Finally got round to watching the first in the classic trilogy of the newly released Star Wars DVD box set last night. What instantly struck me was the amazing quality of digitally restored transfer.
The picture looks fresh and is clean of all the nasty scratches and grain which mar previous VHS (and dodgy DivX) releases. The badly degraded master prints were restored by film restoration expert John Lowry of Lowry Digital Images who made his name restoring other classics like ‘Indiana Jones‘. The process by which they do this is quite fascinating but needless to say it involves a fair few powerful computers and some very complex algorithms. For more information on subject take a look here and here.
As for the changes which George Lucas has made to the film, which fans love to obsess and argue over, I see no real cause for concern. The films are basically the same as the 1997 re-release versions with a few minor tweaks made, mainly for consistency with the other films. For an exhaustive list of the changes (with pictures) see here.