Thomas J. Norton

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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.

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

The cathode-ray tube, or CRT, has been the mainstay of direct-view sets since Philo Farnsworth exclaimed, "Uncle Milty, come here, I need you!" And when projection television entered the scene, the trusty CRT stayed the course. While new technologies are beginning to make inroads on the market, virtually all of today's rear-projection sets still use three separate CRTs to produce an image. Despite its challengers, the CRT still provides the best combination of quality and affordability a consumer can get in a one-piece set. But CRT sets are complex, fussy, and, when used in the large screen sizes consumers now demand, massive. A typical 60-inch-diagonal RPTV can weigh 250 lbs and take up more space than a large refrigerator.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 14, 2002 0 comments
Five years ago to the month, six SGHT writers gathered in the Guide's then home base of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the magazine's first evaluation of the hottest new development in video: the DVD. Until then, the favored videophile format was the laserdisc. The LD had not only served us well for many years but, arguably, had made home theater a reality. I don't think any of us truly believed that DVD would seriously outperform that trusted 12-inch silver platter.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 30, 2002 0 comments

<I>Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay. Directed by David Mamet. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French). 109 minutes. 1999. Warner Video 21321. R. $24.98.</I>

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

<I>Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane, Larry Bryggman. Directed by Tony Scott. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French), DTS 5.1. 127 minutes. 2001. Universal 21552. R. $26.98.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 03, 2002 0 comments

Until recently, the beer-budget options available for equipping a home theater with a projection system were severely limited. You either bought used or you settled for a projector designed primarily to serve the business market. Both approaches saved money, but neither was ideal. You can luck out buying used gear&mdash;a car holds its value far longer than a video projector&mdash;but you can also get burned. A business projector can perform reasonably well at home, but it won't be optimized for home applications and often lacks important features, such as full control of aspect ratio.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 19, 2002 0 comments

<I>Voices of Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Corey Burton, Claudia Christian, Phil Morris, Don Novello, Leonard Nimoy, John Mahoney, Jacqueline Obradors, Florence Stanley, David Ogden Stiers, Cree Summer, Jim Varney. Directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (French). Two DVDs. 95 minutes. 2001. Walt Disney Home Video 23835. PG. $39.95.</I>

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 13, 2002 0 comments

When I reviewed Toshiba's TW40X81, the smallest (40-inch) RPTV in Toshiba's first full line of HDTV-ready sets, I raved about its picture quality (SGHT, March/April 2000). I was so taken with it, in fact, that I bought the review sample. I still use it, but a lot of video displays have bobbed under the bridge since then, and Toshiba is now two generations beyond that earlier design. The company's smallest rear-projection set is now the 42-inch-diagonal 42H81. But the 50H81, at 50 diagonal inches, is only slightly more expensive, and has the advantage of a significantly larger picture in a still (relatively) manageable cabinet. Like all HDTV-ready sets, it can display hi-def broadcasts, but only with an optional, outboard HD tuner.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 05, 2002 0 comments

<I>Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, Powers Booth, Robert Burke, Dana Delaney, Sam Elliott, Stephen Lang, Joanna Pacula, Bill Paxton, Jason Priestly, Michael Rooker, Jon Tenney, Billy Zane, Charlton Heston; narrated by Robert Mitchum. Directed by George P. Cosmatos. Aspect ratio: 2.35 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, THX. Two DVDs. 134 minutes. 1993. Touchstone Home Video 23118. R. $29.99.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 14, 2002 0 comments

<I>Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Brendan Gleeson, William Hurt. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Surround (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French). Two DVDs. 145 minutes. 2001. DreamWorks Home Entertainment 89567. PG-13. $29.99.</I>

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