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Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 13, 2014 1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $350

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Good video performance
Unique ergonomics
Vertical or horizontal placement
Minus
No front-panel display
Sluggish YouTube access

THE VERDICT
Its video performance, 4K upconversion, and atypical form factor may well attract buyers, while its slight edge enhancement and mixed performance on some Internet sites may not. But it’s clear that this Toshiba is not your father’s disc player.

It’s getting harder these days for a manufacturer to build and sell a high-end Blu-ray player simply as a Blu-ray player. The market is saturated, and the latecomers, who finally realize that DVD is not high definition and a Blu-ray Disc offers the best quality video currently available to the consumer, seem content to pop for the $49.99 Blu-ray special on aisle 5.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 11, 2014 12 comments
I recently completed a review of The Right Stuff on Blu-ray, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Sound & Vision as well as on this website. Since space is limited in my print review, I've decided to dedicate this blog to how I evaluated the 96kHz audio offered on the disc.

Last year, Dolby announced a new variation on its TrueHD audio codec for Blu-ray, a process that uses 96kHz upsampling of the. Its purpose is to eliminate some common digital artifacts (see Geoff Morrison's article for a more detailed explanation of how this works).

The process has only been used to date, however, on a few releases. The Right Stuff, originally released on Blu-ray in November 2013, was supposed to be one them. Through a mastering error, however, the process was not engaged. Now, two months later, Warner Brothers has re-released the film with the 96kHz upsampled soundtrack.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 30, 2014 0 comments
Picture
3D-ness
Sound
Extras
Kaiju is a Japanese word meaning, monster—typically a big monster and a very bad hombre with anger issues. Kaiju are hard to miss, and the founder of the Kaiju feast was, of course, Godzilla the Great.

In Pacific Rim, Kaiju (gesundheit) are popping up all over, emerging from a rift in the ocean floor and stomping all over the biggest cities around the Pacific. To counter the looming apocalypse, mankind has built mechanical monsters of its own, mechas known as Jaegers. Jaeger means hunter in German, but while my first encounter with a Jaeger was a schnitzel, these Jaegers are huge machines, matching the size and strength of the Kaiju.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 24, 2014 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color
Excellent resolution
Good black level and shadow detail
Minus
Expensive
No full-array backlight

THE VERDICT
As with all of the new Ultra HD sets, the Samsung might not give you everything that the future of the technology will throw at it, but for now it’s an exceptional performer.

With a resolution of 3840 x 2160—four times as many pixels as in standard HD—Samsung’s UN65F9000 is one of the first so-called Ultra HD sets to hit the market and the company’s first such TV at 65 inches.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 16, 2014 3 comments
The International CES for 2014 is history. But don’t call it the Consumer Electronics Show any longer. Just CES will do. The CEA, which runs the show (I guess it’s still OK to call the CEA the Consumer Electronics Association) wants to drop the long form, probably so we can now call it the CES show without being redundant.

In any case, a consumer electronics show by any other name is still a consumer electronics show. And it continues to be the biggest game in Las Vegas every January. Over the years it has outgrown its roots as an audio/video show to encompass all manner of electronic detritus. Computers and gadgets of all sorts now deck the halls. After the show I heard something about a Bluetooth toothbrush, but I missed out on seeing it. My life is now without meaning.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
While some of the competition (particularly LG) went all out for OLED this year (though OLED was hardly the talk of the show, an honor reserved for 4K) Panasonic didn't make any OLED product announcements. But they haven't been sitting on their hands.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
In a dark cubicle, with no photos possible (or allowed), Panasonic demonstrated a prototype of a 4K flagship LCD/LED set planned for release later in 2014. Sited next to the now discontinued ZT60 plasma, it looked impressive. The LCD set had full-array LED backlighting, and appeared to have respectable off-center performance—as far as it was possible to tell in such a small space. One of the Panasonic reps said it had an IPS LCD panel—the LCD technology with the best off-axis performance.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
In the most ambitious home theater demo at CES, MSR Acoustics coordinated an Elite Home Entertainment Experience in a large room at the Venetian Hotel.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
Wolf Cinema was the second of only two home theater demos I found at the Venetian Hotel (the other being the MSR discussed above), which was otherwise (apart from a few soundbars) a sea of 2-channel, audio-only demos. Wolf Cinema showed three of its offerings. The fabulous photo shown here was the headliner, the $25,000 SDC-25. It's a single-chip DLP design with lamp-free, LED illumination, and looked plenty bright on a 102-inch (wide) screen.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
While Aerial Acoustics' speakers aren't candidates for the bargain basement, they do have a reputation for great sound and solid engineering. The new 6T ($6000) is a thinner and relatively more affordable sibling to the company's 7T (just under $10,000).

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