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A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 06, 2009 3 comments

Time for a dip in the summer movie pool. My splashing around has so far been limited to Star Trek and Up, but both, in their own ways, are the best of the summer lot so far (as of early June). Yea, I know, it's not even summer yet. But don't tell Hollywood. In any case, I can hardly wait for the Blu-rays of both of these films, sure to be coming to your local video store in the fall.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 20, 2005 0 comments

"Buy any 61-inch or larger Samsung HDTV or any Samsung 1080p HDTV and receive a high definition, upconverting DVD player."

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 25, 2006 Published: Jun 26, 2006 6 comments

It's hard to fight the notion that an upconverting DVD player works some kind of magic on the lowly, standard definition DVD. I've written about this before, but if recent Internet forum traffic is any indication, the confusion continues.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 29, 2013 4 comments
Despite all the talk about 4K (or Ultra HD) displays, there are already a bazillion hours of “standard” 2K HD programming out there in videoland. Consumer 4K sources will be slow in coming, and they might well arrive over the Internet. The question remains as to whether or not the inherent data rate limitations of streaming video could dilute or eliminate the supposed benefits of 4K resolution—apart from the marketing hype.

Over the next couple of years, therefore, and assuming that 4K sets take fire in the marketplace, the smart money will be on upconverting 2K sources to 4K. No form of upconverting can add real resolution; genuine Ultra HD starts and ends with 4K resolution. Nevertheless, we expect plenty of action on the 2K to 4K upconversion front. Since consumer 2K is largely (though not entirely) 1920 x 1080 pixels, and consumer 4K is 3840 x 2160, it would appear that such upconversion might simply involve taking the content of each 2K pixel and quadrupling it (with no added enhancement) to fill a 2 x 2 pixel area on the 4K display. But that will gain nothing in subjective resolution, and may actually reduce image quality due to the added processing required. Most upconversion, therefore, will likely include enhancement and/or other digital manipulation, designed to both eliminate possible upconversion losses and better simulate the look of true 4K.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 09, 2007 0 comments

I predicted years ago that we would be downloading music over the Internet long before <I>high quality</I> downloads were possible. That's the state we're in at present. Downloads that offer genuine CD-quality sound (forget about downloads up to SACD or DVD-Audio standards) are still more a promise than a reality.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 27, 2014 3 comments
Some months back I ran across a region-free Blu-ray of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra’s 2014 New Year’s Concert (Sony Classical). I already owned the 2012 edition (it’s an annual event, as you might have guessed!), which I hadn’t yet watched. The price was right for this 2014 version, so I added it to my collection. That is, I added it to my shelf of as yet unseen Blu-ray discs (I suspect all serious collectors have such a shelf). It waited there patiently until I felt the need to pull out a few potentially good sounding concert Blu-rays. This one seemed like a good candidate, so I popped it into my Oppo player.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 01, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>George Lucas is a fan. I don't mean of <I>Star Wars</I> (though he is, I suspect, that, too); rather, he's a fan of digital cinema. And he wanted his magnum opus, <I>Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith</I>, to play in digital on the biggest screens in the world. That covers a lot of territory, but the screen at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, which measures 32 by 86 feet, just might be the biggest anywhere.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 28, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>I'm a huge fan of having a physical copy of video content (high-definition or otherwise) for my own personal use any time I see fit. The downloading paradigm scares me. It opens up all sorts of ways for the provider to stick it to the consumer. How about paying <I>every</I> time you want to watch? How about additional compression so our downloaded movies are "High-Definition Quality," like those "CD-quality" MP3s? How about spyware or adware along for the ride? Pop-up ads in mid-movie, anyone?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 19, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Your favorite <I>first-run</I> movies could be coming soon to a theater near you&mdash;your own home theater&mdash;in full high definition.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 31, 2004 Published: Jan 01, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Big things are happening on the <I>Ultimate AV website</I> (<A HREF="http://www.ultimateAVmag.com">www.ultimateAVmag.com</A>). Go there and you'll find the hottest new addition to the <I>Stereophile UltimateAV</I> world: our very own <I>eNewsletter</I>. Want more information on how to improve your home theater system? You'll find it. Want to know what's happening in the fast-changing AV world? You got it. Want to know what you should look out for in HDTV, or how that latest and greatest big Hollywood blockbuster DVD really stacks up? We'll tell you about it. There will be a new edition every month. It's yours free for just signing up, so check it out now!

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 24, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>So many little things have flown over the transom this month (does anyone even have a transom anymore?) that a lapse into blogging mode seemed the best way to clear them out.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 31, 2004 Published: Jan 01, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><I>Ultimate AV is going completely to bits! But not to pieces. </I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 25, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>One of the hot, media-centric topics these days is Digital Rights Management, or DRM. I touched on this topic in a <A href="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/news/041405DRM/">report</A> on the recent Digital Hollywood conference. Put simply but politely, it involves managing how and what an individual may do with program material to which others own the copyright. Put more bluntly, it involves how to keep the public from making copies that Hollywood considers illegitimate and thus deny Hollywood the income it feels would otherwise come from the sale of that material.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 26, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>"Sell the Mercedes! Hock the mink!" So wrote a still-active audio scribe (Peter Moncrieff) a quarter century ago while reviewing a pricey (for the time) tube preamp. Today, you can still pay more than the price of a Mercedes for an amplifier or speakers. And while few people today would be caught alive wearing a dead rat, the proverbial mink coat wouldn't go far toward the price of that top-drawer, custom home theater installation, either.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 14, 2004 Published: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>The booths are disassembled, the carpets are rolled up and stored, and the showgoers are back at their day jobs. CEDIA Expo 2004 is over, and there's no doubt that the planning for 2005 began the day after this year's installment closed.

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