A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 21, 2006 0 comments

I always find it odd when they refer to movie <I>previews</I> (what everyone I knew called them when I was growing up in Connecticut) as <I>trailers</I>. Trailers (okay, I surrender) are mini movies, assembled for one purpose: to put asses (pun not…oh, never mind) in the seats for the film itself.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 17, 2006 3 comments

After an extended absence, our popular opinion poll is back!
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To check it out, either click on the "Vote" section in the link line just below the <I>Ultimate AV</I> logo on the top of our home page, or go directly there from <A HREF=" http://cgi.ultimateavmag.com/cgi-bin/displayvote.cgi">here</A>.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 10, 2006 3 comments

I saw <I>King Kong</I> &mdash;twice&mdash; theatrically, in the "standard" auditoriums of the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood (not the Cinerama Dome where it was also playing, for reasons I described in an earlier blog, "<I>King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries</I>," below). It was, without question, the best theatrical film presentation I've seen in years. I wrote about the DVD in our most recent e-Newsletter, which will show up in your mailbox in a few days. (You do subscribe don't you? It's free, just go <A HREF=" http://www.ultimateavmag.com/newsletter_subscribe/?Your%20E-mail ">here</A>to sign up.)

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 01, 2006 2 comments

The Blu-ray group has just announced that it is merging with the HD-DVD consortium to produce a consolidated format for high definition on a packaged disc.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 31, 2006 0 comments

During a gala event last night at Ken Cranes Home Entertainment on the tony west side of Los Angeles, LG Electronics hosted the launch of its long-awaited 71-inch plasma display, the MW-71PY10. As the press handout states, it's the first plasma you can speak of in feet, not inches (they should have made it an even six feet&mdash;what's an itty bitty inch among friends).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 21, 2006 5 comments

As the old saying goes, what if they started a war and nobody came? That seems to be the case with the simmering format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. To the consumer who bothers to keep up on developments, it must look like a phony war.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 11, 2006 8 comments

Last time I mentioned a letter from a reader asking me to recommend great movie theaters he should check out on a visit to Los Angeles. I also suggested that out-of-towners visiting The Big Orange for our upcoming Home Entertainment 2006 show on June 2-4 (you are coming, right?) might want to include a visit to one or more of the best theaters in the world in their plans&mdash;particularly if they're from a theater-challenged part of the country. There are new multiplexes in LA <I>suburbs</I>, for example, that are likely better than any movie theater in the entire state of New Mexico (I know from experience, having lived in Santa Fe for 10 years and visited most of the theaters there and in nearby Albuquerque, the state's biggest city by far).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 07, 2006 Published: Mar 08, 2006 0 comments

Our annual Home Entertainment show, sponsored by Primedia's home tech and photography publications&mdash;<I>Ultimate AV</I>, <I>Stereophile</I>, <I>Home Theater</I>, <I>Audio Video Interiors</I>, and <I>Shutterbug</I>&mdash;is still three months away. But time has a way of catching us off guard. If you plan on attending from out of town, you need to make plans now!

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 01, 2006 8 comments

With the HD DVD competition set to launch within a month, Sony invited members of the CE press to the Sony Studios in Culver City, California for an update on Blu-ray technology and a demonstration of that format's formidable capabilities.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 22, 2006 3 comments

It was the most ambitious do-it-yourself carpentry work I've done in five years, ever since I covered the windows in my home theater studio to shut out the light and minimize extraneous outside sounds. The latest project involved building a false wall directly in front of an existing wall, not only to conveniently hang an expected ongoing parade of flat panel displays coming in for review, but also to facilitate a planned series of on-wall speaker reviews. There's no question that on-wall speakers are a significant trend, and one that we can't continue to ignore here at <I>Ultimate AV</I>. As for in-walls, well, that's a project for the future.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 12, 2006 4 comments

Last week the local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, KABC, became the first station in California (or so they said) to broadcast their local news programs in high definition. That includes the midday, late afternoon, early evening, and late night editions. And while that might not raise hosannas for a station whose idea of news includes shameless plugs for what's coming up that evening on <I>Dance With the Stars</I>, when you've got endless hours of news time to fill, what do you expect&mdash;an in-depth analysis of what's happening at city hall?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2006 0 comments

Steven Soderbergh's feature film, <I>Bubble</I>, premiered last week in high definition on HDNet. It also opened simultaneously in several dozen theaters around the country, all of them either Landmark theaters (owned by HDNet owner Mark Cuban) or independent art houses. Theater chains boycotted the film because in its simultaneous release on cable television, in theaters, and (this past Tuesday) on DVD, it represented a perceived threat to their box office revenue.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 25, 2006 5 comments

Broadcasters are getting serious about HDTV, and for that we're all grateful. But some of them, and their sponsors, still don't get it.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 18, 2006 0 comments

If you're an old hand at this home theater audio business, you know that both Dolby Digital and DTS first appeared in theaters, then on laserdiscs, and finally moved on to DVD. Because of the limited data space for audio on all of these delivery systems, the audio had to be heavily compressed&mdash;not in dynamic range (a common misconception) but to reduce the space it takes up on the film or disc. Both DTS and Dolby Digital use sophisticated encoding schemes to allow them to save space by discarding data that are not deemed audible. This "perceptual coding," together with other clever tricks, allow full-bodied, powerful sound to be squeezed into that itty-bitty living space.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 03, 2006 3 comments

This is the week. Throngs of unsuspecting innocents are expected to descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center. (That's in Nevada, not Las Vegas, NM. Yes, there is such a place, but they don't hold conventions (there aren't enough rooms at the Motel 6).

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