A/V Veteran

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 10, 2020  |  3 comments
Every year as LG gets ready to release new TVs into the market, the company invites reviewers from all over the country to its Los Angeles facility to introduce the new lineup. Just this week I was scheduled to travel to that annual event for an up-close look at LG’s 2020 TV lineup. I thought seriously for days about whether or not to attend as coronavirus (COVID-19) slowly spreads across the country...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 25, 2020  |  16 comments
When I was a lad I served a turn as a Hi-Fi looker with no bucks to burn…

With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, I’d venture that more than a few veteran audiophiles began that way. Back in the day every city of medium to large size had at least one hi-fi shop. Big cities had dozens....I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but by the mid ‘90s there were far fewer shops than before...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  10 comments
I first saw George Pal’s 1953 The War of the Worlds as an 11-year old. It terrified me, but I couldn’t look away. I wasn’t aware at the time that it was based on a book by H.G. Wells, a story that had earlier been adapted by Orson Welles into a 1938 radio drama. The latter had panicked hundreds of adults. Scared as I was in watching the film, I knew it was just a movie. A surprising number of those 1938 listeners thought the broadcast was real.

Both that 1938 broadcast and the 1953 film insured that alien invasions from outer space would become a staple of sci-fi films. Since then the Earth has been attacked from beyond dozens of times in movies, television shows, and even in a 1978 progressive rock album from Jeff Wayne. The results, depending on individual tastes, have ranged from stunning to silly.

But no serious film fan today can deny that the 1953 War of the Worlds is a cult classic...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 28, 2020  |  0 comments
In Choosing the Right Projector for a WOW! Experience, we compared the merits of big-screen TV vs. video projection and covered the ins and outs of selecting the perfect projector. Now it’s time to delve into what it takes to choose the perfect screen to go with your new projector.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 14, 2020  |  0 comments
CES 2020 is history. It might seem odd for me to comment here on an event I didn’t attend. But Sound & Vision editor Al Griffin, along with free-lancers, went and got the job done. Upwards of 185,000 dedicated souls registered for the event, including over 30,000 from points outside of North America. As far as I know it’s the biggest consumer technology show on the planet...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 23, 2019  |  0 comments
For those pining for Part 2 of my latest tome on projectors and screens, it will come soon enough. But posting it on Christmas Eve seemed like an invitation for me to plunge into the reindeer-and-chestnuts memory hole. With the biggest holiday of the year fast approaching as I write this (not counting Super Sunday), you'll likely be looking for relief from Uncle Harry's annual Christmas dinner ramblings: "when I was your age..." So fire up the old home theater and settle in for a movie or two — a movie about the holiday, on the holiday.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 10, 2019  |  1 comments
Ready to create a WOW! big-screen experience at home but not sure where to start? No worries, I’ll guide you through the process.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 26, 2019  |  15 comments
It's hard to say whether my interest in music and audio started with my first experiences with multichannel sound in the movie theater or whether my interest in movies in theaters, and later in home theater, started with my interest in music. But the fact remains that the film score, mainly of the orchestral variety but sometimes of other sorts (looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.1 and Vol.2), remains one of my favorite forms of music.

Film music doesn't have an enviable reputation among classical music connoisseurs. But I see no reason to disparage it because it was written for a more popular type of entertainment...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 12, 2019  |  0 comments
Just in time for Veterans' Day (November 11) comes a movie about the WWII battle of Midway. In June 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor, this unlikely American victory over Japan's attempt to occupy a seemingly insignificant American outpost on a tiny Pacific atoll was, if not the turning point in a war that would rage for another 3+ years, at a minimum a major blow to Japan's then formidable naval strength.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 22, 2019  |  4 comments
I've said it before, but it's still true, that whenever we have a new video format the movie studios eagerly line up to sell us our favorites all over again—from VHS tape to Laserdisc to DVD to Blu-ray. But today, with movie streaming swamping video discs sales, the line of consumers eager to replace their existing discs is now shorter than ever.

Ultra HD's, however, appear to be fighting the trend. UHD re-releases of popular films are showing up like flies to a picnic.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 01, 2019  |  6 comments
In a recent review, not yet published, I opened with a few remarks on the cost of today's premium Ultra HDTVs. Are they much more expensive than they were decades ago when adjusted for inflation? It's question worth revisiting in more detail.

In the early 1970s a good, 21-inch console color television might cost you $500. In today's money that would be around $3300

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 17, 2019  |  1 comments
The old Blue Bear kept trying to break in but was forever doomed to be on the outside looking in. But the rest of us were more successful, and for three days last week the Denver Convention Center was full of all sorts of goodies needed by custom installers.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 03, 2019  |  1 comments
An in-depth look at Blu-ray parameters that can be sorted and studied in a variety of ways.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 20, 2019  |  1 comments
In TV Tech Explained: Mind Your Gamma I covered gamma and its importance for playback of standard dynamic range (SDR) video. But high dynamic range (HDR) is a new and very different animal.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  3 comments
Unless you're accustomed to turning on your new set and never touching any of the controls beyond volume (and if you're reading this that's probably not you) Gamma is a control and a subject worth knowing more about.

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