sony, approximately 1.5 times as high (6-7 Mbit/s vs 4-5 Mbit/s) as that of standard DVDs, which helps minimize artifacts caused by video compression and allow the image to be pre-filtered less prior to compression, which results in more detail. Superbit should not be confused with either Blu-ray or HD DVD discs, both of which are different media formats of much higher bit rate and resolution, and are incompatible with standard DVD video players.
To maximize space for the main feature, static menus are used and commentary tracks are removed. To further improve the size and therefore quality of the film on the disc, Superbit discs contained a reduced amount (and usually are completely devoid) of so-called added value and bonus material, such as documentaries or interviews, which can be found on regular DVDs. All Superbit releases present a film in its theatrical aspect ratio.
The Superbit line launched in October 2001 with five titles: The Fifth Element, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Air Force One, Desperado and Johnny Mnemonic. Following the initial release of the Superbit line, Superbit Deluxe was introduced, which bundled a Superbit-quality feature with a second disc containing the special features. In January 2007, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment discontinued its Superbit line in order to promote its Blu-ray Disc format. Superbit never became a mainstream favorite of consumers, and retailers were very supportive of Sony officially dropping the product line. Industry sources indicate that at its peak, Superbit titles typically sold 2% of the title's regular DVD version.
Sony's Superbit Collection had a limited number of titles, many of which were re-releases of previous best-sellers. The titles available vary between DVD region.
Superbit Deluxe (2-Disc)
- The Bridge on the River Kwai
- Charlie's Angels (Superbit Deluxe)/Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Special Edition)
- Charlie's Angels (Superbit Deluxe Collection 2-Disc Set)
- Hollow Man
- The Mask of Zorro
- The Patriot
- http://www.sonypictures.com/cthe/superbit/catalog.html Superbit Catalog Sony Pictures' catalog of Superbit DVDs. (No longer available)
- http://www.sonypictures.com/cthe/superbit/what_is_superbit.html What is Superbit? Advertisement page which briefly explains the Superbit format. (No longer available)
- http://www.hifi-writer.com/he/superbit/superbit.htm What are Superbit DVDs, and do they actually make a difference? Close examination of several Region 2 & 4 Superbit DVDs.