Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 21, 2002 0 comments

While the cabinet of Hitachi's new 51SWX20B 51-inch TV isn't exceptionally large by widescreen rear-projection CRT standards, its weight of almost 250 lbs is still intimidating. But as the delivery men were about to schlep it into my den, we discovered the first of many welcome new features, one that's almost unheard of in RPTVs: convenient carrying handles. Well, not actual handles, but well-positioned handholds, two on each side, fore and aft. If they don't exactly make carrying the set a pleasure, they at least make it less of an ordeal than usual.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 10, 2002 0 comments

<I>Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Gerry Becker, Bill Nunn, Jack Betts, Stanley Anderson, Ron Perkins. Directed by Sam Raimi. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French), Dolby Surround (English). Two discs. 121 minutes. 2002. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment 09661. PG-13. $29.99.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 16, 2002 0 comments

Plasma displays are a hot ticket in today's video market, generating a nearly universal "Wow!" reaction from first-time viewers. Fujitsu's new 61-inch-diagonal PDS-6101 has a picture nearly as big as the largest rear-projection sets, but weighs less than half as much. Even better, like all plasmas, it takes up no floor space when hung on a wall. That feature alone has probably accounted for much of the technology's appeal, despite the still high price of admission. Yes, prices are dropping rapidly, but while some of the smallest sets are getting close to the target sought by most manufacturers&mdash;$100 per diagonal inch&mdash;larger screens are still a long way from that goal.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 06, 2002 0 comments

<I>Voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly. Directed by Peter Doctor, David Silverman. Aspect ratios: 1.85:1, 4:3. Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX, DD Surround 5.1 sound-effects-only track, THX-certified. 94 minutes. 2001. Buena Vista Home Entertainment 93968. G. $29.99.</I>

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2002 0 comments

When a video product is arguably the best of its kind, it's hard to find the right words to describe it without blubbering. "The Next Best Thing to Being There" sounds vaguely familiar. "The Real Thing" might perk up your thirst, but doesn't quite gel. And "Must See TV" is only two-thirds right. With the Reference Imaging CinePro 9x Elite CRT projector and Teranex HDX Cinema MX video processor, we're definitely not in TV-land anymore.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 02, 2002 0 comments

All survivors of the classic audiophile disease of upgrade-itis can rattle off one or more components they wish they'd held on to. Easy enough to do in hindsight; at the time, we needed the dough to climb the next rung on the ladder to audio nirvana. I can name half a dozen products I'd like to still have around, if only for their nostalgia value. But I suspect that the Snell Type A loudspeakers, which I owned (in their improved versions) from 1978 to1985, would do more than awaken memories of the "good old days." They were genuinely fine speakers that would still be competitive today.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 01, 2002 0 comments

<I>Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Christopher Plummer. Directed by Ron Howard. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French). Two discs. 136 minutes. 2001. Universal 21450. PG-13. $29.98.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 25, 2002 0 comments

<I>Josh Hartnett. Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard. Directed by Ridley Scott. Aspect ratio: 2.40:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French). 144 minutes. 2001. Columbia Tri-Star 06766. R. $27.96.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2002 0 comments

<I>Voices of Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Tony Jay, Kevin Kline, Paul Kandel, Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough, Mary Wickes. Directed by Kirk Wise, Gary Trousdale. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish), DTS. 91 minutes. 1996. Buena Vista D23315. G. $29.99.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 28, 2002 0 comments

The Sony VPL-VW11HT LCD projector is an update of the VPL-VW10HT, reviewed in the June 2000 <I>SGHT</I>. It uses the same 16:9 LCD panel as the Grand Wega KF-60DX100, but wraps it in a compact front-projector chassis. It offers the same wide range of aspect ratios plus a few additional ones, and accepts 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i component or RGB sources, scaling them all to the panel's native resolution of 1366x768. (Unlike in the Grand Wega, 720p is not first converted to standard-definition 480p.) There are also composite and S-video inputs, but no digital input. Six user-programmable video memories store, among other things, the user's calibrated picture settings, selected color temperature, and a default aspect ratio.

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