Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 25, 2013 0 comments
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The old fairy tail of Jack and the Beanstalk has been a staple in movies and television, with versions including Disney’s Mickey and the Beanstalk, several Looney Tunes cartoons, a segment in the recent Puss in Boots animated feature, a recent TV episode of Once Upon a Time, and even a 1952 Abbot and Costello movie. In Jack the Giant Slayer, teen Jack trades his uncle’s horse and cart for those magic beans.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 07, 2013 0 comments
A week ago this past Monday I was fortunate to be one of Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TCL’s guests at the premier of Ender’s Game at the TCL Chinese IMAX Theater in Hollywood. (The theater is still best known as Grauman’s Chinese; see my earlier blog here about TCL’s purchasing and remodeling this classic movie palace into an IMAX theater with stadium seating).
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 21, 2013 1 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
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Value
PRICE $20,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Extensive color control
Sparkling 3D
Minus
Black level could be better

THE VERDICT
A good overall performer and a solid first 4K effort from LG.

It’s rabbit season at the Sound & Vision ranch. The bunnies are reproducing at a torrid rate, and you can barely take aim at one before another dozen pop up.

We’re not talking cottontails here, but rather HDTVs. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the new sets arrive en masse in anticipation of the upcoming end-of-year holiday season. The hot tickets this year are 4K (more precisely, 3840 x 2160) or, as it has been dubbed by the industry, Ultra HD, and OLED. On the 4K front, two new LG sets, at 55 and 65 inches, recently hopped into view to fill out a 4K lineup that began with the big 84LM9600—the latter our subject here.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2013 0 comments
CEDIA began its annual event in 1989. At that time it was launched in a modest venue full of table-top exhibits and educational seminars, with a strong emphasis on the latter. This was appropriate, as we all had a lot to learn about home theater.

I’ve been attending CEDIA since 1994, when then Stereophile publisher Larry Archibald decided it was time to begin a new publication dedicated to the burgeoning home theater business—the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater. But even in the first year or two I attended, accompanied by Archibald, the Guide’s founding editor, Lawrence B. Johnson, and the requisite marketing crew, you could cover all of the exhibits in a couple of hours.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 08, 2013 0 comments
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When boogeyman Pitch Black schemes to plant fearsome nightmares into the minds and hearts of children throughout the world, it falls on the Guardians to derail his plans. When they attempt to convince Jack Frost, a free-spirit prankster, to join them, he agrees only when things turn truly grim.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2013 0 comments
Focal has a whole new line of loudspeakers slotting in just below the company's Electra range. The Aria series' signature feature is the use of cones consisting of a layer of flax sandwiched between layers of fiberglass. The result is said to produce a diaphragm that's stiff, light, and less time consuming to produce than the layered cones used in Focal's more pricey designs. There are currently five models in the range, shown here with the flagship 948 ($5000/pair) in front. The Aria CC 900 center is not shown, but somewhat disappointingly it's a conventional two-way woofer-tweeter-woofer design and not a 3-way with a centered, vertically-arrayed midrange and tweeter.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2013 0 comments
The Acurus ACT 4 7.1-channel pre-pro sports all the latest audio formats and is expected to ship early in 2014 for $4000. The accompanying 7.1-channel Acurus amplifier is available now at $4299.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2013 1 comments
Morris Kessler knows his way around an amplifier. His name may be a little less well known to audiophiles than Dan D'Agostino, Nelson Pass, and John Curl, but he has been quietly designing great amplifiers for many companies at least as long as any of them--and longer than some. His current company is ATI, well known for producing solid-performing, high-value audiophile amps. This is his signature design, the first to feature his name on the front panel. Available from 2-channels at $4000 and $8000 for 7 channels, it sports 400 W continuous into 8 ohms and, in 7-channel form, weighs in at 143 lbs! It should be available in January.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2013 0 comments
Pricey, high-end, dedicated 2-channel audio electronics were thin on the ground at CEDIA--they always are--but we did see amps from Constellation, Krell, Aragon, Theta, ATI, D'Agostino, and Esoteric (Esoteric is now distributed in the US by Integra). There was also this Boulder amplifier. Boulder is located in Boulder, Colorado, in case you missed the connection, which is just a stone's throw from CEDIA's Denver location.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2013 0 comments
Epson offered impressive demos of its PowerLite Pro Cinema 4030 ($2499) and 6030 ($3499) projectors, the former in 3D, the latter in 2D. Each of these models come with 3 year parts and labor warranty (90 days on the lamp), a spare lamp, and a ceiling mount. Both are finished in black and are available only through "CEDIA" channels--that is, to the custom installer. But the on-line or conventional shopper can get the same performance as the 6030 with the new PowerLite Pro Cinema 5030 (shown here) at $2600 (a wireless version is available at $2900).

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