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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superb contrast and black levels • Excellent color • Unique adjustments

It should be obvious that the cost of a great home theater projector keeps coming down. At $8,000, Sony’s new VPL-VW70 includes many features that distinguished its earlier, more expensive designs, improves on them in some important respects (particularly black levels), and brings a few new wrinkles of its own to the party.

Description
The large, relatively heavy Sony is easily the looker of this group. If you replaced its lens with a laser cannon and added a bridge bubble on top, its curvy, sci-fi-inspired shape wouldn’t be out of place swooping overhead at the beginning of Galaxy Quest II: The Wrath of Melmac.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $4,500 At A Glance: Excellent black level and shadow detail • • Bright, crisp image • Oversaturated color

We’re no strangers to JVC projectors around the Home Theater campfire. We’ve reviewed several of their models over the past few years. I’ve been using a DLA-RS1 as a reference since 2007. It isn’t perfect—no projector is—but it does a lot right, and I’m not the only one who says so. At $6,000 when it first came out, it was one of the players that redefined value in the home projector game.

We’re now two generations of JVC projectors beyond that, and things keep getting better. For 2009, JVC offers the DLA-HD350 and the DLA-HD750, plus two exact equivalents from its pro division. We reviewed the $7,500 DLA-HD750 in our April 2009 issue and it’s a current Top Pick.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,295 At A Glance: Impressive resolution • Good blacks and shadow detail • Oversaturated color • Excellent value

Sanyo has long been a big player in the business projector market. However, while it has a serious presence in home projectors in many markets, it has remained relatively low key for U.S. consumers. This is especially true when you compare it with manufacturers who are more aggressive at beating their own drums. But the PLV-Z3000 proves that the company knows its way around home theater projector design.

Description
The Sanyo lacks the Ferrari-like curves that many of its competitors sport. Still, its relatively plain, boxy shape is functional and well executed. All mechanical operations (horizontal and vertical lens shift, focus, and zoom) are manual. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since these are usually set-and-forget operations. The zoom lens has a throw-distance range of 9.8 to 20 feet for a 100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

<A href="http://www.audyssey.com/">Audyssey Laboratories</A>, the developer of MultEQ auto-equalization and other technologies now available in a wide range of A/V receivers and pre/pros, has long been a proponent of increasing the number of channels in an audio system. With its newly announced DSX technology, it has now brought that capability to home theaters.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2009 0 comments

Unless you live under a rock&#151;in which case, you probably don't read <I>UAV</I>&#151;you know that Pioneer's Kuro plasma TVs are the finest flat panels ever made. You also know that Pioneer is getting out of the plasma business altogether, much to the dismay of videophiles everywhere.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 23, 2009 5 comments

In the past, I've never actually tried using an ordinary wall as a screen for a video projector. Never really had to. Conventional wisdom states that a good screen is an equal partner with the projector in producing a great image. Or nearly equal, that is, if you're a projector manufacturer and not a screen maker!

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 13, 2009 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $5,690 (with SubSeries 300 subwoofer substituted for discontinued SubSeries 6i, updated 3/10/15)
At A Glance: Open, clean, and detailed • Expansive, cinematic sound • High value

Imagine: Airy Soundscapes

When deciding whether or not to set product priority for evaluation, every reviewer (consciously or unconsciously) applies a filter based on his or her previous experience with that manufacturer. Of course, there are always breakthrough products that demand to be covered and new companies that deserve to be discovered. But given the options available in the speaker world—including the new and the fascinating but rarely the revolutionary—you look first to those that have proved that they can make a great product.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2009 0 comments

At last year's CEDIA Expo, Sharp unveiled it's first LCD TV with LED backlighting and local dimming. Not only that, it's ultra-thin&#151;about 1 inch at the top and side edges, thickening to 2 inches in the middle. The image it produced on the show floor was stunning, with deeper reds and darker blacks than most LCDs are capable of.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2009 0 comments
Price: $12,000 At A Glance: Superb blacks • Exceptional resolution • Inaccurate color

Ultra Black and Ultra Thin

Less than two years after I accompanied a group of American journalists on a visit to a new Sharp factory, the company has developed yet another new plant. This one can support an even larger mother glass. On that same visit, we also witnessed examples of the company’s cutting-edge R&D, including new, ultra-black technology.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $7,000 At A Glance: Pricey, but offers unsurpassed image quality • No tuners or audio system • Last of the breed

The Last Hurrah for Kuro?

As I was finishing up this review, word arrived that Pioneer will exit the video display business. The economic climate, Pioneer’s premium prices, and the increasing market share of LCD displays combined to create a perfect storm that the company could not overcome. Pioneer panels will continue to be available through the end of 2009, including the Elite Signature Series monitors.

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