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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Two of the LCD sets in this Face Off, including the Samsung, produce black levels that were unheard of in LCD flat panels until recently. Like the Sony in this group, the Samsung LN55A950 uses clusters of multicolored LEDs as a backlight, together with local dimming of the individual clusters as required by the program material. The LN55A950 is the larger of Samsung’s second generation of LED local-dimming sets.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Manufacturers of flat-panel plasma televisions have been refining the technology for years. But Pioneer has been particularly successful at it. In the past, the company made some of the world’s best rear-projection CRT sets, and it knew that great black levels are the foundation of a great picture. That philosophy has paid off over the years, particularly in recent-generation KURO sets.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

The Panasonic TH-50PZ800U is one of the first HDTVs to earn THX certification. But you might ask, “Isn’t THX mainly into audio?” I can see where you’re coming from, but THX isn’t exactly new to the home video business. It has certified video software for years and has begun to do the same for projectors and flat-panel displays.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 12, 2009 3 comments

The video world woke up last Friday to the news reports that Pioneer Electronics, long a leader in consumer video display technology, was getting out of the video display business. At first, the reports did not come from Pioneer itself, but rather from news agencies (first in Japan, later overseas) that put two and two together and concluded that they really did equal four.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 09, 2009 0 comments
Founded in 1972, UK-based Monitor Audio has long produced speakers that offered good value, from its low-end Bronze line, starting at around $325 for a pair of two-way bookshelf models and extending up to $4500/pair for the company's priciest Gold Signature model. Even that is not an outrageous price for an upscale design in today's speaker market. The number of current speaker lines topping out at over $20k/pair, however, would be alarming if it weren't counterbalanced by excellent speakers selling for a fraction of that price.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2009 0 comments

I watched a lot of television growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. Okay, more often than not what I was reading was a Radio Shack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct <I>Audio</I> or <I>High Fidelity</I>. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents' 21-inch console television with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book&mdash;er, magazine&mdash;and the latest episode of <I>Gunsmoke</I>.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 21, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,299 At A Glance: Unique audio design • Inaccurate color tracking • Blacks measure better than they look

LCD Picture, Widescreen Sound

Many of today’s flat-panel HDTVs can look amazingly good. But when sets frequently offer similar features that differ mainly in name, it’s hard for any particular model to break loose from the yada, yada, yada sameness of the pack. That is, unless the manufacturer can convince the consumer that its Super Dynamic Image Enhancer is something he’s just gotta have.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 12, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Exceptional color adjustments for excellent color • Outstanding resolution • Punchy image but disappointing black level • THX Cinema mode is inaccurate

Calibrator’s Delight

LG may be one of the world’s largest LCD makers, but the company is still very much in the plasma game, with an updated lineup of six plasma HDTVs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 30, 2008 4 comments

You know who you are. You're an experienced <I>Ultimate AV</I> reader with friends who just bought a new flat panel HDTV for the holidays. They've had it delivered and set up by Crazy Zeke's TV and Refrigerator Superstore.

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