A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 05, 2018  |  First Published: Dec 04, 2018  |  2 comments
Room correction is a process by which you eliminate (or I should say, attempt to eliminate) the nasty acoustic qualities of a small room. Many variables are at play, not the least of which are the acoustic characteristics of your room, but today’s room correction systems can be very helpful in improving room response. Here I share my recent experience with one of these systems.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 20, 2018  |  0 comments
I have little experience with Black Friday mania, having studiously avoided any contact with Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, or Targea on that frenzied day. Black Friday doesn’t mean a day of mourning, but is rather named for the day of the year when retailers anticipate their annual sales will finally go positive—out of the red and into the black.

And there’s no denying it to be an important day to people with plastic and a yearning for good stuff at fire-sale prices. For them it’s a Holy Day of Obligation. They line up outside at closing time on Thanksgiving (the day before the main event) to spend a cold night bundled up outside hoping to score that new flat screen TV (though Black Friday Vigil sales late on Turkey Day are now a thing)...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 06, 2018  |  7 comments
I don’t know if you’ve noticed (though how could you not) that a lot of the stuff we buy these days is made in China. It ranges from the remarkably cheap (like the lightweight, pleated jacket I bought last year in Walmart (for less than the price of a CD or Blu-ray) to the very expensive (such as Buick’s new Envision SUV—yes, that’s made in the PRC as well, the first U.S. car made there, by GM Shanghai). It’s difficult to buy anything today without encountering a product made in China as the only viable alternative. And even if it’s manufactured in the U.S., many of its individual pieces were likely sourced in China...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 30, 2018  |  0 comments
IMAX and DTS stirred up a bit of a hurricane at September’s CEDIA Expo when they announced the launch of a new home theater certification program called “IMAX Enhanced.” Here’s what we know…
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 16, 2018  |  6 comments
A recent product announcement from Amazon touted the launch of a “subwoofer” to supplement the response of Amazon’s popular Echo vocal assistant. Presumably it will work with the even smaller Echo Dot as well. But for me it raised a couple of eyebrows.

Given that the low frequency response of an Echo alone probably doesn’t reproduce any useful output much lower than 100 Hz (admittedly an educated guess), the Echo Sub certainly can't hurt. But given its size and its 6-inch driver, there's no way that such a product it can be considered a subwoofer...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 02, 2018  |  1 comments
While the movers behind the Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek franchises aren’t at risk of losing sleep over dinosaurs just yet, the Jurassic worlds and parks do threaten to chomp on more than a few toes over the coming years.

When Jurassic Park debuted in 1993 it could have been a boom or a bust. Computer generated effects (CGI) were just coming into their own, but with a few exceptions (notably Terminator 2) they still hadn’t eaten the film business alive. Though keenly aware of his problems with the anamatronic shark in 1975’s Jaws, director Steven Spielberg was also aware that CGI, while still in its infancy, had significantly advanced the possibilities for special effects since the (on-set) practical effects of 1975.

So Spielberg went ahead. Using a brilliant combination of anamatronics and CGI he crafted a classic movie with effects that still hold up today. Four other Jurassic films have followed, three of them directed by others...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 11, 2018  |  0 comments
The 2018 edition of CEDIA Expo is now history and, although it may not be as grand as CES, it still left us with plenty to chew on.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 06, 2018  |  3 comments
For 2019, Sony has further refined the VPL-VW285ES projector I reviewed last year and is now calling it the VPL-VW295ES. I was able to spend some time to spend with it before heading off to CEDIA.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 21, 2018  |  6 comments
Avengers: Infinity War was a more compelling experience at home in 4K and HDR than in my local IMAX theater.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 07, 2018  |  3 comments
Last week Sound & Vision editor Al Griffin wrote on this site about Sony’s recent New York event. The subject was the launching of the company’s new Master Series flagship televisions, the new A9F OLEDs (in 55- and 65-inch sizes) and Z9F LCDs (65- and 75-inches). The event was held in a venue that in its past life was an exclusive dinner theater from 1938 to 1951, fell into disrepair in the following decades, and was remodeled in 2013. Since then it has been contracted to Sony, renamed Sony Hall, and used for a variety of theatrical and business events.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 24, 2018  |  0 comments
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (that is, a sequel) opened in theaters this week. I didn’t realize that the first film, Mamma Mia! The Musical was a major hit when it was released in 2009, selling hundreds of billions of tickets to folks worldwide. I wasn’t of them, having a love/hate relationship with the Abba tunes featured in the film.

In fact I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with movie musicals. La La Land lost me after the first song and dance number from the otherwise appealing leads who could neither sing nor dance. And apart from that title and a few others (notably The Greatest Showman—a recent release now available on a spectacular UHD Blu-ray), the musical hasn’t received a lot of film love in recent years. But it was, for decades, a movie staple...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 10, 2018  |  4 comments
No, you can’t yet buy an 8K set anywhere, nor is there any 8k programming being streamed, broadcast, or engraved on a physical disc that a consumer can buy. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t being seriously discussed in R&D circles.

In the last week in June a well-attended, two-day seminar on near-future UHDTV display technologies took place in Hollywood, CA. Conducted by Insight Media (www.insightmedia.info), a company that both consults with companies in the video display industry and conducts media-related tech conferences, and sponsored by Samsung, the conference dove heavily into subjects such as 8K, Quantum Dots, and micro LEDs...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 25, 2018  |  0 comments
We rarely discuss smartphones here at Sound & Vision, but I suspect that most readers, if forced to choose which device they’d choose to keep if they had to divest themselves of all but one, would choose their smartphone. But that wouldn’t include me. I don’t check my phone 20 times a day, and Facebook and Twitter are strangers to me. In the past I’ve used my phone mainly for e-mails, news, Listen-In radio, and phone calls.

But my recent experience with a new smartphone offers cautionary lessons also applicable to our more house-bound entertainment goodies: televisions, AVRs, speakers, home assistants, home automation, and more...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 12, 2018  |  2 comments
I covered the pros and cons of choosing a projector or a flat screen set in a blog late last year. But a new candidate makes it worth a second look. That technology is the short throw projector, currently being heavily promoted by several manufacturers. Many of these devices are still pricey, but a few models that are at least competitive with premium flat screen sets are now available, with more sure to come...
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 29, 2018  |  7 comments
Ah, summer movies. The summer blockbuster tradition is relatively new, but summer moviegoing likely became a big thing when air conditioning was new and “Air Conditioning” on a theater marque guaranteed an audience.

But as I sat in a nearly empty local theater last week watching Avengers: Infinity War (it was a weekday afternoon and the movie had been out for 2 weeks), I wondered if the now ubiquitous Marvel Universe has painted itself into a corner. There are now too many characters to squeeze into a single film, even if some of the lesser lights were sidelined in this one (on holiday, perhaps—after all, only the future of the universe was at stake). So you have a gaggle of actors, each one of which is expecting significant screen time by getting his or her own little slice of the pie. That means a few meaty and/or witty lines for each of them and then off to the next battle. And if there’s one thing this movie isn’t lacking, it’s a next battle. And the next. And the next...

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