Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 21, 2015 10 comments
While many of you can’t recall when the VCR shook up the TV landscape, I remember the transition to color television. It was an exciting time, but those new sets were very expensive relative to the average middle class income. They were also seldom larger than 21-inches—about the size of many of today’s computer monitors.

Understandably, many consumers waited years for color television to come down in price. I still remember relatives and family friends claiming that they were waiting for them to be perfected. If by “perfected” they meant that they wanted to see the technology stabilize, they’re waiting!

Technology is never stable. While the Ian Malcolm character in Jurassic Park may have said, “Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should,” (truly an odd statement coming from a scientist—oh wait, it came from a screenwriter) there’s always something new and enticing just over the next hill.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 16, 2015 4 comments
Last time around I wrote about my experience in viewing Dolby Vision projection, part of Dolby’s Digital Cinema initiative. It features a laser projector from Christie Digital designed specifically to offer higher dynamic range in a theatrical venue. The result was spectacular, but there was an additional reason for my trip back to California. The annual Orange county Hi-Fi show was held on the last weekend in May, and I spent three days there.

The OC show is more properly known as T.H.E. Show (The Home Entertainment Show) Newport Beach (though it was actually in Irvine). “Home Entertainment” is really too broad a term to describe its emphasis. It was, with only one or two exceptions, an exclusively two-channel audio show. There are a number of similar shows in the U.S. and Canada each year—far more than as little as three years ago. The reason for the growth of these shows is the shrinking number of dedicated audio dealers. Yes, the Best Buys, Targets, Costcos, and Walmarts of the world sell their share of audio-only gear. But with rare exceptions (most prominently the Magnolia shops located in or near a select number of Best Buys), the type of audio gear you’ll find in such stores rarely interests audiophiles.

In wide swaths of the country serious audio products simply cannot be auditioned anywhere...

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 17, 2006 2 comments

The pieces are rapidly falling onto place for Home Entertainment 2006, to be held from June 2 to June 4 at the Sheraton Gateway hotel in Los Angeles. It's the first time that this annual event has been held in the City of Angels since 1998—far too long a wait for those living here. If you're coming from out of town and plan to fly in, the hotel is located just a short shuttle ride from the airport. Even short enough to walk, if you aren't weighed down with baggage.

Filed under
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!

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 05, 2008 8 comments

I recently spent a weekend cleaning up my home office, the retreat where I write much of my deathless prose. I hadn't rummaged through some of my files for several years, but had to make room for the piles of new stuff that have managed to build up to the point where I couldn't find things. This sorting process invariably takes longer than you plan, as you find things that require instant action (as they did two years ago) and others that demand to be re-read and enjoyed again.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 18, 2006 4 comments

It has long been rumored that Sony is readying a new, lower-priced SXRD front projector to slot in under the current VPL-VW100. Now those rumors, while not yet confirmed, have more substance. The new projector is codenamed Pearl, and may have the official designation VPL-VW50. (The internal codename for the VPL-VW100, Ruby, has stuck as a name for that projector, though it appears in none of Sony's promotional materials). If the rumors pan out, the new projector will be introduced at the 2006 International Funkausstellung in Berlin in early September, and most certainly will have its official U.S. launch at the 2006 CEDIA EXPO in Denver two weeks later.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 09, 2012 0 comments
In our experience, most active 3D glasses are sensitive to head position or, more precisely, head tilt. With most of them, however, the effect is minor and limited to a slight darkening of the picture.

But Sony's active 3D glasses, up to now, have been different. When using the company's HDTV 3D glasses, a 3D image on the Sony displays we've tested doesn't darken as you tilt your head from side to side. Instead, the left and right images break up, producing significant 3D crosstalk or, as this artifact is more colorfully known, ghosting. In addition, the Sony's 3D color varies with head position, shifting reddish with a tilt in one direction from vertical and bluish in the other. The latter effect makes it impossible to do a reliable 3D calibration; one eyepiece of the 3D glasses has to be placed over the lens of the measurement meter for a 3D calibration, and even a slight tilt can affect the result. Fortunately, the Sony 3D sets we've tested recently have produced visually satisfying 3D color even without a 3D calibration, though it's unlikely to be accurate. Nevertheless, the head-tilt ghosting and color shifting are annoying.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 26, 2007 2 comments

With Sony's recent announcement that it is discontinuing production of all rear projection sets, both LCD and SXRD, in favor of its flat panel LCD Bravia line, the video display landscape is becoming noticeably thinner. Yes, many major companies—Panasonic, Samsung, and Mitsubishi among them, continue to turn out rear projection televisions. But is the handwriting on the wall for this type of display?

Filed under
Tom Norton Posted: May 01, 2013 1 comments
Last week Sony put on its best April clothes and entertained the foreign press in Los Angeles. Consumer electronics scribes attended from the U.K, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and likely others that I (with apologies) can’t recall. Only a few of local CE press were in attendance, including your humble reporter.
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 21, 2008 1 comments

You're got two displays; perhaps a plasma on the wall for day-to-day viewing and a projection screen that drops down in front of it for serious movie watching. Or you want to feed HDMI video to a small screen on your equipment rack as a monitor. Or…whatever. Up to now, it's been difficult to find an affordable device that will split an HDMI source in two. There are a number of such products on the market from companies like Gefen, Key Digital, and PureLink, but they tend to be expensive solutions to a relatively basic problem, often providing more flexibility than you need.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 24, 2015 9 comments
A recent article in the trade publication CE Pro surveyed several industry experts on the material they recommended to check out your subwoofer. I’ve now lost the article in preparing for my cross-country move—almost complete except for the small detail about getting the household furniture and goods delivered! But I do have some ideas of my own which may or may not overlap with that now missing article. I’ll concentrate here on movie soundtracks, in which the benefits of a subwoofer will be most obvious even with the largest main L/R speakers most listeners are likely to be using.
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 10, 2008 6 comments

I can't say I'm as big a <I>Star Trek</I> fan as some. I love the stories and characters, but I'm not into the minutiae. I don't know which deck sickbay is on, couldn't tell you the date the first Enterprise was launched (actually it was Stardate 1814, if you can believe Wikipedia), and don't know a word of Klingon.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 18, 2007 2 comments

DisplaySearch is a company that produces technology assessments, surveys, studies, and analyses of the current state of video display technology. Every year for the past four years they organize a two-day HDTV event. This year's, the DisplaySearch 5th Annual HDTV Conference, was held at the Hilton hotel at Universal City, CA.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 18, 2009 7 comments

It all started when I wondered what kind of audio I'd hear from the Blu-ray players I had on hand if I used them from their analog outputs. Most Blu-ray player reviews treat audio playback as a given. But is it?


Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.