I'm sorry to hear about your PAL capable player, RussianCabbie.
QuinnSlidr -- I've generally found that the episodes from "Summer of Love" to "Luck of the Draw" are not AI upscalable due to having been transferred to low-res analog videotape that has lost all the film grain needed for an AI re-rendering. But I'll be curious to know if you get different results. The other issue is, of course, the aliasing issues on five episodes of Season 1.
I looked into the aliasing issue some more when I probably could've been eating lunch and...
Wide Shot Woes and Jagged Edges: A lot of the AI sharpened wide shots from specific Season 1 episodes of the Universal DVD looked bad after AI upscaling, even when the AI was just to deblock, deartifact, and leave the 480 image at 480. There was a weird broken stained glass effect across those shots. This was particularly present in "Prince of Wails," "Fever," "Last Days," "Eggheads" and "Luck of the Draw." These are the episodes with severe aliasing issues which lead to flickering, jagged edges on straight lines that I think confuse the AI in what pixels to add even for simple cleanup (and it was already confused by the lack of film grain). These jagged edges are in the raw DVD files.
A Normal Amount: "Summer of Love" and "The King is Back" don't have this problem. There are a couple shots in "The Weaker Sex" where aliasing is present (the scene when a woman stops her car in front of Rembrandt when he's singing on the street) -- and it isn't severe and at a fairly normal level for DVD, an interlaced medium. But it is really bad on the other five episodes.
Odd and Even Fields: SLIDERS was shot on film but transferred to videotape, an interlaced format where the video signal contains two fields (even and odd) for rendering the image. Most interlaced video will suffer from at least a little aliasing (like in "The Weaker Sex"), but when these two fields aren't aligned correctly, it will be glaring and distracting.
How Did This Happen? It looks like when Universal made the DVDs in 2004, the process for identifying odd and even fields from analog videotape for digital file conversion was limited. Rather than convert each videotape twice and choose the file that turned out correctly, Universal chose randomly, got it right three times out of eight (four out of nine if you count the pilot), and didn't bother to re-encode for the five that they got wrong.
Our Mill Creek Enemies: The Mill Creek DVDs have the same aliasing issues on the same scenes.
Our German Allies: Turbine, while using poorer quality PAL masters, doesn't have aliasing issues on their SD blu-ray. They may have received videotapes and transferred the fields correctly through 2016 technology or trial and error. (I mean, you only have to do it twice to get it right.) They may have received PAL digital files that didn't have the field errors (although given Universal's ineptitude, it seems unlikely). They may have received digital files with field errors but corrected them. They don't remember if they received digital files or videotapes.
Can this be fixed? I can't seem to do it easily. Handbrake has a "Chroma Smooth" function for this sort of distortion, but it blurs the whole image and those jagged, flickering lines still remain. Topaz has a few "anti-aliasing" presets, but it can't seem to smooth out the issue either; it's meant for reducing low levels of aliasing correctly encoded interlaced video, not video that's swapped the odd and even fields. There are a number of deinterlacing filters I could try and Turbine probably has the right software for it.
CPU Without GPU: AVIDemux has a bunch of options for deinterlacing and swapping the fields, but AVIDemux doesn't use my graphics processing card, instead using only the CPU. CPU-only video processing is very slow, so for me, trying different deinterlacing processes to find the right one would take hours for each one just to complete a five minute clip -- and I refuse to this any more.
Resignation: I refuse to spend any more time trying to clean up the hackwork done by Universal's home video department which they refused to perform properly even with simple trial and error back in 2004. Which they refused to correct even when they had years before sending the files to Mill Creek and Hulu and Peacock and Netflix. I am done trying to upscale the Universal DVD files. Universal is incompetent. It's not my job to fix their work. I will never put another disc from the Dual Dimension set into one of of my drives again.
Turbine: I put the Turbine version of "Prince of Wails" through Topaz this morning. No upscaling to a higher resolution, just trying to AI sharpen away the blurriness. It just finished and it looks to be on the same level of sharpness as the Universal version of this episode -- not terrific, but not downright fuzzy. It's good enough to scale via Lanczos to 1080p and it doesn't have Universal's field errors. I'm going to run the sharpening on all the Turbine versions of the non-Pilot Season 1 episodes and upscale them to 1080p via Lanczos.
Curiosity: "Prince of Wails," "Fever," "Last Days," "Eggheads" and "Luck of the Draw" will definitely be replaced with the Turbine-based upscales. "Summer of Love" off the Turbine version is really blurry and discoloured, but it'd still be worth it to see the results. "The Weaker Sex" and "The King is Back" might be best as the versions sourced from Universal, but it'd be nice to complete the set with them.
Good bye, Universal's Dual Dimension set -- and good riddance. (The Pilot, "Summer of Love," "The Weaker Sex" and "The King is Back" looked good, though.)