I'm not quite sure what Danny_boy is saying, but it is quite absurd to say that the 1982 VHS is a faithful guage of the quality of seeing the film in theatre, in terms of resolution.
Film and video really have no fixed "resolution" in the sense of how much detail you see. What you really want to be measuring is resolving power. I can transfer a hi-8 home movie upscaled to Blu Ray and it will be 1920x1080, but that measurement doesn't tell me anything about how much detail I can see. In general, a good theatrical print in decent condition should yield the same amount of detail as a middle-of-the-road Blu-ray. The 1982 Star Wars VHS is a horrible guage of seeing a print, it's soft and mushy, there's no fine detail, the colour is washed out, there's tape noise and tape hiss, and the colour space is very narrow.
Also, the 1982 telecine probably just came from a regular print, possibly a low-con one made for video but at that point in time it wasn't unusual to just get a regular print and make a telecine, because VHS back then was so soft you didn't really need to. It may have even been from a 16mm print, as television movies were commonly printed on 16mm back then.
Finally, I'm not sure why you would assume no one would want to see the camera negative, as this is what most restorations are made from, including the 2004/11 version of Star Wars; unless you meant an un-colour-corrected version, as the camera negative is not meant to be seen "raw". But then no print is ever seen raw, IPs and positive release prints are always colour timed when they get transferred.
(Yeah--lol!---I was refering to the raw camera negative!)
I actually have both PAl and NTSC copies of the 1982 1st official release.
They are both panned and scanned from the same print but with slightly different decisions as to what area of the film frame is telecined.
The PAL version is much sharper and clearer.
So you guys stateside have always been slightly short changed in terms of picture quality.
And I never said that the VHS(be it PAL or NTSC) was an accurate representation of the average theatrical print---and I should know:
I actually had the priveledge of watching SW,ESB and ROTJ in a triple bill back in August 83'(aged 9)---but you can guess how me and my mates pumped ourselves up for that warm August evening----we watched that practically brand new(at that point) 1982 tape before heading off to the cinema!
And yeah----the distinction between what we could see at home and what we saw on the big screen that night was like night and day.
But a whole generation would grow up(I am one of them) watching these very tapes without the slightest concern for dulled lightsabers,matte lines ,choppy audio and tape hiss---it is a physical product of that time----and we were just psyched just to be able to watch the film in the comfort of our own homes.
And still to this day I can still derive more joy from watching this 30 year old tape than from a modern blu ray transfer-----purely for nostalgic, sentimental aswell as aesthetic reasons ( i love seeng that dirt and torn sprockets holes!--)------it has nothing to do with the picture and audio quality----I love the story and the chracters, the editing---the enviroments--- the special effects---all of these factors are exactly the same irrespective of whether you watch it on 70mm screen or a VHS tape.
And the dirt and torn sprockets holes and mono sound is what most fans would have experienced when they saw the films theatrically in that era.