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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 29, 2016 9 comments
Oppo has (finally) released details on its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Here's what we know...
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 23, 2016 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $350

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent UHD performance
Solid build quality
Good value
Minus
Limited streaming apps
Less-than-perfect 4K upconversion

THE VERDICT
It’s not without minor flaws, but the second UHD Blu-ray player on the U.S. market delivers a stellar picture from UHD discs at an attractive price.

The launch of Ultra HD Blu-ray players has now progressed from a slow drip to a trickle. Samsung was first with the UBD-K8500 (reviewed in our June issue and also available at soundandvision.com). At CEDIA, Sony showed its upscale UBP-X1000ES but won’t have it out till next spring and hasn’t announced pricing. Oppo’s new player is expected sometime this fall. And Panasonic’s own high-end DMP-UB900, at $700, became available in late September as we were going to press (watch for a future review).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 15, 2016 3 comments
While popular among readers, direct A/B tests comparing one audio or video component with a competing model are far more difficult to do properly than you might imagine. I’ve conducted or participated in numerous such tests over the years, going back to speaker shootouts when I wrote exclusively for Stereophile back in the ‘90s. I also set up or participated in several shootouts of video displays for Home Theater.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 15, 2016 8 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
State-of-the-art local dimming
Class-leading HDR brightness
Above average off-center viewing
Minus
Price

THE VERDICT
With the top manufacturers jostling for a view from the top of the Ultra HD pyramid, Sony has taken an express elevator and is racing fast for the checkered flag. But enough with the mixed metaphors. If this TV isn’t today’s best LCD UHD/HDR set (and perhaps the best of any type), it’s not for lack of trying. Sony has given us their best technology here, and it shows.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016, Sony demonstrated a prototype of a future LCD TV design incorporating what the company called Backlight Master Drive. We found it dazzling, as did most of the show-goers with whom we spoke. Nevertheless, we all looked at it as a “show car”—something that might appear in a store near you in a couple of years, if ever.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 28, 2016 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
In late 1820, the whaling ship Essex, out of Nantucket, Massachusetts, was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale. The captain and his crew were left stranded in the Pacific Ocean, 2,500 miles from mainland South America. The true story of their ordeal in tiny whaling boats, where many of the crew perished as the survivors slowly made their way to an eventual rescue, partially inspired both Nathaniel Philbrick’s book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 25, 2016 13 comments
HDMI is a boon to videophiles. It can carry both audio and video using one cable, in contrast to the 9 (!) required for a totally analog A/V connection (R, G, B, and 5.1 audio). It can also pass all the features offered by current HD and Ultra HD formats.

HDMI is a nightmare. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it works but limits the information it transports from the source to the display. And sometimes it doesn’t work at all.

Take your pick, but the truth sits somewhere between these two statements.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 11, 2016 3 comments
I’m a huge fan of the movie Oblivion. But is it a Guilty Pleasure or a Hidden Treasure? It received a mixed critical reception when it hit theaters in 2013, and many sci-fi fans and film critics found it derivative.

But who is really surprised when a film borrows ideas and plot tropes from past films and literature...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 07, 2016 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
It’s been 50 years now, and poor Mr. Spock still doesn’t have a captaincy. But fans of the Neverending Franchise like him just the way he is.

Or was. Or will be. Star Trek Into Darkness is the second installment of the “new” Trek saga. In the first, director J.J. Abrams cleverly (or alarmingly) rebooted the whole thing through some sort of time-warp, high-tech thingy. The Enterprise is now far more advanced, and some of the relationships are very different, particularly between Spock and Uhura.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 20, 2016 0 comments
CEDIA stands for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. Unlike CES in January, which covers virtually everything in consumer electronics from cameras, to flat screen televisions. to audio, and to wearables (body décor with chips in them!), CEDIA caters to the large group of professionals who custom install and service electronics, mostly for the home. If you want a high-end home theater like the one shown above, but haven’t a clue as to how to do it, they’re there for you...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 17, 2016 0 comments
By now we all know about the value-driven, Andrew Jones-designed Debut and Uni-Fi Elac speakers. At CEDIA they announced in-wall versions of most of these models, including a unique subwoofer...

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