Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 1 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Plasma-like blacks and shadow detail • Good color and resolution • At its best with 1080p sources

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 13, 2006 0 comments

Two years ago you would have paid over $10,000 for a large, widescreen flat panel LCD display. And "large" might well have meant 32" diagonal. The picture would have been bright and crisp, but a pale reflection of the overall image quality available from still-plentiful CRT direct view sets. Its resolution would have been 1280x720, tops, or one of those bizarre resolutions like 1365x768 that are still featured in many flat panels.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2007 0 comments

Last year when I reviewed the 1080p <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/806sonykdl46/">Sony Bravia KDL-46XBR2</A>, I concluded that it "really knocked me out." Now we have the new Bravia KDL-46XBR4. It's similar in many respects to the 46XBR2, but offers significant improvements. These include better black levels, a new, slick on-screen menu system, and 120Hz operation&mdash;a feature that's showing up in more and more high-end LCD sets. Depending on its implementation, a 120Hz refresh rate can reduce image smear with moving images&mdash;one of the lingering problems of LCD display technology.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 01, 2007 0 comments
Last year when I reviewed the 1080p Sony Bravia KDL-46XBR2 at our sister publication, it "really knocked me out." Now we have the new $3,599 Bravia KDL-46XBR4. It's spec'd for better black levels, a new, slick on-screen menu system, and 120Hz operation, a feature that can reduce image smear with moving images, which is one of the lingering problems of LCD display technology.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 29, 2008 0 comments
Price: $5,000 At A Glance: State-of-the-art black level and shadow detail • Superior color and HD resolution • 480i video processing could be better • Poor off-axis viewing

XBR Goes LED

LCD flat panels now dominate the television marketplace. But despite their popularity, they have been notably inferior to the best plasma sets in the depth of their blacks and the quality of their shadow detail.

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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.

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