These old TV series are such classics, that the storyli

lines and the acting were not the problem,” says Pei Yinxiang, an IT engineer from Youku. “There was something wrong with the quality of the images.”

While vintage roles and stories may be able to survive the test of time,

the pictures cannot. When the blurred images and dark colors flicker onto the scree

ns of modern digital devices, which are set up for high-definition viewing, the viewers’ lukewarm response was easy to predict.

“The original tapes were often scratched or tarnished by mildew after being stored for such a lo

ng time,” Pei explains. “You can imagine what they will look like on online streaming media.”

Consequently, Youku launched a project to digitally restore these old drama series in November.

While the restoration of old films is commonplace in the movie indus

try, this kind of work on TV series is rare in China, largely because of the length of time it takes.

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