Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 07, 2013 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Price: $3,300 At A Glance: Rich black level and good shadow detail • New color technology • Bright, punchy 3D

The new KDL-55W900A is Sony’s newest, top-of-the-line, non-XBR set. All of the XBRs, going forward, will be Ultra HD (4K) sets, but the KDL-55W900A, as all of the KDL designs, is firmly in the standard HD, 1920 x 1080 camp. It’s an edge-lit design with local dimming, but its marquee feature has nothing to do with contrast and black levels. Color is the plot here, and Triluminos, a term Sony has used in the past (see sidebar), promises a wider color gamut.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 07, 2014 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
PRICE $3,300

Excellent color and resolution
Good blacks and shadow detail
Satisfyingly bright 3D
Typical LCD off-axis limitations
Minor 3D flicker and ghosting

It may lack the headline-grabbing, 4K bling-zing of Sony’s XBR Ultra HD designs, but this 65-inch KDL series HDTV sits at the top of the company’s bread-and-butter line and offers more than enough features and performance to satisfy a wide range of buyers.

With all the ink spilled these days about the trendy but expensive Ultra HDTVs, a plain vanilla HDTV, with its resolution of 1920 x 1080, may seem a little ho-hum. But Ultra HD (4K, or more correctly, 3840 x 2160) is still consumer 4K content-starved with its specs not yet fully complete, and the jury is still out as to whether or not it will offer significant benefits in typical home screen sizes. Its price of admission also remains high. As a result, top-of-the-line, non-Ultra HDTVs, such as Sony’s new KDL-65W850A, remain serious players in the high-end video market.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 29, 2007 0 comments

Several years ago a major television manufacturer attempted to market an 80-inch rear projection TV. I first saw it, if I recall correctly, at our annual Home Entertainment show, then still known as the <I>Stereophile</I> show. Yes, this is a shameless plug&mdash; <A HREF="">HE 2007</A> is coming up in New York City on May 11-13!

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 29, 2001 0 comments

The slow march toward that new digital broadcast standard has brought us a small but rapidly swelling flow of new DTV widescreen televisions&mdash;far better sets than anything the average consumer has ever seen before. These TVs are still very much high-end products, but despite their cost, sales are increasing at a steady rate.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 30, 2004 0 comments

When Sony announced the development of a new home video projector last spring, the buzz began. Would it be the fabled Grating Light Valve technology, which the company is known to be working on? Would it be LCD, DLP, or LCoS? Would it be something completely new?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 06, 2011 0 comments
Sony is also showing a number of prototypes of products that are not available now, but may be in the future. Three different flat panel demos using autostereoscopic technology (no 3D glasses needed) were shown: a 24.5" 2K OLED, a 46" 2K LCD, and a 56" 4K LCD. The results were better than I expected, though there were some distracting artifacts. As expected, you must watch in specific viewing spots. In a cosy twosome one partner will get good 3D, the other not so much. In places outside the designated viewing zones the 3D effect diminishes and those artifacts increase, though the image does not completely fall apart. Promising, but still a work in progress.

Sony also showed a set of goggles designed for private 3D viewing (as seen in the not-so-clear photo), and a autostereoscopic portable 3D Blu-ray player.

Available now for pre-sales ordering is a VAIO F Series 3D laptop (about $1700). Oddly, this does require active shutter glasses. It also does 2D-to-3D conversion—for fun with spreadsheets. Seriously, however, there are genuine business and engineering applications for real 3D, including CAD and medical imaging.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2011 0 comments
As with the Thiels, we mentioned these Sony speakers earlier in this report. But also like the Thiels, they deserve another mention. No other speakert impressed me as much as this one did at the show. I'm enough of a show veteran to realize just how much the room, associated components, and program material can effect the sound of a system, but under the conditions in the Sony room, in a 2-channel setup (four of the speakers were also being used in a surround system in a different room) they impressed me about as much as any speaker ever has at a trade show. The sound was punchy, dynamic, and full-bodied without being overblown. And they made both modern and classical music sound real—few speakers can do as well on both.

The SS-AR1's (I sense an homage in that name) have been on the market in Japan since 2006, but have recently been upgraded in the voicing and crossover department.

But will we ever see them for sale here in the states? Possibly, but this show appeared to be a trial run to judge dealer interest. That's been a problem with Sony speakers in the past, and there have been some very good ones. High-end dealers are reluctant to take on Sony speakers, and Sony dealers are reluctant to take on speakers this expensive—currently about $27,000/pair in Japan.

Associated equipment included Pass Laboratories monoblock solid state amps and an EMM Labs (Meitner) Reference SACD/CED player.

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

Sony's 2006 line show for dealers and press offered few surprises. Yes, there was the new BDP-S1 Blu-ray player, planned for release in July at $1000. But it must rankle Sony every time they announce that the first Blu-ray player to market, day-and-date with the first Blu-ray titles in late May, will be from Samsung (if you haven't already heard, the delay of the PlayStation3 gaming console/BD player until November has created that awkward situation.)

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

The STR-DA9000ES is Sony's entry in what has become a new trend in home theater: receivers that seriously challenge separate components. That challenge is extended not only in features and performance, but in size as well. Many of these new behemoths equal the sheer bulk of more than a few preamplifier-processor and amplifier combinations.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 30, 2007 0 comments
Out with the Cineza. In with the BRAVIA.

Until recently, Sony's popular LCD video projectors carried the Cineza brand name. Apart from the fact that I always wanted to say, "bless you" whenever someone said Cineza, it was perfectly fine name. But Sony has now extended the "BRAVIA" moniker, once used to designate only its flat panel displays, across its line of displays.


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