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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 28, 2005 2 comments

You could write a book about how loudspeakers work in real-world listening rooms. In fact, many experts have. And while they may differ on many of the details, I suspect they will all agree on one point: The room-loudspeaker interface remains most neglected link in the audio reproduction chain.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 28, 2005 9 comments

I suspect that Los Angeles has the greatest concentration of first-rate movie theaters in the country. True, there are fewer and fewer premier-quality movie houses even there than in the past. At least two have disappeared in the past 12 years. And every time I visit the Village or National in Westwood (two of the biggest and the best) I wonder how long the crowds (which rarely fill more than half of either theater, even for a hit movie on a weekend evening) can continue to support the maintenance of such a large space in such a pricey real estate market. Nevertheless, there more such theaters here than in any other large metropolitan area in the US. Which is, as you would expect, when you think about it.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 27, 2006 2 comments

The August 2006 issue of <I>Popular Mechanics</I> devotes one entire page (!) to HD DVD. The main feature of the article is a comparison between HD DVD and the standard disc played back on a much less expensive, upconverting DVD player (an $80 Philips).

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

Toshiba showed its first outboard HD DVD-ROM computer drive.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2007 4 comments

We've all complained about some of the marginal films coming out on HD DVD and Blu-ray. The situation <I>is</I> improving, though not fast enough for most of us. But as I look through my growing HD DVD and Blu-ray collection, I do see more great titles than I imagined.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 06, 2011 5 comments
Recently, I was doing some online research for my review of the new, Extended Edition The Lord of the Rings Blu-ray boxed set, which will appear in the October 2011 issue of Home Theater magazine. A search for director Peter Jackson produced a pile of information. Jackson today doesn't look as much like a slightly oversized Hobbit as he did when the show was in production (Jenny Craig got to him, or something). His earliest cinematic fascination was with gross-out horror—an interest clearly reflected in the designs for the Orcs and other nasties in Rings. There's a particularly disgusting added sequence near the end of the Extended Edition of The Return of the King that clearly shows this fixation is far from conquered. If "The Mouth of Sauron" is any indication, Sauron and his minions need a much better dental plan.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 24, 2007 2 comments

We may be gear heads here at UAV, but the not-so-secret secret about the consumer electronics business is that it's about music and movies. In other words, it's Show Biz. Without that connection, our equipment racks would be filled with expensive boat anchors.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 09, 2005 8 comments

Joel Brinkley's recent comments on black level issues with the new digital video displays was right on the mark for flat panel displays, but things are looking up, at least a little, with front and rear projection sets. I'm currently working on reviews of two new models, the front projection Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD projector and the Hewlett-Packard md5880n DLP. Both of these are 1080p displays&mdash;though only the HP will accept 1080p through its HDMI inputs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 17, 2005 3 comments

In my previous blog, "In the Black," I stated that the new Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD projector would not accept 1080p directly. That was the impression I obtained at its press introduction at last September's CEDIA. But I subsequently learned, in completing Part I of my review of that projector, which will be posted on this site tomorrow (Sunday, December 18, 2005), that it will indeed accept 1080p/60 at its HDMI and DVI inputs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 29, 2013 3 comments
Lasers, or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, have been with us for half a century. A laser produces a highly focused (spatially coherent) beam of light having a very specific wavelength, the latter depending on the design and application. They’re used in medicine, industry, laser printing, barcode scanners, CD, DVD, and Blu-ray players, laser light shows, and innumerable other applications.

Lasers can also be used as a light source for digital projection. While this is still under development, we’re likely to see it first in movie theaters. Lasers can not only produce a much brighter image—which can help overcome the dimness of 3D presentations—but also offer cost benefits to theater owners. Conventional xenon lamps are expensive to replace, and have a useful life of perhaps 1000 hours (some theaters try to stretch this as much as possible, often with negative effects on picture quality). A laser light source can stretch this by at least twenty-fold or even more. While replacement lasers will likely be significantly more expensive to early on, they’ll still be cheaper per hour of use. Another possible cost saving might come from using a centralized “light farm,” with the light from a single remotely located bank of lasers routed to multiple projectors via fiber optics.

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

This single seater in the Pioneer booth is for those who can't fit a Mini in the garage. I'm not sure how it fits into consumer electronics. Perhaps it's the audiophile special&mdash;you can drive and still always be in the sweet spot.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 13, 2006 1 comments

The gear has been packed back up and the rooms cleared. The demo material has been tossed into suitcases, destined to end up in an obscure corner of each exhibitor's factory, the place where overplayed and now unloved recordings go to die. And copious notes have been made on what worked and what needs to be improved.

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

JVC announced a new 58" D-ILA model that checks in at just a bit over 10-inches deep.

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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: Dec 23, 2005 4 comments

Going ape over that last minute gift for the home theater enthusiast? Or looking to drop a hint on a gift for yourself? Check out Universal's recent release, <I>King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries</I>. Boxed in a faux-antique file briefcase that someone was paid entirely too much money to design and that you'll probably ditch anyway because it won't fit on your bookshelf, this set contains a production memoir, four limited edition prints (my signed Certificate of Authenticity is number 32,786!), and, most important, two DVDs filled with behind the scenes production material on the making of the film.

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