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Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 02, 2005 1 comments

Earlier this week companies supporting the upcoming Blu-ray high definition disc format gathered at the Fox Studios in Los Angeles to give an update to the assembled press. The companies represented were Buena Vista Entertainment (Disney, Touchstone, Miramax), Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Panasonic, Pioneer, Dell, and Sony.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 28, 2005 9 comments

I suspect that Los Angeles has the greatest concentration of first-rate movie theaters in the country. True, there are fewer and fewer premier-quality movie houses even there than in the past. At least two have disappeared in the past 12 years. And every time I visit the Village or National in Westwood (two of the biggest and the best) I wonder how long the crowds (which rarely fill more than half of either theater, even for a hit movie on a weekend evening) can continue to support the maintenance of such a large space in such a pricey real estate market. Nevertheless, there more such theaters here than in any other large metropolitan area in the US. Which is, as you would expect, when you think about it.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 26, 2005 0 comments

What's the most annoying flaw in digital programming from DVDs or HDTV? Video artifacts? Macroblocking? Freeze-ups? Standard definition commercials? David Letterman?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 23, 2005 2 comments

I dropped in to my local Costco today after lunch to pick up a couple of new DVDs. (No, Virginia, we don't get free review samples for <I>all</I> the titles that come out.) The aisles were crowded with cartons containing new televisions, all of them plasmas, LCDs, and DLPs. I saw the same thing last week when I was in Fry's&mdash;a California chain well known for just about everything electronic and a few things that are not. The branch in my area gives the same amount of space to a giant, 10-foot ant suspended from the ceiling (not a real one&mdash;just in case you were wondering if I've been watching too much science fiction lately) as it does to the latest in big-screen TVs. With the boxes piled high and deep at retailers everywhere, it's obvious they're all humming <I>'Tis the Season to be TV Buying</I> and <I>Jingle Bills</I> (but no interest until 2007).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 13, 2005 Published: Nov 14, 2005 2 comments

And you thought it was already here. It's true that a number of films over the past few years have been digitally projected in a small number of theaters around the world, using primarily DLP technology (and occasionally LCoS). But these presentations have employed a wide range of formats. For example, 30 different release masters were reportedly made for the 30 theaters that showed <I>Van Helsing</I> digitally in 2003. This lack of standardization could never support the massive conversion to digital cinema (and the savings in print distribution costs) that the studios are hoping for.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 12, 2005 0 comments

All videophiles are looking for the holy grail&mdash;a video projector that will blow everything else out of the water and cost next to nothing. Short of the industry adopting the business model used for computer printers (charging $100 for the projector and $4000 for a replacement lamp), that next-to-nothing price will likely remain a dream. But manufacturers are competing hard to make good home theater projectors much more affordable, if not exactly cheap.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 09, 2005 0 comments

If you checked into our website this week (and of course you did, or you wouldn't be reading this!) you've noticed a whole new look. Access to you favorite sections will be easier, thanks to a more detailed top line. Loading time—we anticipate—will be faster. And, most important—there's a whole new layer of content.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 02, 2005 5 comments

The DVD of <I>Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith</I> hits the video stores this week. Fox didn't send us an advanced screener. Perhaps they read the rather negative review I wrote last summer during the film's <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/thomasjnorton/505tjn/index1.html">thea... release</A>! I'll have more to say about the movie, and about the DVD release, in the upcoming November 2005 <I>UAV</I> eNewsletter, scheduled to be mailed out next week. You do subscribe, don't you? (If not, simply <A HREF="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/newsletter_subscribe/?Your%20E-mail"> click here</A> to sign up. It's free.)

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 30, 2005 0 comments
Comedian Robert Klein once did a routine about those ubiquitous old K-Tel TV ads for huge collections of music on a cassette or CD box set. "Every Elvis Presley song for just $9.99 plus shipping and handling," he began. Riffing on the increasing grandiosity of those ads, he ended with a flourish, "A trailer truck will pull up to your house loaded with CDs filled with every piece of music ever recorded!"
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 27, 2005 8 comments

What's a blog? It's the hot topic on the Internet these days, but what, exactly, is it? Since we've just launched four new blogs here on <I>Ultimate AV</I>, this is a timely question. Three of the blogs have been converted directly from our previous monthly columns. A fourth is brand new.

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