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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
Inverted HDTV waterfalls are always in style, and Samsung's was no exception. I'd like to have seen it under construction!
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 16, 2016 0 comments
Samsung’s booth was very small (the same was true of both Sony and LG—common at CEDIA as the big TV makers guard their piggy banks until CES). While nothing was truly new, they did effectively demonstrate their sound-bar based Atmos audio system, and lined up three of their flagship KS9800 curved SUHD sets to wow the crowds.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 07, 2016 4 comments
I speculated a few months back that what the world needs is an Atmos soundbar. The industry must have been listening, because we now have at least two such products, one from Samsung and the other from Yamaha. I haven’t heard the Yamaha, but the Samsung HW-K950 was being demonstrated at this year’s CES...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 20, 2005 0 comments

With its fold-down front panel and uninspiring plastic case, the Sanyo PLV-Z3 suggests nothing so much as a large (okay, very large) clock radio. In a world where, not so very long ago, video projectors were expected to require three or four strong longshoremen to deliver and set up, the newest digital designs still generate a sense of wonder. Even now, audiophiles continue to equate size and mass with quality, and "longer, lower, wider" are still the watchwords with car enthusiasts (though it's no longer politically correct to actually say so in polite company).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,295 At A Glance: Impressive resolution • Good blacks and shadow detail • Oversaturated color • Excellent value

Sanyo has long been a big player in the business projector market. However, while it has a serious presence in home projectors in many markets, it has remained relatively low key for U.S. consumers. This is especially true when you compare it with manufacturers who are more aggressive at beating their own drums. But the PLV-Z3000 proves that the company knows its way around home theater projector design.

The Sanyo lacks the Ferrari-like curves that many of its competitors sport. Still, its relatively plain, boxy shape is functional and well executed. All mechanical operations (horizontal and vertical lens shift, focus, and zoom) are manual. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since these are usually set-and-forget operations. The zoom lens has a throw-distance range of 9.8 to 20 feet for a 100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 27, 2006 0 comments
We last wrote about the explosion of science fiction TV shows on DVD in a two part feature that appeared in the November 2004 and January 2005 print issues of Ultimate AV. Those features, which covered the gamut from Star Trek to Babylon 5, will be posted on the website in April. Watch for it.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 13, 2013 3 comments

Price: $2,899 At A Glance: viewable with ambient lighting • Works best with carefully planned lighting • Image dims significantly from center screen to the side

The best projection quality has always required a completely darkened room. This takes the edge off that Super Bowl party, with guests stumbling around in the dark spilling their buttered popcorn and drinks in your lap.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 26, 2011 4 comments
Price: $2,199 At A Glance: Image pops with room lights on • Minimizes room reflections with lights off • Fixed frame—no retractable version

Lighten Up

Many of us will tolerate a projection system that requires a totally darkened room for movie watching. But when other family matters make this impossible, or when your buddies come over on a Sunday afternoon for the big game, how many of us are willing to totally blacken the room and leave everyone to stumble around in the dark?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 17, 2015 0 comments
Screen Innovations, or SI as it is more commonly known today, made its mark with ambient light rejecting screens. But it has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 25, 2014 0 comments
PRICE $2,049 (as tested)

Superb color and contrast with room lights out
Lights-on viewing can be more satisfying than with a conventional screen
Don’t expect miracles: Lights-out viewing still offers a superior picture

No screen can provide a projector’s best performance in normal room lighting, but the Screen Innovations Slate takes aim at this goal and, though not scoring a bull’s-eye, comes closer than most.

The surest route to realizing a knockout, big-picture home theater is to install a separate projector and screen. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll wonder how you were ever satisfied with a “tiny” flat-screen HDTV.

Up until a few years ago, the biggest obstacle to realizing that ideal was the price of a good projector. Today, however, you can buy an excellent projector for under $3,000, and although that’s not chicken feed, it’s within the reach of many serious home theater enthusiasts. But what was once a secondary stumbling block is now front and center: the need for a fully darkened room to wring the best performance out of that projector. With most projection screens, there’s little choice, and this has kept home projection a niche market.