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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 15, 2004 0 comments

Two years ago, when I visited the B&W facilities in Worthing, England, I heard a demonstration of that company's then-new flagship, the Signature 800 ($16,000/pair). I salivated at the prospect of reviewing a home theater package anchored by these impressive speakers, but ultimately put off requesting them in favor of slightly more manageable and affordable designs.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 01, 2003 0 comments

The model designation "DM" might not sound like anything special, but it has a long history with B&W. Models such as the DM 6, fondly remembered by audiophiles as the "pregnant penguin," enjoyed a modest following in the 1970s, when then-small English speaker company Bowers & Wilkins was knocking out attendees at hi-fi show demonstrations. B&W is now, by most accounts, the biggest speaker company in the UK. Its model range has increased exponentially since those early days, but the DM prefix is still very much alive.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2011 2 comments
I've never heard of the Italian loudspeaker company B2, but their Titan, which stands about 65-inches tall and weighs in at 286 lbs, sounded spectacular in a very large room. The mids and highs were particularly transluscent, thanks to a pair of ceramic-coned midranges from Accuton and a 6" ribbon tweeter. The smaller speaker on the right in the photo is the Hebe (not heard). Estimated retail prices as of show time were about $75,000/pair for the Titan and $19,500 per pair for the Hebe.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 21, 2016 4 comments
On a recent visit back to Los Angeles I took in the 2016 Newport, California hi-fi-show, more properly known as T.H.E. (The Home Entertainment) Show Newport (though it’s now actually held in Irvine). You can read my observations on the show, along with those from other Stereophile contributors (I write occasional reports and reviews for Stereophile, though Sound & Vision is my main beat) at Like virtually all such events (of which there are several in the U.S. each year under various management), this was a show for 2-channel audiophiles. Count me among them, but no more so than for multichannel music, movies, video, and home theater.

The only show in the U.S. that features video as it relates to home theater is September’s CEDIA Expo...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
TIVO Man, standing guard over the main entrance to CES 2011
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 02, 2006 0 comments

You know the gag. You see someone walking down the street and about to step on a banana peel. Do you shout "STOP," or remain silent and then applaud as he does an awesome pirouette.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 07, 2015 0 comments
Most equipment stands just hold your gear. The Bell’o Manhattan is one of two Bell’o stands to which you can add a fireplace module and keep things warm and toasty...
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 17, 2015 2 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
PRICE $1,199

Bright, punchy picture
Excellent color
Compact size
Mediocre blacks
High vertical offset with limited lens shift

You wouldn’t expect the type of performance this BenQ delivers for the price, but it will impress even a fussy videophile and blow away the newbie.

Flat-screen 1080p HDTVs have been dropping in price. Nonetheless, short of a blowout sale, a really big-screen set—say, 70 inches diagonal or larger, even in plain old 1080p, will probably set you back a minimum of $1,500. Compared with prices even two years ago, that’s cheap, but for most buyers it’s still significant cash.

What if you discovered that for less money you could get a picture that’s three or more times the size (by area) of that 70-inch flat-screen set? How does $1,200 sound?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 10, 2005 0 comments

While separate projectors and screens are not for everyone, for many of us they define the essence of the true home theater video experience. A big-screen television is fine as far as it goes, and certainly appeals to a wide market. But nothing quite matches the thrill of watching a theater-like image on a really big screen in a darkened room.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 25, 2004 0 comments

The PE8700 DLP projector from BenQ has to qualify as the surprise product of early 2004. The first surprise is that it's made by a company I'd barely heard of before late last year. But with a claimed 13,000 employees worldwide, BenQ isn't exactly small. Its main corporate headquarters are in Taiwan, where the PE8700 is built.