The two top spotlight reviews on Amazon had these interesting bits:
Before buying this set I would strongly encourage you to use a web search tool for '"Upstairs, Downstairs" US DVD' and see for yourself just how bad the picture is on these DVDs. . . . I own over 400 DVDs, have rented many more than that, and have never seen a worse transfer to DVD.
The next comment said:
I have no idea why some of the reviewers are complaining about the audio and video quality of these DVDs. . . . I suppose, if you are some type of audio/video expert you might find a few reasons to complain, but this is a 35 year old British TV show. If you expect special effects, buy Star Wars, not Upstairs Downstairs.
I am with the second guy. Jeez, these things were done in the early 70s on videotape, because it was a fairly new medium at the time and cheaper than film, and the people producing this for the BBC had very little money. I first saw these when I was in high school watching Masterpiece Theater, and later saw occasional reruns. The box set hasn't arrived yet, but I'm not expecting garish production values, just the terrific stories and acting that I remember. Yeah, I know about the limitations, and the need to use your imagination, since the doorways in this grand London mansion barely clear the actors' heads. But it's the human drama I want, not spectacle.
Which means I have reached the point where I can honestly say, "You damn kids just don't know how good you've got it." I am officially entering old coot-hood.