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A/V VETERAN

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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: 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: 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—though only the HP will accept 1080p through its HDMI inputs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 02, 2005 1 comments

Earlier this week companies supporting the upcoming Blu-ray high definition disc format gathered at the Fox Studios in Los Angeles to give an update to the assembled press. The companies represented were Buena Vista Entertainment (Disney, Touchstone, Miramax), Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Panasonic, Pioneer, Dell, and Sony.

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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: Nov 23, 2005 2 comments

I dropped in to my local Costco today after lunch to pick up a couple of new DVDs. (No, Virginia, we don't get free review samples for <I>all</I> the titles that come out.) The aisles were crowded with cartons containing new televisions, all of them plasmas, LCDs, and DLPs. I saw the same thing last week when I was in Fry's&mdash;a California chain well known for just about everything electronic and a few things that are not. The branch in my area gives the same amount of space to a giant, 10-foot ant suspended from the ceiling (not a real one&mdash;just in case you were wondering if I've been watching too much science fiction lately) as it does to the latest in big-screen TVs. With the boxes piled high and deep at retailers everywhere, it's obvious they're all humming <I>'Tis the Season to be TV Buying</I> and <I>Jingle Bills</I> (but no interest until 2007).

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Steven Stone Posted: Nov 17, 2005 4 comments

<I> My blog is open to any non-blogging </I>UAV<I> writer. Why should I have all the fun? Today, reviewer and contributing editor Steven Stone chimes in with advice for feline-loving audio- and videophiles.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 13, 2005 Published: Nov 14, 2005 2 comments

And you thought it was already here. It's true that a number of films over the past few years have been digitally projected in a small number of theaters around the world, using primarily DLP technology (and occasionally LCoS). But these presentations have employed a wide range of formats. For example, 30 different release masters were reportedly made for the 30 theaters that showed <I>Van Helsing</I> digitally in 2003. This lack of standardization could never support the massive conversion to digital cinema (and the savings in print distribution costs) that the studios are hoping for.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 09, 2005 0 comments

If you checked into our website this week (and of course you did, or you wouldn't be reading this!) you've noticed a whole new look. Access to you favorite sections will be easier, thanks to a more detailed top line. Loading time—we anticipate—will be faster. And, most important—there's a whole new layer of content.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 02, 2005 5 comments

The DVD of <I>Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith</I> hits the video stores this week. Fox didn't send us an advanced screener. Perhaps they read the rather negative review I wrote last summer during the film's <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/thomasjnorton/505tjn/index1.html">thea... release</A>! I'll have more to say about the movie, and about the DVD release, in the upcoming November 2005 <I>UAV</I> eNewsletter, scheduled to be mailed out next week. You do subscribe, don't you? (If not, simply <A HREF="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/newsletter_subscribe/?Your%20E-mail"> click here</A> to sign up. It's free.)

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 27, 2005 8 comments

What's a blog? It's the hot topic on the Internet these days, but what, exactly, is it? Since we've just launched four new blogs here on <I>Ultimate AV</I>, this is a timely question. Three of the blogs have been converted directly from our previous monthly columns. A fourth is brand new.

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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: 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: 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: 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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