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Tom Norton Posted: Aug 31, 2009 0 comments

Here's another DIY speaker from a clearly dedicated and talented enthusiast. As before, of course, we have no way of knowing how this intriguing design sounds. But the driovers here are among the most well-respected. I don't know the woofer, but the midrange is a 3" dome from ATC and the tweeter a ring radiator from Scan Speak, used in a number of very expensive speakers. Building this, in this configuration, would clearly be beyond the capability of most of us. But if it were a commercial design it would easily command high in the five figure range .

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 23, 2013 0 comments
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If you’re a fan of science fiction and haven’t heard of the TV series Farscape (1999-2003) you don’t get out much. If you’re not a sci-fi fan, this series might just make you one. It offers more compelling characters, action, humor, drama, weird plot twists, sudden mood shifts, poignancy, and stunning performances than any other dozen TV shows you might name.

It all begins when astronaut John Crichton encounters a wormhole on an experimental mission. He’s flung to a distant quadrant of the galaxy, encounters a gigantic vessel nearby, and docks with it. It turns out to be a living ship, know to the locals a leviathan, operated by a bonded pilot. The ship’s occupants are alien prisoners escaping from their captors. The latter, the Mr. Bigs in this area of space, call themselves the Peacekeepers, and from all appearances (externally at least) appear indistinguishable from humans.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 08, 2007 Published: Jun 09, 2007 2 comments

Sometimes there's more to be said about a reviewed product—information we've gleaned after the review is posted. It doesn't happen often; our schedule does not allow for leisurely, post-review ruminations. We have to move on to other gear. But sometimes we do learn new things. Or we need to follow up on something left hanging, perhaps after we've received a belated second sample. Often such updates are simply added to the existing review. But sometimes, particularly if the original review has scrolled off the home page and an important addition to it might be easily overlooked, the information will receive more attention elsewhere—such as in a blog.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 07, 2013 0 comments
A week ago this past Monday I was fortunate to be one of Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TCL’s guests at the premier of Ender’s Game at the TCL Chinese IMAX Theater in Hollywood. (The theater is still best known as Grauman’s Chinese; see my earlier blog here about TCL’s purchasing and remodeling this classic movie palace into an IMAX theater with stadium seating).
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 30, 2008 4 comments

You know who you are. You're an experienced <I>Ultimate AV</I> reader with friends who just bought a new flat panel HDTV for the holidays. They've had it delivered and set up by Crazy Zeke's TV and Refrigerator Superstore.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 28, 2007 Published: Jan 29, 2007 0 comments

I have no statistics to back it up, but the week before the Super Bowl must be pretty hectic in your friendly neighborhood video store. Oh, sure, the end of year holidays are big, and tax refund season brings out the mad money that Uncle Sam has been keeping safe for you all year. But it's the annual rush to watch the Big Game on a Big Screen television that starts sports fans hearts aflutter.

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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: Jul 08, 2014 2 comments
Planet of the Apes is perhaps the longest running science fiction film franchise in history (unless you consider James Bond sci-fi—and Star Trek originated as TV series that didn’t arrive as a theatrical film until 1979). The original Planet of the Apes movie, based on a novel by French author Pierre Boulle, produced by 20th Century Fox, and co-written by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame, was followed by four sequels. The budgets for these sequels were tight (miniscule by today’s standards) and the results progressively cheesier. But despite its special effects and makeup, state of the art for the time though primitive now, the original still holds up today. There were also two relatively unsuccessful TV series in the ‘70s, plus books, comic books, and other spin-offs.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 25, 2014 3 comments
Movie time has been in short supply at chez TJN recently. My home theater system is packed up for a pending long distance move. I’m down to a modest two-channel setup (Onkyo AVR, Revel Concerta M20 bookshelf speakers, no sub, flat screen HDTV) in my much smaller family room. Potential buyers can now see the former home theater as the living/dining space it’s supposed to be.

The HDTV in this smaller system...

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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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Tom Norton Posted: Mar 12, 2015 Published: Mar 10, 2015 3 comments
Mark Fleischmann’s recent blog on ways to improve your system’s audio inspired me to do something similar for video. Of course you, the loyal readers of Sound & Vision already know much of this. But for those who don’t, or for (welcome) newbies, those who are helping friends avoid common mistakes, it’s useful to periodically emphasize that there’s more to getting you money’s worth from a flat screen set than merely plunking it down in what may at first appear to be the best location and turning it on. Getting your HDTV to sing is serious business. Here, of course, I’m referring primarily to flat screen sets; a projector with a screen is, in many ways, a different topic.
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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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