A/V VETERAN

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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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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 31, 2006 0 comments

During a gala event last night at Ken Cranes Home Entertainment on the tony west side of Los Angeles, LG Electronics hosted the launch of its long-awaited 71-inch plasma display, the MW-71PY10. As the press handout states, it's the first plasma you can speak of in feet, not inches (they should have made it an even six feet&mdash;what's an itty bitty inch among friends).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 01, 2015 7 comments
Last year the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) laid down what it considered the minimum standards for a 4K Ultra HD set. A few months later it introduced a voluntary UHD logo program that manufacturers could use in advertising and labeling sets that meet the standards. This logo also clarified the name to be used for these sets: 4K Ultra HD. While manufacturers are free to make and sell 4K Ultra HD sets of any description (the CEA has no legal authority to stop them), they can’t use the logo if their sets don’t meet these standards. The logo will read either 4K Ultra HD or 4K Ultra HD Connected (though there’s nothing to stop a manufacturer who doesn’t meet the standards from calling their sets simply 4K, or Ultra HD)...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 14, 2012 1 comments
The weekend before last, I drove to Newport Beach, CA, for the second iteration of The Home Entertainment (T.H.E. Show), Newport Beach, or THESNB. (Just kidding on the latter, though the full name is a bit cumbersome.) Last year's installment was fun but a little thin on exhibitors. This year, the show was so much bigger that it had to spread out from the main venue of the Hilton Hotel to the Atrium Hotel next door. If I had known it was going to be so big, I would have arranged to spend two days there instead of simply making it a day trip.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jul 12, 2013 1 comments
On July 11, LG Electronics launched its latest 4K Ultra HDTVs at the Video & Audio Center, a major electronics retailer in Santa Monica, CA. The new LA9700 series includes two models, at 55- and 65-inches (diagonal) and selling for $6,000 and $8,000, respectively.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 12, 2009 3 comments

The video world woke up last Friday to the news reports that Pioneer Electronics, long a leader in consumer video display technology, was getting out of the video display business. At first, the reports did not come from Pioneer itself, but rather from news agencies (first in Japan, later overseas) that put two and two together and concluded that they really did equal four.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 13, 2015 3 comments
I had a dream last night. I was wandering around lower Manhattan (New York). I think I was trying to find my way, but as dreams go I’m not exactly sure where to. I was apparently using a map on my tablet, but the tablet was an old CRT the size of the integrated CRT monitor/computer on the first iMac. I wandered into a bookstore, apparently in search of a more usable map, but all I recall seeing was a copy of Widescreen Review and a children’s version of the New York Times, the latter’s cover filled with full color comics (definitively proving, I suppose, that we do dream in color, though the hues were so odd that they must have been captured in two-strip Technicolor). I had left my “tablet” outside (perhaps the bookstore was a tablet-free zone) and when I went back outside it was still there but the screen had been smashed. In a New York minute. Then I woke up.

This was all likely inspired by my recent trip to New York to attend the Vizio launch of its new Reference series Ultra HDTVs...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 21, 2006 0 comments

It all starts with the mother glass. That's the foundation for building an LCD panel. Everything else&mdash;the individual red, green, and blue elements of each pixel and the interconnects necessary to drive them&mdash;are grown on it.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2015 3 comments
The communication advancements of the past few years have made it possible to do some types of work—such as evaluating AV gear and writing about it—from almost anywhere. So I’ve picked up stakes and moved from sunny Southern California to a far less crowded burgh along the Florida panhandle’s Gulf coast.

It wasn’t an easy decision, and a major move after 14 years in one place is worse than having major dental surgery (and far more costly!).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 11, 2006 8 comments

Last time I mentioned a letter from a reader asking me to recommend great movie theaters he should check out on a visit to Los Angeles. I also suggested that out-of-towners visiting The Big Orange for our upcoming Home Entertainment 2006 show on June 2-4 (you are coming, right?) might want to include a visit to one or more of the best theaters in the world in their plans&mdash;particularly if they're from a theater-challenged part of the country. There are new multiplexes in LA <I>suburbs</I>, for example, that are likely better than any movie theater in the entire state of New Mexico (I know from experience, having lived in Santa Fe for 10 years and visited most of the theaters there and in nearby Albuquerque, the state's biggest city by far).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 26, 2015 1 comments
I lived in the Los Angeles area on two occasions prior to the most recent 14.5 years, each time long enough for me to recognize the superiority of its best movie houses. When I moved from Los Angeles to Santa Fe in 1990 to work for Stereophile, I often vacationed back in LA just to see movies there. Santa Fe’s theaters at the time were depressing at best, and nearby Albuquerque wasn’t much better. In a week in LA I might see 7-8 movies (on one occasion I recall seeing 10!), enough to satisfy my appetite for at least a few months.

These trips continued, and even escalated to twice a year after I began supplementing my writing for Stereophile with major work on the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 21, 2015 7 comments
Moving is never fun, and my move from southern California to northwest Florida was particularly challenging. The packing and unpacking were chores I don’t wish on anyone, though the actual transportation from point A to (a distant) point B was, thankfully, relatively uneventful. Some of you may be faced with a similar situation, as spring is invariably the busiest moving season. For the AV fan, with a likely collection of valued components and program software, it can be particularly traumatic.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 15, 2007 8 comments

HDMI 1.0 was introduced to the market in 2002. As a means of carrying both digital audio and video between the source and the display, it offered several advantages over competing technologies, the most prominent being IEEE 1393, commonly known as FireWire. HDMI carried both audio and video, and also offered alluring security advantages that appealed, in particular, to Hollywood.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 22, 2007 10 comments

Previously, on this blog (see below), I discussed the upgrades that HDMI 1.3 offered for video. Most of them, in my opinion, were nice to have as a hedge against future improvements in sources and displays, but did not offer any real benefits with present and foreseeable video formats, both standard and high definition. As far as video is concerned, then, I saw no reason to toss out your present gear or hold off a purchase until there's a wide range of sources, switchers, and displays with HDMI 1.3. That will likely be a long wait.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 17, 2006 1 comments

It’s hard to believe but I now live in a two Bose household. My first Bose was a car stereo that came as part of a package deal in the Mazda 3 that I bought nearly two years ago. I had to take it to get the whole shebang. It wasn’t really a bad deal. Dissing Bose may be a spectator sport among heavy-duty audiophiles, but apart from a little bass heaviness (not exactly rare in car stereos), it’s a more than respectable piece of work. It I had wanted to buy a car for the stereo, I would have gone with an Acura TL.

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