A/V Veteran

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  10 comments
Elsewhere on this site I discuss my experiences at the press events I attended in Los Angeles (LG) and New York (Sony). Between these two events I elected to spend a few extra days in Los Angeles to pay informal visits to two manufacturers and also to check out the latest movies in good movie theaters—including one of the best in the country.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 07, 2013  |  0 comments
A week ago this past Monday I was fortunate to be one of Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TCL’s guests at the premier of Ender’s Game at the TCL Chinese IMAX Theater in Hollywood. (The theater is still best known as Grauman’s Chinese; see my earlier blog here about TCL’s purchasing and remodeling this classic movie palace into an IMAX theater with stadium seating).
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 30, 2008  |  4 comments

You know who you are. You're an experienced <I>Ultimate AV</I> reader with friends who just bought a new flat panel HDTV for the holidays. They've had it delivered and set up by Crazy Zeke's TV and Refrigerator Superstore.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 28, 2007  |  First Published: Jan 29, 2007  |  0 comments

I have no statistics to back it up, but the week before the Super Bowl must be pretty hectic in your friendly neighborhood video store. Oh, sure, the end of year holidays are big, and tax refund season brings out the mad money that Uncle Sam has been keeping safe for you all year. But it's the annual rush to watch the Big Game on a Big Screen television that starts sports fans hearts aflutter.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 17, 2023  |  0 comments
I didn't attend the recent CES in Las Vegas. I haven't gone since 2017. CES can be exceptionally expensive these days; the hotels and restaurants dramatically increased their prices some years ago. I once heard a possible reason why: CES attendees, it was said, didn't gamble enough to keep the lower hotel rates profitable. The obvious solution: jack up the hotel rates, both for room and food!

The disruptions of the past three years have been hard on the biggest trade shows...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 28, 2005  |  2 comments

You could write a book about how loudspeakers work in real-world listening rooms. In fact, many experts have. And while they may differ on many of the details, I suspect they will all agree on one point: The room-loudspeaker interface remains most neglected link in the audio reproduction chain.

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 08, 2014  |  2 comments
Planet of the Apes is perhaps the longest running science fiction film franchise in history (unless you consider James Bond sci-fi—and Star Trek originated as TV series that didn’t arrive as a theatrical film until 1979). The original Planet of the Apes movie, based on a novel by French author Pierre Boulle, produced by 20th Century Fox, and co-written by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame, was followed by four sequels. The budgets for these sequels were tight (miniscule by today’s standards) and the results progressively cheesier. But despite its special effects and makeup, state of the art for the time though primitive now, the original still holds up today. There were also two relatively unsuccessful TV series in the ‘70s, plus books, comic books, and other spin-offs.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 18, 2020  |  0 comments
Recently I completed one of my all too infrequent efforts to cull the herd of old magazines more than three years old; anything earlier worth finding is almost certainly available on-line. A few key older issues were kept for various reasons, and a complete set of the long-defunct Stereophile Guide to Home Theater is still hiding somewhere in the garage. But by accident I ran across my only remaining issue of Video Theater. Never heard of it? It was a magazine begun in the late ‘80s by J. Gordon Holt. Holt is best known as the founder of Stereophile magazine, which inspired a whole raft of competitors anxious to fill a pent-up demand for information on how equipment actually sounds, not just how it measures.

But Gordon was not only an audiophile. He was passionate about video as well in an era when home video hadn’t yet moved much beyond the 21-inch, CRT color TV. Video Theater was short lived, but was well served by Gordon’s unique observations and take-no-prisoners words. But the issue I found also had some pithy editorial observations about the road home audio had travelled, in Gordon’s estimation, and how this might predict the future of video beyond when these words were written, in mid-1990. Here they are:

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 25, 2014  |  3 comments
Movie time has been in short supply at chez TJN recently. My home theater system is packed up for a pending long distance move. I’m down to a modest two-channel setup (Onkyo AVR, Revel Concerta M20 bookshelf speakers, no sub, flat screen HDTV) in my much smaller family room. Potential buyers can now see the former home theater as the living/dining space it’s supposed to be.

The HDTV in this smaller system...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 28, 2005  |  9 comments

I suspect that Los Angeles has the greatest concentration of first-rate movie theaters in the country. True, there are fewer and fewer premier-quality movie houses even there than in the past. At least two have disappeared in the past 12 years. And every time I visit the Village or National in Westwood (two of the biggest and the best) I wonder how long the crowds (which rarely fill more than half of either theater, even for a hit movie on a weekend evening) can continue to support the maintenance of such a large space in such a pricey real estate market. Nevertheless, there more such theaters here than in any other large metropolitan area in the US. Which is, as you would expect, when you think about it.

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  |  Apr 12, 2022  |  6 comments
All full-range loudspeakers have a tweeter, apart from relatively uncommon, single driver designs. A tweeter's performance can vary widely, but generally reflects the budget and/or the intentions of the designer. Most buyers are happy with the tweeters in their loudspeakers, but are they missing something?

Aperion Audio believes they are. They offer three different super tweeters as add-on devices to your current loudspeakers. There are other super tweeters on the market, but as a category they're rare. Aperion sent me one of each — the pure Aluminum Ribbon at $649 (shown in the photo above), the Planar-Ribbon at $399, and the pure Dual Aluminum Ribbon (radiating toward both the front and the back) at $999.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 27, 2006  |  2 comments

The August 2006 issue of <I>Popular Mechanics</I> devotes one entire page (!) to HD DVD. The main feature of the article is a comparison between HD DVD and the standard disc played back on a much less expensive, upconverting DVD player (an $80 Philips).

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