A/V VETERAN

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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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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 12, 2006 4 comments

Last week the local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, KABC, became the first station in California (or so they said) to broadcast their local news programs in high definition. That includes the midday, late afternoon, early evening, and late night editions. And while that might not raise hosannas for a station whose idea of news includes shameless plugs for what's coming up that evening on <I>Dance With the Stars</I>, when you've got endless hours of news time to fill, what do you expect&mdash;an in-depth analysis of what's happening at city hall?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 03, 2011 5 comments
I was so ready to ignore the British royal wedding. I had zero interest. So when I set my PVR to record one of the interminable PBS reruns of the five-hour HD event, I told myself I was doing it just in case. Maybe someone would trip over the bridal train and send the whole entourage tumbling like a row of dominoes. That would be historic. Of course, getting a choice clip or two of video out of the closed world of the PVR is a puzzle I haven't yet solved—including the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction from a few years back that has now sadly succumbed to the eventual fate awaiting all our precious ones and zeros: Erased from existence.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 04, 2006 3 comments

Will the prices of HD DVDs and BDs&mdash;the discs themselves, never mind the players)&mdash;keep the brakes on sales of the new format? If current trends continue, those of us with big DVD collections had better start saving up if we want to eventually replace them with HD DVDs and BDs (Blu-ray discs).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 15, 2007 0 comments

Come next Tuesday, two anxiously awaited titles will hit the video stores&mdash;<I>Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl</I> and <I>Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest</I>.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2013 0 comments
CEDIA began its annual event in 1989. At that time it was launched in a modest venue full of table-top exhibits and educational seminars, with a strong emphasis on the latter. This was appropriate, as we all had a lot to learn about home theater.

I’ve been attending CEDIA since 1994, when then Stereophile publisher Larry Archibald decided it was time to begin a new publication dedicated to the burgeoning home theater business—the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater. But even in the first year or two I attended, accompanied by Archibald, the Guide’s founding editor, Lawrence B. Johnson, and the requisite marketing crew, you could cover all of the exhibits in a couple of hours.

Tom Norton Posted: Oct 19, 2014 2 comments
Panasonic launched its new flagship 4K Ultra HD sets, the 65-inch TC-65AX900 and the 85-inch TC-85AX850, at a press event in Los Angeles last Thursday. The two models are similar in many ways, including their Ultra HD capabilities, THX certification, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2connectivity, and H.265 (HEVC) decoding, which is planned for upcoming 4K source material, but not yet universally used in the limited consumer 4K material presently available) The TVs also incorporate Panasonic’s quad-core, Pro5 processor for their “Beyond Smart” feature set.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 22, 2014 1 comments
Last week Meridian Audio held a reception in Los Angeles, one of many across the country for the U.S. launch of its new special edition, digital loudspeakers, the DSP 5200SE, DSP7200SE, and DSP8000SE (For others yet to be held, go to meridian.com.)

This year is the 25th anniversary of Meridian’s first digital loudspeaker, so it’s no surprise that all three of these designs are powered by their own internal amplifiers and accept only digital inputs. In most installations such inputs will come from Meridian’s own electronics, but other digital sources, such as a music server, may also be used to feed the speakers’ inputs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 31, 2014 0 comments
From a recent article in the Los Angeles Times:

“A South Korean Company aiming to transform the way Americans experience movies at the multiplex is bringing its ‘4-D’ technology to Los Angeles.”

What’s 4-D? The technology is actually called 4DX, and instead of just picture and sound it adds, as needed, moving and vibrating seats, wind, strobe lights, fog, rain, and scents, all of them supporting what’s happening on the screen.

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