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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 12, 2007 0 comments

The price of machines that will play Blu-ray or HD DVD high-definition discs is coming down. The drop is faster on the HD DVD side of the battle lines, but at $499 Sony's new BDP-S300 is half the price of its (still available) first generation <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/1206sonybdps1/">BDP-S1</A>.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 09, 2007 0 comments
A good flat panel with a punchy image, good color and detail, an excellent remote control, and a tempting price.

When HP introduced its first line of televisions, after years as a leader in home computers, it featured both flat panel and rear projection sets. Now, however, the company sells flat panel LCD and plasma designs exclusively. Its two new LCD models are both 1080p. Its two plasmas are both 768p—an odd number that originated in the computer world and manages to linger on, at least in plasma designs.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 08, 2007 0 comments

HDMI connections, combined with a pristine source and a great display, can produce beautiful images, perhaps the best ever available to consumers. But the format has not been trouble free. Even if we ignore consideration of which version of HDMI we're dealing with, and the length limitations of the connections, more than a few videophiles have had problems getting HDMI some combinations of source, display, and switcher to work together.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 30, 2007 0 comments
The $3,999 TH-50PZ750U is in Panasonic's first group of 50" 1080p consumer plasma televisions. There is even a 50" model in the 700 series that offers fewer features than the set we're reviewing here, but costs $500 less.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 30, 2007 0 comments
Out with the Cineza. In with the BRAVIA.

Until recently, Sony's popular LCD video projectors carried the Cineza brand name. Apart from the fact that I always wanted to say, "bless you" whenever someone said Cineza, it was perfectly fine name. But Sony has now extended the "BRAVIA" moniker, once used to designate only its flat panel displays, across its line of displays.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 20, 2007 0 comments

Today I bring very sad news. Randy Tomlinson, a valued contributor to Ultimate AV and, more importantly, a close personal friend of over 30 years, dating back to when we were both in the Air Force, was killed this past Saturday morning in the crash of a private plane in northern California.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 10, 2007 0 comments

Omnidirectional speakers have an uneven history in the audio marketplace. They've always been few in number, but persist because a few designers believe in their unique capabilities. Whether or not you accept the validity of their theory of operation, they do offer a perspective on reproduced sound different than that provided by conventional, forward-radiating designs. Among other things, they almost invariably sound bigger and more spacious than their physical size suggests. For more on the background of omni speakers, go <A HREF=" http://www.ultimateavmag.com/images/newsletter/206uav.html ">here</A>.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 08, 2007 Published: Jun 09, 2007 2 comments

Sometimes there's more to be said about a reviewed product&mdash;information we've gleaned after the review is posted. It doesn't happen often; our schedule does not allow for leisurely, post-review ruminations. We have to move on to other gear. But sometimes we do learn new things. Or we need to follow up on something left hanging, perhaps after we've received a belated second sample. Often such updates are simply added to the existing review. But sometimes, particularly if the original review has scrolled off the home page and an important addition to it might be easily overlooked, the information will receive more attention elsewhere—such as in a blog.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 01, 2007 0 comments

I've had a soft spot for BenQ projectors since I reviewed its <A HREF=" http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/604benq/ ">PE8700</A> back in 2004. It was the first DLP projector that I felt truly demonstrated the potential of the technology to dominate the video projector market. While DLP has since faced serious competition from LCD and LCoS in both performance and price, it still does more than hold its own.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 29, 2007 0 comments
To someone new to the whole home theater game, setting up an AV receiver might be intimidating. It's the most complex piece of equipment in the whole system, and the one that you'll interface with the most.

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