Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 19, 2003 0 comments

The Sony VPL-VW12HT is the latest version of Sony's flagship consumer LCD projector. In appearance it's a twin of its pre-decessor, the VPL-VW11HT (reviewed in the July/August 2002 <I>Guide</I>). Its 16:9 LCD panels have the same specifications. It will accept all of the most common source resolutions&mdash;480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i component or RGB&mdash;and scale them to the panels' 1366x768 native resolution. The user can select any of the most common aspect ratios: widescreen (anamorphic or letterbox), 4:3, and several others, including two that pass the source through without scaling. There are six programmable video memories to store different setups, including picture adjustments, color temperature, and aspect ratio.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 17, 2007 0 comments

No one imagined two years ago that the cost of acquiring a high quality 1080p projector would drop to the levels many of them sell for today&mdash;levels, it could be argued, that were driven by Sony's own extremely competitive pricing, especially on the $5K <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/1106sonypearl/">VPL-VW50</A> "Pearl.".

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 03, 2008 0 comments

When it was introduced at the 2006 CEDIA Expo, Sony's VPL-VW50 redefined the entire front-projector price structure. Of course, a few other manufacturers were ready with their own new projector announcements at that show, but the VW50&mdash;which came to be widely known as the "Pearl" after the company's code name for the project&mdash;generated the most buzz.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 28, 2014 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $15,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Smooth, clean detail
Excellent color
Rich, dark blacks
Minus
Occasional iris pumping
Pricey

THE VERDICT
With its compelling reproduction of smooth detail, fine color, and impressive brightness with 2D content, the VPL-VW600ES offers a tantalizing taste of 4K.

In case you haven’t noticed—or have just returned from an extended spring break in Antarctica—the newest thing in home video is Ultra HD, or 4K. 3D is so 2010. 4K is now.

But 4K home projectors are still a rarity, and so far, there haven’t been any true 4K consumer projectors even remotely approaching the price of a good 1080p model. Until now, that is. Sony’s new VPL-VW600ES comes in at an MSRP of $15,000, or just over half the price of the company’s VPL-VW1100ES, a recent update of the VPL-VW1000ES (Sony’s first consumer 4K model). That’s not exactly chicken feed, but it’s a move in the right direction.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 13, 2012 5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,500 At A Glance: Plasma-quality blacks • Near flawless color • Bright, vivid 3D

All LCD HDTVs require some form of backlighting. The LCD panel’s pixels modulate the light and provide filtered color, but without backlighting to shine through the panel, you’d have no picture. Recently, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) have replaced the fluorescent backlights used in older flat-screen LCD sets. LCDs aren’t perfect in blocking light (which is why so many early models had poor black levels), but if you can shut off or dim the LEDs on demand, the LCDs’ light-blocking chores become far more efficient. And LEDs can do this; they can be shut off and turned back on almost instantaneously in reaction to the signal coming in.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 11, 2013 19 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $7,000
At A Glance
: Four times the native resolution of standard HD • Advanced color technology • State-of-the-art 3D

With the introduction of its new 2013 XBR sets, Sony has shown that it’s serious about bringing Ultra HD, popularly referred to as 4K, to consumers at prices that, while still high, are less seizure-inducing than the $25,000 sticker on its 84-inch XBR-84X900 (Home Theater, June 2013).

Technically, 4K is shorthand for a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels—the professional 4K format. Consumer 4K sets, on the other hand, have a resolution of 3840 x 2160, exactly four times the pixel count of full HD 1080p. Regardless of the industry’s plan to refer to such sets as Ultra HD, 4K has already crept into the lexicon as the popular term for 3840 x 2160 home video.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 27, 2008 0 comments
This year, as last, Sony held its annual line show at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. While it is intended primarily for dealers—which explains the introduction of everything from televisions to digital voice recorders, computers, cameras, cell phones, and alarm clocks (in short, everything you'll see featured in Sony movies later this year)—the press was brought in to have the first look.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
In the market for a movie-theater size home theater with a projector to match. Sony has your number. This 4K giant is based on Sony's pro theater projectors, modified to be suitable for home theater, including HDMI inputs, of course. It can be yours for only $125,000. The lens is extra!
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
Passersby wondered if this was an OLED set (no luck there&mdashSony showed no such product) or a 4K HDTV (despite Sony's clear 4K leanings, it wasn't that either.) Nor was it an XBR; all Sony XBRs are now 4K.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 03, 2010 0 comments
With all the fuss about the great images on HDTVs, particularly from Blu-ray, it’s easy to forget that sound is half the experience—maybe even more. Blu-ray offers more than just great video. By making use of its generous data-storage capacity and new ways to encode audio, it offers an audio experience that’s a significant step beyond the digital movie sound formats we’ve lived with. In fact, it’s arguably equivalent to the sound the engineers and filmmakers heard during the mastering session.

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