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Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 05, 2012 2 comments
It may surprise you to learn that Technicolor is now a French-owned company, with its main offices outside of Paris. It may also be new to you that, to a significant degree, the company is now involved in audio post-production work, rather than the film processes for which it is best known.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 14, 2012 1 comments
The weekend before last, I drove to Newport Beach, CA, for the second iteration of The Home Entertainment (T.H.E. Show), Newport Beach, or THESNB. (Just kidding on the latter, though the full name is a bit cumbersome.) Last year's installment was fun but a little thin on exhibitors. This year, the show was so much bigger that it had to spread out from the main venue of the Hilton Hotel to the Atrium Hotel next door. If I had known it was going to be so big, I would have arranged to spend two days there instead of simply making it a day trip.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 14, 2012 6 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Vivid yet natural color • Solid black level and shadow detail • Outstanding value

HDTV manufacturers’ fortunes have been in a perpetual state of flux for years. With prices continually dropping, profit margins are slim. While the TV makers haven’t quite yet adopted a business plan that calls for losing money on each sale, there isn’t much further they can go without them paying you to take the set home. Just kidding, of course. But apart from the dicey economy (or perhaps because of it?), this is a golden age for the consumer to buy a great HDTV for not a lot of cash.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 30, 2012 2 comments

LSiM707 Surround Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value
 
DSWmicroPRO3000 subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
Price: $9,600 At A Glance: Excellent dynamic range • Solid imaging and depth • Could use more top-end air

Polk Audio has a proud history stretching back to the early 1970s. Its products have leaned more to the familiar and affordable rather than to the expensive and esoteric, but there have been exceptions. The SRT series, introduced in 1995, was a surround system with seven separate speakers encompassing 35 active drivers, including two subwoofers said to be capable of 120 decibels at 30 hertz. It corralled its fair share of buyers willing to pony up the $10,000 asking price.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 10, 2012 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $10,000 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Excellent color • Top-class video processing

Projection lamps: Can’t live without ’em, can’t shoot ’em. Until recently, that is.

Projection lamps are slow to turn on and off, hot, often unstable, and have a nasty habit of getting dimmer with age, while their color balance deteriorates. If you’re fussy about your video—and if you’re reading this review you should be—the 2,000-hour useful lifetime that’s usually specified (to half brightness) for projection lamps will likely be closer to 1,000 hours or less. With a replacement averaging around $400, that’s about $0.40 per hour of use, not including the bottom line on your electric bill.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 27, 2012 1 comments

Stewart Active 170 3D
Performance
Setup
Value


Da-Lite High Power
Performance
Setup
Value
Stewart Filmscreen Reflections Active 170 3D
Price: Varies by size, type (see review) At A Glance: Higher gain than popular StudioTek 130 G3 • Good off-axis performance and color uniformity • Noticeable hot spot

Da-Lite High Power
Price: Varies by size, type (see review) At A Glance: High Gain • Picture darkens visibly off-axis • Hotspotting virtually undetectable

We’ve come a long way from the days when screens were an afterthought. I imagine there are still a few enthusiasts who cut their projection teeth on a sheet or a bare white wall, or even an old, beaded, home-movie screen. Today we know better. The screen is a vital part of the projection setup.

Screens now come in a wide variety of sizes and characteristics. Their physical construction—fixed frame, retractable, flat or curved, masked or unmasked, perforated or not—is a subject for another day. There are also rear-projection screens. Here, however, we’re primarily concerned with the characteristics of the screen material itself, as used in front-projection setups, the type most commonly found in theaters, both commercial and home.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2012 6 comments
Movie theaters are always eager to find new ways to drag consumers off their living-room sofas and into the multiplex. In recent years, this has become more difficult as big-screen HDTV and home surround sound can often exceed the movie-going experience. Apart from sheer screen size, consumers have less and less incentive to spend $12 a head, or more, just for the seat—never mind the cost of refreshments.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2012 1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
(92-inch high-gain screen)
3D Performance
(118-inch standard screen)
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $25,000 At A Glance: Superb 4K resolution • Excellent blacks and shadow detail • High-gain screen recommended for 3D

Editor's note: This is an addendum to our earlier review of the Sony VPL-VW1000 4K 3D projector, covering only its 3D picture quality. Click here for the orignal review.

In our February 2012 issue, we published an exclusive first look at Sony’s new top-of-the-line projector. In addition to stunning performance with conventional, high-defintion, consumer material, the VPL-VW1000 employs 4K imaging chips, offering four times the resolution of standard high-definition video.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 19, 2012 4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superb black level and shadow detail • Accurate 2D color • Complete but complex features

JVC has a problem—a problem more projector manufacturers wish they had. When the company launched its relatively affordable DLA-RS1 LCOS projector several years ago, it created a sensation. Every model year since then brought new updates. Expectations rose, and prior to every CEDIA (the September trade show that is the traditional launching pad for new home theater projectors), we’ve wondered what JVC would next bring to its lineup. The cosmetics have changed several times, but more importantly, a basic run of slow but steady improvements has continued. It has even inspired other projector manufacturers to up their game, and the increased value available to the consumer across the market in general has been substantial.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 07, 2012 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,800 At A Glance: Crisp resolution • Bright 3D • So-so black level • Poor screen uniformity

The last three flat-panel HDTVs reviewed in these pages averaged over $4,000 each—a figure inflated, to be sure, by one of them costing $6,000. Statement products tell us what’s possible and where the technology is going. Most Home Theater readers want to know these things.

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