Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 25, 2006 Published: Jun 26, 2006 6 comments

It's hard to fight the notion that an upconverting DVD player works some kind of magic on the lowly, standard definition DVD. I've written about this before, but if recent Internet forum traffic is any indication, the confusion continues.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 20, 2005 0 comments

"Buy any 61-inch or larger Samsung HDTV or any Samsung 1080p HDTV and receive a high definition, upconverting DVD player."

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2007 0 comments

Toshiba recently issued an update for its second-generation HD DVD players, primarily for the HD-A20 and the HD-XA2. I installed the update on an HD-A20, the middle model in Toshiba's HD DVD lineup (though shortly to be superceded in the launch of a third generation).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 29, 2013 4 comments
Despite all the talk about 4K (or Ultra HD) displays, there are already a bazillion hours of “standard” 2K HD programming out there in videoland. Consumer 4K sources will be slow in coming, and they might well arrive over the Internet. The question remains as to whether or not the inherent data rate limitations of streaming video could dilute or eliminate the supposed benefits of 4K resolution—apart from the marketing hype.

Over the next couple of years, therefore, and assuming that 4K sets take fire in the marketplace, the smart money will be on upconverting 2K sources to 4K. No form of upconverting can add real resolution; genuine Ultra HD starts and ends with 4K resolution. Nevertheless, we expect plenty of action on the 2K to 4K upconversion front. Since consumer 2K is largely (though not entirely) 1920 x 1080 pixels, and consumer 4K is 3840 x 2160, it would appear that such upconversion might simply involve taking the content of each 2K pixel and quadrupling it (with no added enhancement) to fill a 2 x 2 pixel area on the 4K display. But that will gain nothing in subjective resolution, and may actually reduce image quality due to the added processing required. Most upconversion, therefore, will likely include enhancement and/or other digital manipulation, designed to both eliminate possible upconversion losses and better simulate the look of true 4K.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 03, 1995 0 comments

The Vandersteen 3A is a higher-end variation on the theme established by the company's first loudspeaker, the 2C. The latter is still available, though much updated into the current, highly popular 2Ce. A four-way design, the 3A has separate sub-enclosures for each drive unit; the whole affair is covered with a knit grille-cloth "sock" with wood trim end pieces. A rear-mounted metal brace allows the user to vary the tiltback—an important consideration for best performance with this loudspeaker.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
Vicoustic USA is a company new to me in the field of acoustic treatment. They offer a wide range of products, including some unique absorbers and diffusers, for that application. Many of them are less expensive, in my experience, than many of the similar devices currently available. They begin as low as $75 each for an approximately 2-foot square panel (but only available in a package of 10), though the prices can escalate rapidly when you get to premium products such as all wood diffusers.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 09, 2007 0 comments

I predicted years ago that we would be downloading music over the Internet long before <I>high quality</I> downloads were possible. That's the state we're in at present. Downloads that offer genuine CD-quality sound (forget about downloads up to SACD or DVD-Audio standards) are still more a promise than a reality.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 27, 2014 3 comments
Some months back I ran across a region-free Blu-ray of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra’s 2014 New Year’s Concert (Sony Classical). I already owned the 2012 edition (it’s an annual event, as you might have guessed!), which I hadn’t yet watched. The price was right for this 2014 version, so I added it to my collection. That is, I added it to my shelf of as yet unseen Blu-ray discs (I suspect all serious collectors have such a shelf). It waited there patiently until I felt the need to pull out a few potentially good sounding concert Blu-rays. This one seemed like a good candidate, so I popped it into my Oppo player.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 01, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>George Lucas is a fan. I don't mean of <I>Star Wars</I> (though he is, I suspect, that, too); rather, he's a fan of digital cinema. And he wanted his magnum opus, <I>Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith</I>, to play in digital on the biggest screens in the world. That covers a lot of territory, but the screen at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, which measures 32 by 86 feet, just might be the biggest anywhere.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 28, 2005 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>I'm a huge fan of having a physical copy of video content (high-definition or otherwise) for my own personal use any time I see fit. The downloading paradigm scares me. It opens up all sorts of ways for the provider to stick it to the consumer. How about paying <I>every</I> time you want to watch? How about additional compression so our downloaded movies are "High-Definition Quality," like those "CD-quality" MP3s? How about spyware or adware along for the ride? Pop-up ads in mid-movie, anyone?

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