A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 15, 2007  |  8 comments

HDMI 1.0 was introduced to the market in 2002. As a means of carrying both digital audio and video between the source and the display, it offered several advantages over competing technologies, the most prominent being IEEE 1393, commonly known as FireWire. HDMI carried both audio and video, and also offered alluring security advantages that appealed, in particular, to Hollywood.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 22, 2007  |  10 comments

Previously, on this blog (see below), I discussed the upgrades that HDMI 1.3 offered for video. Most of them, in my opinion, were nice to have as a hedge against future improvements in sources and displays, but did not offer any real benefits with present and foreseeable video formats, both standard and high definition. As far as video is concerned, then, I saw no reason to toss out your present gear or hold off a purchase until there's a wide range of sources, switchers, and displays with HDMI 1.3. That will likely be a long wait.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 11, 2017  |  0 comments
Now that I have your attention…CES 2017 is in the history books. While I haven't yet heard the final attendance, I'm certain that somewhere north of 150,000 people were jockeying for position when I visited the Las Vegas Convention Center, the heart of the event. It's also supplemented by several other venues, including the Venetian Hotel, traditionally the site of the specialty (i.e., high-end) audio exhibits.

The video high point of the big show for me was Sony's CLETIS (Crystal LED Integrated System)...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 17, 2006  |  1 comments

It’s hard to believe but I now live in a two Bose household. My first Bose was a car stereo that came as part of a package deal in the Mazda 3 that I bought nearly two years ago. I had to take it to get the whole shebang. It wasn’t really a bad deal. Dissing Bose may be a spectator sport among heavy-duty audiophiles, but apart from a little bass heaviness (not exactly rare in car stereos), it’s a more than respectable piece of work. It I had wanted to buy a car for the stereo, I would have gone with an Acura TL.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 04, 2015  |  1 comments
What turns a movie into a guilty pleasure? I suppose it’s a film that you enjoy, though you know you shouldn’t because everyone else seems to hate it. There’s a lot of such films in my collection, some of them bought by me, others remnants of the “too odd to review” bins in the publications I’ve written for, from the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater to the present.

Here are ten of them, and they’re by no means the only ones on my shelf...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 29, 2015  |  7 comments
It’s fall, and a young man’s fancy (and we hope a woman’s as well) turns to thoughts of evenings by a roaring fire listening to music or watching a movie or two on that new flat screen UHD TV (hopefully not mounted above said fireplace!). There have been so many interesting posts to the S&V website recently that I can’t resist the temptation to offer a few thoughts on some of them. Some commenters to these individual posts have beaten me to the punch, but I’ll press on.

Paradigm Concept I’ll soon be finishing up a review of the Paradigm Prestige 95F loudspeaker for our sister publication Stereophile. No sneak peeks here, but it has certainly grabbed my attention.

So I was intrigued when I read about the prototype Paradigm Concept 4F.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Classé introduced its new two-channel Delta preamp ($9,000), Delta stereo amplifier ($10,000), and Delta monoblock amp ($9,000 each). The amps are rated at 250wpc/8 ohms for the stereo version and 300wpc/8 ohms for the monoblocks and said to remain in class A up to 25W. The preamp includes both analog and digital capabilities, together with available parametric equalization and tone/tilt controls.

On the home theater front, the new Rotel RAP-1580...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 12, 2006  |  4 comments

Last week the local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, KABC, became the first station in California (or so they said) to broadcast their local news programs in high definition. That includes the midday, late afternoon, early evening, and late night editions. And while that might not raise hosannas for a station whose idea of news includes shameless plugs for what's coming up that evening on <I>Dance With the Stars</I>, when you've got endless hours of news time to fill, what do you expect&mdash;an in-depth analysis of what's happening at city hall?

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 16, 2017  |  0 comments
To make sense of some of the complexities of the new Ultra High Definition (UHD—4K or 2160p) high dynamic range (HDR) sets, you have to appreciate some of the simplifications that have long been a part of standard dynamic range (SDR) high definition television.
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 03, 2011  |  5 comments
I was so ready to ignore the British royal wedding. I had zero interest. So when I set my PVR to record one of the interminable PBS reruns of the five-hour HD event, I told myself I was doing it just in case. Maybe someone would trip over the bridal train and send the whole entourage tumbling like a row of dominoes. That would be historic. Of course, getting a choice clip or two of video out of the closed world of the PVR is a puzzle I haven't yet solved—including the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction from a few years back that has now sadly succumbed to the eventual fate awaiting all our precious ones and zeros: Erased from existence.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 11, 2017  |  3 comments
All of us are familiar with LG’s successful use of OLED technology for flat screen UHDTVs. We also know that Sony is marketing its own OLED sets this year. But Sony buys its OLED panels from LG Display (an independent entity from LG itself, though connected to it in some inscrutable way). In fact, LG Display is currently the only company in the world that manufactures OLED panels for consumer televisions. LG’s arch-rival Samsung is a leader in producing OLEDs for cell phone displays, but a few years back decided against marketing OLED HDTVs, at least for now.

Other companies are also marketing OLED sets, but none of them are currently available in the US. And at present all TV OLED panels come from LG Display. But that doesn’t mean that these sets are identical. Each maker uses its own unique electronics and video processing.

While you can’t yet purchase an OLED display here in the US apart from an LG or Sony, it’s useful to know a little about others offering this technology. The more OLEDs sold worldwide, the more viable the technology will remain and, ultimately, the faster its currently high prices will drop...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Snuggled into a corner of a THX hospitality suite was this jumbo subwoofer, soon to be available as Outlaw Audio's flagship. The ported design employs a newly developed 13-inch driver and is said to extend to below 20Hz and meet all THX specifications. With a shipping weight of around 130 lbs, it's projected to sell for around $1,500, give or take.
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 04, 2006  |  3 comments

Will the prices of HD DVDs and BDs&mdash;the discs themselves, never mind the players)&mdash;keep the brakes on sales of the new format? If current trends continue, those of us with big DVD collections had better start saving up if we want to eventually replace them with HD DVDs and BDs (Blu-ray discs).

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 15, 2007  |  0 comments

Come next Tuesday, two anxiously awaited titles will hit the video stores&mdash;<I>Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl</I> and <I>Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest</I>.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 02, 2017  |  1 comments
We all have our favorite reference discs—the ones we pull out to show off our system to friends. UHD has now given us a lot to choose from, whether your preference is for action spectaculars or more subtle, thoughtful fare. But there’s now a new king of the home theater hill.

In 2007 the multi-part BBC nature documentary Planet Earth first appeared on broadcast television, and later came out on DVD and Blu-ray. Directed and narrated by British naturalist David Attenborough, it was widely praised (though as I recall the commentary on the US broadcasts substituted actress Sigourney Weaver for Attenborough—a not entirely effective move).

But now we have its 2016 follow-up, Planet Earth II...

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