Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 25, 2013 0 comments
If you’re angling for a ceiling installation, but are put easy adjustability in roll, yaw, and tilt—everything but left-right; it’s up to you to insure that the projector's lens is centered on the screen.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 25, 2013 0 comments
Custom installations aren’t all about audio and video hardware, and the field in recent years has expanded into peripheral areas such as custom window blinds of various sorts—from decorative to blackout. The Hunter-Douglas Pirouettes shown here, available in manual and powered versions (battery or hard-wired), appear to be of the former variety, though when closed (they’re shown open here) they’ll dim (but not darken) the room.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 20, 2013 0 comments
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Follow the yellow brick road. And your little dog, too! I’m melting! Ding dong the witch is dead. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The Wizard of Oz has likely contributed as much to the American lexicon as anything prior to Star Trek. (Just kidding— though “I’m giving ‘er all she’s got, Capt’n, He’s dead, Jim, Engage, Fascinating, Make it so, and I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer” do have their loyal fans.) The movie wasn’t a huge hit when it first opened in 1939, but it made up for it years later, particularly starting in the 1950s when it became an annual TV event.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 31, 2013 0 comments
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Ralph plays the bad guy in the decades-old video game Fix-It Felix, Jr. Each time the game is reset, he trashes the high-rise apartment building that serves as the game’s main setting, only to have Felix instantly repair the damage. It’s a living, but Ralph lives alone in a junk pile, the other characters in the game want nothing to do with him, and he finds relief only in a Bad-Anon support group. As another member of that group argues, he may be a bad guy, but he isn’t a bad guy.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 18, 2013 0 comments
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James P. “Sulley” Sullivan is the pride of Monsters, Inc., the power company for Monstropolis. As Sulley and the other Monster scarers pass through doors leading into children’s bedrooms, the energy generated by kids’ screams is captured and stored. Sulley is the champion scarer, and Mike Wazowski is his coach, right-hand monster, and best pal.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 11, 2013 19 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $7,000
At A Glance
: Four times the native resolution of standard HD • Advanced color technology • State-of-the-art 3D

With the introduction of its new 2013 XBR sets, Sony has shown that it’s serious about bringing Ultra HD, popularly referred to as 4K, to consumers at prices that, while still high, are less seizure-inducing than the $25,000 sticker on its 84-inch XBR-84X900 (Home Theater, June 2013).

Technically, 4K is shorthand for a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels—the professional 4K format. Consumer 4K sets, on the other hand, have a resolution of 3840 x 2160, exactly four times the pixel count of full HD 1080p. Regardless of the industry’s plan to refer to such sets as Ultra HD, 4K has already crept into the lexicon as the popular term for 3840 x 2160 home video.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 10, 2013 0 comments
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Kai, a young falcon, yearns to spread his wings and explore the world, more specifically an avian community called Zambezia. There he hopes to join the Hurricanes, the skilled and brave flying corps that defends the city. But his father is unalterably opposed to his leaving their safe but boring life for reasons Kai does not at first understand. Kai leaves the nest on his own anyway, joining a flock of geese headed to the fabled bird city. Once there, he finds the city in danger from a terrifying enemy.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 01, 2013 0 comments
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Written by novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie and produced as a London stage play in 1904, Peter Pan has become a timeless classic, finding its way onto stage, screen, and television. But it’s this 1953 Disney film that defines the story for most modern audiences.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 29, 2013 4 comments
Despite all the talk about 4K (or Ultra HD) displays, there are already a bazillion hours of “standard” 2K HD programming out there in videoland. Consumer 4K sources will be slow in coming, and they might well arrive over the Internet. The question remains as to whether or not the inherent data rate limitations of streaming video could dilute or eliminate the supposed benefits of 4K resolution—apart from the marketing hype.

Over the next couple of years, therefore, and assuming that 4K sets take fire in the marketplace, the smart money will be on upconverting 2K sources to 4K. No form of upconverting can add real resolution; genuine Ultra HD starts and ends with 4K resolution. Nevertheless, we expect plenty of action on the 2K to 4K upconversion front. Since consumer 2K is largely (though not entirely) 1920 x 1080 pixels, and consumer 4K is 3840 x 2160, it would appear that such upconversion might simply involve taking the content of each 2K pixel and quadrupling it (with no added enhancement) to fill a 2 x 2 pixel area on the 4K display. But that will gain nothing in subjective resolution, and may actually reduce image quality due to the added processing required. Most upconversion, therefore, will likely include enhancement and/or other digital manipulation, designed to both eliminate possible upconversion losses and better simulate the look of true 4K.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 28, 2013 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,000 At A Glance: Stunning brightness • Good color and detail • Mediocre black level and contrast

While our subject here is the W1070 home theater projector from BenQ, there’s more than a little business projector DNA in its genes. How else to explain a single-chip DLP design that’s a third the size and weight of most dedicated home theater models, has built-in audio with grim but usable mono sound, is equipped with a “digital zoom” that magnifies the image within the frame set by the standard zoom control (just the thing for a close examination of that quarterly profit and loss spreadsheet), still offers an S-video input, and has a relatively close-throw lens with a significant vertical offset?

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