Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 01, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,800 At A Glance: Edge LED backlighting • Excellent color and resolution • Non-uniform black level

Light My LEDs

Not too long ago, LED backlighting was a feature in only a few premium flat-panel LCD sets. Now you can find it everywhere, including six series in Sony’s 2010 lineup of BRAVIA LCD HDTVs. The top three—the LX900, HX900, and HX800 series—are either 3D capable out of the box (the XBR-LX900) or 3D ready.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 27, 2008 0 comments
Everything but the secret sauce.

Sony has gone LCD in a big way. The company dropped its rear-projection sets last fall, and it’s been years since a plasma display sported a Sony badge. At its 2008 line show in February, the company announced 17 new sets. When they’re all in stores this fall, the Sony LCD model count will be 50-strong.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 23, 2011 0 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Solid 2D performance • 2D-to-3D conversion • Visible ghosting in 3D • Extensive Internet features

Order of LEDs on the Side

The movement to replace the traditional fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting for LCD displays with LEDs has become a flood. Sony’s 2011 lineup is dominated by LED-lit LCDs. While the line-topping XBR-HX929 sets have full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, the remainder position their LEDs just beyond the edges of the screen. Aside from lower power consumption compared with CCFL blacklights, LED backlights of either type offer another benefit: They can adjust rapidly in accordance with the changing signal. Edge-lit LED backlights have two primary advantages to manufacturers over the full-array approach that has made them the more widely used. One is lower cost; the other is the ability, at least in some HDTVs, to shrink the depth of the panel to something that seems to approach that of a credit card.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Despite the market penetration of LCD flat panels—they significantly outsell plasmas—LCD technology has two serious shortcomings. Off-axis viewing is one—we’ll get to that a bit later. The other is how they handle blacks and deep shadow detail. But a new design technique, LED backlighting with local dimming, promises to change all that. (See sidebar on page 37.) Both the Sony and the Samsung use it.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 31, 2007 0 comments

With the growing popularity of flat panel TVs, rear projection sets aren't getting as much attention as they did even as recently as a year ago. They aren't sexy. You can't hang them on the wall. If you buy one, your friends, the Joneses, won't have to worry about you keeping up with them and their 103" plasma.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 31, 2007 0 comments
Rear projection sets aren't getting as much attention as they did even a year ago. They aren't sexy. You can't hang them on the wall. But the secret is that you can get performance that can come close to or even match, size-for-size, most flat panels on the market for a lot less money.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 08, 2010 0 comments
Price: $3,000 At A Glance: Deep blacks • Accurate color • Superb image depth

Sony’s new BRAVIA VPL-HW15 is a reworking of last year’s VPL-HW10. At a modest $3,000 (modest as projectors go, that is), the VPL-HW15 offers a useful lineup of features and a picture that I didn’t expect at this price. With exceptional color, barely short of state-of-the-art blacks, and vivid, almost 3-D images on the best program material, it…. OK, I’m in danger of giving away the store up front. Read more to get the details.

Description
The VPL-HW15’s gently curved top echoes the look of Sony’s higher-end VPL-VW85, while the lens that recesses into a sculpted front panel does not. The controls and inputs are located on the side.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superb contrast and black levels • Excellent color • Unique adjustments

It should be obvious that the cost of a great home theater projector keeps coming down. At $8,000, Sony’s new VPL-VW70 includes many features that distinguished its earlier, more expensive designs, improves on them in some important respects (particularly black levels), and brings a few new wrinkles of its own to the party.

Description
The large, relatively heavy Sony is easily the looker of this group. If you replaced its lens with a laser cannon and added a bridge bubble on top, its curvy, sci-fi-inspired shape wouldn’t be out of place swooping overhead at the beginning of Galaxy Quest II: The Wrath of Melmac.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2009 0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Solid blacks • Accurate color • Unique adjustability • Color management system could be more effective • Superb resolution

Big Performance

The June 2009 issue of Home Theater featured a glowing report on Sony’s VPL-VW70 video projector. But as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Building on its enviable past record in cutting-edge, high-value video projectors, Sony has just launched the VPL-VW70’s successor, the VPL-VW85.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 12, 2011 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $9,999 At A Glance: Deep, rich blacks • Accurate color • 3D-to-2D conversion • improved brightness and contrast

3D Gets Big

It seems like only yesterday that I reviewed Sony’s VPL-VW85 projector, but it was a year and a half ago (Home Theater, November 2009). Sony launches a new flagship home theater projector every year at the September CEDIA EXPO, and 2010 was no exception.

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