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HBO’s Christmas Gift: The Wire in HD to launch on December 26

If you have been holding out on watching (or rewatching) HBO’s The Wire, be sure to tune into HBO GO on December 26 as a remastered, high definition version of the show will be made available to fans. All five seasons of the show originally aired in 4:3 format, namely because the adoption rate of high definition televisions was extremely low when the show launched during 2002.

Utilizing the original 35mm negative of the show, the 16:9 remaster of the entire series will be available in 1080p resolution on both cable and digital distribution channels. According to an HBO representative, the “original negatives were scanned, edited, dust-busted and color-corrected with great care and attention taken to stay true to the look and feel of the original standard-definition 4×3 version.”

For HBO subscribers on cable, fans of the show can set their DVR to record a marathon of the series that will be played on HBO Signature on December 26 and eventually completed by December 30. In addition, anyone that uses digital video series like iTunes, Vudu, Xbox Video or Google Play will be able to purchase the series starting January 5. The remastered series will also be made available on Blu-ray, but those discs won’t be distributed until summer 2015.

Interestingly, today’s press release from HBO made no mention of making the 1080p remaster available on Amazon Instant Video. Due to a multi-year licencing deal with Amazon, Prime customers can access a variety of HBO shows for no additional cost over Amazon Instant Video. All five seasons of The Wire are included in that deal, but will likely be limited to the 4:3 version of the show.

Set in Baltimore, the show examines multiple facets of the city’s drug problem from the perspective of the police, drug dealers, dock workers, the city government, inner city schools and the media. The show also helped launch the careers of Idris Elba (Thor, Pacific Rim) and Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead).