Since the 1990s (and even earlier, through tape trades conducted through soap opera newsletters), many Another World episodes have been available to fans.
The AWHP established the AWVL to funnel its own collections, acquired over the years from various sources from reclusive collectors to television producers who were able to acquire direct master copies from the actual P&G archives.
The show itself didn't start making it a habit to save episodes until almost 1980 (best estimates place the exact date around October 1, 1979). Material from 1964-1979 existed (and some still exists, unattainable) in private hands, usually contemporaneous AW actors/producers.
From the 1990s to the 2000s, the AWVL distributed VHS copies. In the 2000s, the episodes were digitized to VCD MPEG-1 and distributed on DVD.
Between 2003 and 2010, P&G and its spin-off company Telenext Media distributed episodes via on-line services and TV cable stations.
From July 2003 to April 2007, SOAPnet, an ABC channel, rebroadcast 975 episodes. The episodes in question originally aired on NBC from July 1, 1987 to May 10, 1991.
From 2006 to January 2009, 323 episodes were made available through America Online's AOL Video service, downloadable free of charge. The episodes in question originally aired on NBC from August 1, 1980 to November 19, 1981.
From July 29, 2008 to October 21, 2010, the video streaming website Hulu released 360 episodes online. As of December 2009, the same episodes seen through Hulu were also available on Telenext Media's official YouTube channel. The episodes in question originally aired on NBC from May 10, 1991 (the last one that SOAPnet had aired) to October 5, 1992.
Starting in the 2010s, all of the aforementioned digitized episodes (including the AWVL's own collection) became directly available online, either through storage sites like SendSpace or through video sharing sites like YouTube and DailyMotion.
Storage sites are expensive, and without a financing plan in place, they folded, including the AWVL's own attempt to maintain an online storage library. Today, you'll find most of the material that had been once available on VHS available for viewing/downloading on YouTube.
The problem though is that YouTube re-encodes everything when a video is uploaded, with most often the end result being videos of substantially poorer quality. YouTube will even shrink the dimensions of the original video in some cases. This is true even when uploading an MP4 file (the preferred YouTube format) that has been specifically encoded with optimal settings for use on YouTube. YouTube will also mute the audio, delete videos, and even delete complete channels without warning. Though YouTube is a convenient way to view videos, there is simply no way to view (or share) the original file in its original unaltered format and level of uncompressed quality there.
Our hope is to find a new, better, and hopefully more permanent way to not only re-share these episodes via AWHP, but to share even better quality versions of what was previously available, as well as ones that weren't and aren't available anywhere else. We have begun the task of encoding episodes directly from the original VHS tapes into full MPEG-2 DVD versions using a top of the line Pioneer DVD recorder, with audio software used as needed to remove wind noise and enhance overall audio quality. If you have any questions or insight you'd like to share about the technical aspects of the encoding process, or better still have tapes you'd like to share (loan or sell), please contact our encoder Dan at email@example.com
These will be freely shared over the internet, and we are currently exploring low-cost feasible options. If you have any ideas in this regard, please share them.
On the pages below you'll find evolving lists of the AW episodes available online, along with their original source, their current location for downloading/viewing, and their quality. Our main priority will be listing the status and availability of our improved re-encoded versions, but as well we hope to maintain a comprehensive list of all the episodes that have been digitized and placed online.
AWVL MASTER EPISODE LISTS - DIGITAL ENCODES
Many of these new encodes will actually be re-encodes of episodes mentioned earlier that AWVL digitized in the 2000s using the VCD MPEG-1 format. Much like YouTube, although convenient in terms of saving space, the VCD MPEG-1 format unfortunately heavily compresses both video and audio, meaning a low quality encode. DVD MPEG-2 on the other hand produces a good quality encode (depending on the VHS source quality of course) with full uncompressed video and audio. MP4 versions will also be created. Although these will be smaller in terms of file size, the quality will remain virtually identical to the DVD MPEG-2 encodes.
Here is a rundown of the differences between VCD MPEG-1 and DVD MPEG-2, followed by screenshots and sample video clips:
VCD MPEG-1 resolution is 352x240. This is half the horizontal and vertical resolution of NTSC video (DVD) and approximately half the resolution of an analog VHS tape which is ~330 horizontal and 480 vertical (NTSC).
Overall VCD picture quality is intended to be comparable to VHS video, however VCD video can often be of lower quality than VHS video, for example exhibiting VCD block artifacts (rather than the analog noise seen in VHS sources). Producing VCDs involves stripping out high and low frequency sounds from the video, resulting in lower audio quality than VHS. VCD audio is MPEG Layer 2 224 kbps.
On the other hand, DVD MPEG-2 encoding produces full resolution video (720x480) with no block artifacts, and full audio quality (which will further be enhanced by removing extra wind noise when needed). DVD audio is Dolby Digital 256 kbps.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some screenshots that illustrate how the new DVD encodes look compared to the old VCD ones:
BEFORE (old VCD MPEG-1 encode)
AFTER (new DVD MPEG-2 encode)
As you can see, not only is the new encode sharper/clearer, but the colors (particularly the skin tones) are much improved with none of the rainbow-like color distortions present anymore.
Below you can download 2 clips (one encoded to VCD MPEG-1 and the other to DVD MPEG-2), which really shows the differences and improvements. Both clips were made from the same old 2nd generation VHS tape:
Along with re-encoding old VHS tapes to DVD MPEG-2, we are also constantly looking for better source recordings, so if you have anything you would like to contribute or share, whether they be VHS tapes or alternate/better digital encodes, please let us know. Some of the video files we are currently trying to acquire copies of would be the original AOL files that were made available (we have 13 of them in WMV and FLV format – the rest of our videos are VCD MPEG-1 conversions). We are also looking for possibly higher quality videos from the HULU period, and to complete our SOAPnet episode airings.