Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Mark Levinson products sit at the top of the Harman Kardon Luxury Group’s totem pole. The new No.585 integrated amp $12,000, available summer 2014) offers 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 350 into 4, D/A conversion up 32 bits/192kHz, and a full complement of analog and digital inputs (including USB—but no HDMI, an unfortunate but almost universal omission in 2-channel integrated amps).

There is also a built-in subwoofer crossover and output for those wanting to set up a 2.1-channel system to accommodate both music and movies.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Instead of formally exhibiting at the CES this year, Harman International set up shop in a large ballroom at the Hard Rock hotel. When we were there, the place was jumping, despite the relatively remote vernue.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Lexicon’s venerable MC-12 preamp-processor, which has been on the market for over ten years (with important upgrades alinbg the way to accommodate the changing times) is about to be replaced by the MC-14. The latter (April, $10,500) will offer a full complement of inputs and other ports, including HDMI, USB, 7.1-channel analog, Ethernet, RS-232, and a headphone output. It accepts all current consumer sources, and also has a selectable analog bypass for playback. Oddly, however, there is no provision for any form of manual or automatic room compensation.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2014 0 comments
It's been suggested that the next manufacturers to break into the HDTV market will be Chinese. That's not surprising as many current sets branded by manufacturers from Japan and Korea are often subcontracted, in whole or in part, to Chinese factories.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 1 comments
I tried to get a glimpse of Samsung’s curved 105-inch 2.35:1 widescreen TV on the show floor, but in the Samsung booth was packed and the area around the set inaccessible. But I got a later look at a closed-room Samsung demo. On the left here, to provide a size perspective, is Samsung’s Mike Wood—a one-time regular at Home Theater who has now forsaken balmy Southern California for the cold, windswept snowdrifts of the Garden State, where Samsung has its U.S. headquarters. On the right is current Sound & Vision editor in chief Rob Sabin.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
While curved HDTVs appeared to be the order of the week at CES, particularly among Korean giants LG and Samsung (see above), Sharp stuck with flat screens for its impressively wide 2014 lineup of both Ultra HD and standard 1080p HD (the operative industry word for the latter now appears to be “Full HD”).
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
No information was offered on this Ultra HD set, which appeared to be a show special and not a commercial product, but it’s clear that showing a BIG, big screen set was the in thing to do this year. Unlike the ginormous Samsung and LG sets, however, this Toshiba was flat and not curved.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
Samsung has redesigned its smart remote for 2014. It offers voice, motion, and direct control as before, but with enhanced usability. The Smart Hub feature it controls now will let you surf the web as you watch TV and multitask in a split screen mode. Manufacturers have determined that most TV viewers are surfing the web on their computers and/or using their smart phones to talk, text, or surf as they watch TV. The show was alive with redesigned Internet TV features to satisfy this increasingly ADD social trend.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
Toshiba never really went anywhere, but they’ve kept a low profile for the past couple of years. No longer. The company’s Ultra HD 4K models, scheduled to roll out this summer, are a step back into the game.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 2 comments
Samsung’s new Auto Depth Enhancer, on its 9000 and S9 Ultra HD sets, analyzes different areas of the screen and adjusts their contrast separately to provide a greater illusion of depth with 2D sources. In a side-by-side comparison with one of Samsung’s 2013 sets, it definitely worked. There was a bit of the cardboard cutout 3D look, but since the depth enhancement, while appealing, was subtle, this wasn’t bothersome.

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