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Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 05, 2006 0 comments

Power amps get little respect in the home theater world. They're the heavy, black (or silver) boxes that sit somewhere in the dark, serving your speakers with a generous supply of power.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2006 0 comments

Steven Soderbergh's feature film, <I>Bubble</I>, premiered last week in high definition on HDNet. It also opened simultaneously in several dozen theaters around the country, all of them either Landmark theaters (owned by HDNet owner Mark Cuban) or independent art houses. Theater chains boycotted the film because in its simultaneous release on cable television, in theaters, and (this past Tuesday) on DVD, it represented a perceived threat to their box office revenue.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 29, 2006 0 comments

We're living through interesting yet complicated times in the video display business. The much-revered CRT is an endangered species, being replaced by a supermarket of different new technologies.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 25, 2006 5 comments

Broadcasters are getting serious about HDTV, and for that we're all grateful. But some of them, and their sponsors, still don't get it.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 22, 2006 0 comments

These days, you can't tell the players in television manufacturing without a scorecard. At every CES, including this year's, new names sprout like kudzu. Some are strange and unfamiliar. Others are old standards, but under new ownership. Many will be gone by next year.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 18, 2006 0 comments

If you're an old hand at this home theater audio business, you know that both Dolby Digital and DTS first appeared in theaters, then on laserdiscs, and finally moved on to DVD. Because of the limited data space for audio on all of these delivery systems, the audio had to be heavily compressed&mdash;not in dynamic range (a common misconception) but to reduce the space it takes up on the film or disc. Both DTS and Dolby Digital use sophisticated encoding schemes to allow them to save space by discarding data that are not deemed audible. This "perceptual coding," together with other clever tricks, allow full-bodied, powerful sound to be squeezed into that itty-bitty living space.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 03, 2006 3 comments

This is the week. Throngs of unsuspecting innocents are expected to descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center. (That's in Nevada, not Las Vegas, NM. Yes, there is such a place, but they don't hold conventions (there aren't enough rooms at the Motel 6).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 01, 2006 0 comments

Denon's flagship AV receivers have long been rated among the best, if not <I>the</I> best that money can buy. They've also been loaded with features, sometimes to the point where using them for anything but normal operations is a real challenge for the average user. The company's latest top-of-the-heap effort, the $6000 AVR-5805, is both of these things, and much more.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 28, 2005 2 comments

You could write a book about how loudspeakers work in real-world listening rooms. In fact, many experts have. And while they may differ on many of the details, I suspect they will all agree on one point: The room-loudspeaker interface remains most neglected link in the audio reproduction chain.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 23, 2005 4 comments

Going ape over that last minute gift for the home theater enthusiast? Or looking to drop a hint on a gift for yourself? Check out Universal's recent release, <I>King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries</I>. Boxed in a faux-antique file briefcase that someone was paid entirely too much money to design and that you'll probably ditch anyway because it won't fit on your bookshelf, this set contains a production memoir, four limited edition prints (my signed Certificate of Authenticity is number 32,786!), and, most important, two DVDs filled with behind the scenes production material on the making of the film.

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