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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 11, 2016 0 comments
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Aladdin was released theatrically in 1992, during a renaissance in Disney’s hand-drawn animation that also gave us Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. But its release on DVD didn’t happen until 2004, and this is its first time on Blu-ray. It’s been too long a wait.

You know the story. Street rat Aladdin finds a magic lamp, he rubs it, and a genie appears to grant his new master three wishes. It’s a tale of redemption, growth, love, treachery, and—oh, forget all that. Its Boy meets Genie, Boy loses Genie, Boy gets Genie.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 23, 2016 1 comments
We assume you’re into home theater because you love movies, so this blog is the first in an on and off series of movie (and possibly TV-series) recommendations. I first wanted to dub them “Hidden Treasures and Guilty Pleasures.” But while I liked the alliteration, it was too long for a headline so I’ll have to settle for alternating between the two, as appropriate. [Ed. note: We worked a little magic to make the head fit.]

I have a broad taste in movies, from historical to science fiction and a lot in between. I’m not big on crime dramas, grisly horror movies (unless the sci-fi elements outweigh the gore, as in Alien and Aliens), or gross comedies that make me squirm more than laugh. But almost anything else is fair game. The Dish isn’t a story about Hollywood gossip, but rather an Australian film about a 100-ton satellite communications dish parked in a sheep paddock near the small town of Parkes in the rural Down Under. If that sounds boring, it’s anything but...

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 23, 2016 14 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Blacks are truly black
Fine detail
Near-perfect off-axis viewing
Minus
Pricey
Annoying calibration menus

THE VERDICT
LG’s recent price adjustments have made the company’s OLED sets more approachable, though hardly cheap in the biggest-screen Ultra HD models. But in today’s market, you’re unlikely to find a UHDTV that offers better performance than this one.

While OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology offers most of the benefits of the now sadly departed plasma sets (and in some ways, more benefits), it’s been difficult to manufacture at commercially viable prices. So far, only LG is actively marketing OLED in the U.S. (though we hope others will follow). A recent drop in LG’s prices for OLED sets has rendered them more affordable, though still far from generating “Attention, Shoppers” announcements at K-Mart.

Tut
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 16, 2016 2 comments
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Egyptian history is astonishingly long by modern standards. The pharaoh Tutankhamun lived roughly 13 centuries after the pyramids were built, and another 13 centuries would pass before Cleopatra friended an asp.

The plot of this two-disc, 4.5-hour miniseries is centered on the limited facts we know about Tut. He was the son of Akhenaten, whose worship of the sun god Aton and rejection of Egypt’s traditional deities nearly tore the country apart. Tut became pharaoh around age nine and eventually restored the old gods and stabilized the kingdom. But by the time of his death at a young 19, he had failed to produce an heir by his wife and half-sister Ankhesenamun.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2016 36 comments
Living in coastal northwest Florida has its benefits, but first-rate movie theaters isn’t one of them. In moving from the Los Angeles area last year I left behind some of the best movie theaters in the country...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 26, 2016 24 comments
We’re only a couple of months away from the scheduled introduction of Ultra HD Blu-ray players and the UHD discs to play on them. At CES both Samsung and Philips announced players due in March, and 17 titles are currently listed on Amazon for release March 1.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 26, 2016 13 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Full Ultra HD capability including HDR and wide color
Superb blacks and shadow detail
Integrated soundbar with subwoofer and surrounds
Minus
Expensive
HDR limited to Dolby Vision
Ineffective color management system (CMS)
2D only

THE VERDICT
Most current 4K sets deliver only the 4K slice of Ultra HD’s full pie. The RS65-B2 goes all the way, including 4K resolution, advanced color, and high dynamic range.

In a recent review of Vizio’s relatively affordable M65-C1 Ultra HDTV (soundandvision.com), I reflected on that company’s vision in having “sale prices low enough to attract millions of buyers.” But reality has a way of intruding on a dream, and a state-of-the-art Ultra HD set isn’t cheap to produce. With its new, two-model Reference Series (the 120-inch, RS120B3, which sells for $130,000, and the 65-incher under review here), the company now challenges the thin-aired peaks of cost-no-object sets previously dominated by older, more established brands. In fact, only selected dealers and some custom installers even carry the Reference Series.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2016 0 comments
Arcam has added Dirac Live to its new range of receivers. The headliner shown at CES 2016 was the AVR 850 with Dolby Atmos, HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2, and 7 channels of Class G amplification at $6,000...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2016 Published: Jan 11, 2016 1 comments
Monitor Audio's Alan Hook (6'4") posed next to Monitor Audio's PL500II at CES 2016. The speaker is one of the models in the company's newly redesigned Platinum II speaker series.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2016 0 comments
Wolf Cinema has upgraded its existing four projector platforms for 2016. It showcased the STC-15 ($15,000) at CES on a 10-foot wide, Seymour Screen Excellence 2.35:1 screen. It's images were truly spectacular...

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