A/V VETERAN

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 04, 2010 3 comments

I could argue that the opening salvo of this report was delayed because I wanted the entire piece, which will appear in periodic postings over the next few weeks, to appear in 2010. Or that I figured no one would be watching during the holidays, tied up as they were with festooning the house with LEDs, pondering whether to send real cards or new e-cards (when you care enough to e-mail the very best), or spending hours lined up for <I>Avatar</I>.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2010 11 comments

Finally we get to the meat of the subject. In this installment I'll give my impressions of the sound quality of the players under test, as heard from their analog outputs with 2-channel CDs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2006 Published: Oct 01, 2006 1 comments

I leave tomorrow for a week in Japan, courtesy of Sharp. We will, of course, visit Sharp factories, but another main event on the trip is CEATAC, the annual "Japanese CES." It actually isn't anywhere near as big as CES, but it is a show with a unique flavor all its own. And while I'm not sure we'll see anything we didn't see at the recent CEDIA Expo, you never know. Products are often introduced in Japan before they're exported overseas.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 23, 2014 4 comments
(Mildly revised)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Papa was puzzled, but he didn’t grouse.

The toys weren’t assembled, the hour was late And Ma was exhausted, her patience not great.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds While visions of video games danced in their heads.
And with Ma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap We were far from enjoying a long winter's nap.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 11, 2014 12 comments
I recently completed a review of The Right Stuff on Blu-ray, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Sound & Vision as well as on this website. Since space is limited in my print review, I've decided to dedicate this blog to how I evaluated the 96kHz audio offered on the disc.

Last year, Dolby announced a new variation on its TrueHD audio codec for Blu-ray, a process that uses 96kHz upsampling of the. Its purpose is to eliminate some common digital artifacts (see Geoff Morrison's article for a more detailed explanation of how this works).

The process has only been used to date, however, on a few releases. The Right Stuff, originally released on Blu-ray in November 2013, was supposed to be one them. Through a mastering error, however, the process was not engaged. Now, two months later, Warner Brothers has re-released the film with the 96kHz upsampled soundtrack.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 10, 2014 3 comments
Rummaging through my piles of lost papers the other day, I came across the following pearls of wisdom. Nothing on the paper indicated where it came from, or to whom it should be attributed. It has the ironic angle of the late Stereophile founder J. Gordon Holt, but may well have come from elsewhere. In any case, here it is for your delectation. I’ll add my own comments in a future blog entry, but leave this to speak for itself for now:
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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: Sep 20, 2013 0 comments
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Follow the yellow brick road. And your little dog, too! I’m melting! Ding dong the witch is dead. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The Wizard of Oz has likely contributed as much to the American lexicon as anything prior to Star Trek. (Just kidding— though “I’m giving ‘er all she’s got, Capt’n, He’s dead, Jim, Engage, Fascinating, Make it so, and I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer” do have their loyal fans.) The movie wasn’t a huge hit when it first opened in 1939, but it made up for it years later, particularly starting in the 1950s when it became an annual TV event.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 08, 2006 Published: Oct 09, 2006 0 comments

Recording comes to HD DVD, but only in Japan for now, with this Toshiba HD DVD player/recorder/hard drive PVR.

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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: Jan 27, 2015 1 comments
The 2015 International CES is over, but the melody lingers on. The big news in video, of course, is that Ultra HD is coming to us like a great singer who is pushed out on stage knowing the tune but not the lyrics. The result might be a stirring vocalization of “Over the Rainbow,” but the only words the singer can think of are the lyrics to “Does Your Chewing Gum Loose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight.”

In short, most (but not all) of the sets launched at the show still feature only one of the important features of Ultra HD: 4K resolution...

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