A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 17, 2007  |  4 comments

We've all complained about some of the marginal films coming out on HD DVD and Blu-ray. The situation <I>is</I> improving, though not fast enough for most of us. But as I look through my growing HD DVD and Blu-ray collection, I do see more great titles than I imagined.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 07, 2016  |  5 comments
We’ve been fortunate in the 1080p world in having a variety of test discs available. While a full calibration requires special test tools, such discs can tell you a lot about how your set performs and help get the basic picture settings right. One of the most popular of such discs, and one of the first, is Digital Video Essentials, shown in the photo here.

But while 4K with high dynamic range (HDR) is now here, there’s still a lack of test materials for this format, particularly the high dynamic range end of the equation...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 27, 2015  |  0 comments
My first CEDIA was in Dallas in 1995, and it was held there for the next year or two. But unless my memory deceives me, 2015 was its first time back in the Big D. As I rode the Super Shuttle into the city from the airport, the building that housed that 1995 event was clearly visible next to the expressway. I went to a boatload of classes and seminars that year. There was plenty of time for them. You could cover the main exhibit floor in less than an hour—if you lingered. Calling them exhibits that year was a little grandiose; they were simply tables occupied by many new, unknown manufacturers hoping to grab a foothold in the growing but still small home theater custom installation market.
Tom Norton  |  Mar 12, 2015  |  First Published: Mar 10, 2015  |  3 comments
Mark Fleischmann’s recent blog on ways to improve your system’s audio inspired me to do something similar for video. Of course you, the loyal readers of Sound & Vision already know much of this. But for those who don’t, or for (welcome) newbies, those who are helping friends avoid common mistakes, it’s useful to periodically emphasize that there’s more to getting you money’s worth from a flat screen set than merely plunking it down in what may at first appear to be the best location and turning it on. Getting your HDTV to sing is serious business. Here, of course, I’m referring primarily to flat screen sets; a projector with a screen is, in many ways, a different topic.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Chinese HDTV manufacturer Hisense showed a range of new UHD HDTVs. The company claims that it can offer performance that equals or exceeds what you can get from more well-established brands, and at much more competitive prices. But their most interesting demos were of a pair of their “Laser Cast” short-throw projectors...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 06, 2011  |  5 comments
Recently, I was doing some online research for my review of the new, Extended Edition The Lord of the Rings Blu-ray boxed set, which will appear in the October 2011 issue of Home Theater magazine. A search for director Peter Jackson produced a pile of information. Jackson today doesn't look as much like a slightly oversized Hobbit as he did when the show was in production (Jenny Craig got to him, or something). His earliest cinematic fascination was with gross-out horror—an interest clearly reflected in the designs for the Orcs and other nasties in Rings. There's a particularly disgusting added sequence near the end of the Extended Edition of The Return of the King that clearly shows this fixation is far from conquered. If "The Mouth of Sauron" is any indication, Sauron and his minions need a much better dental plan.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 24, 2007  |  2 comments

We may be gear heads here at UAV, but the not-so-secret secret about the consumer electronics business is that it's about music and movies. In other words, it's Show Biz. Without that connection, our equipment racks would be filled with expensive boat anchors.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 09, 2005  |  8 comments

Joel Brinkley's recent comments on black level issues with the new digital video displays was right on the mark for flat panel displays, but things are looking up, at least a little, with front and rear projection sets. I'm currently working on reviews of two new models, the front projection Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD projector and the Hewlett-Packard md5880n DLP. Both of these are 1080p displays&mdash;though only the HP will accept 1080p through its HDMI inputs.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 17, 2005  |  3 comments

In my previous blog, "In the Black," I stated that the new Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD projector would not accept 1080p directly. That was the impression I obtained at its press introduction at last September's CEDIA. But I subsequently learned, in completing Part I of my review of that projector, which will be posted on this site tomorrow (Sunday, December 18, 2005), that it will indeed accept 1080p/60 at its HDMI and DVI inputs.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 29, 2013  |  3 comments
Lasers, or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, have been with us for half a century. A laser produces a highly focused (spatially coherent) beam of light having a very specific wavelength, the latter depending on the design and application. They’re used in medicine, industry, laser printing, barcode scanners, CD, DVD, and Blu-ray players, laser light shows, and innumerable other applications.

Lasers can also be used as a light source for digital projection. While this is still under development, we’re likely to see it first in movie theaters. Lasers can not only produce a much brighter image—which can help overcome the dimness of 3D presentations—but also offer cost benefits to theater owners. Conventional xenon lamps are expensive to replace, and have a useful life of perhaps 1000 hours (some theaters try to stretch this as much as possible, often with negative effects on picture quality). A laser light source can stretch this by at least twenty-fold or even more. While replacement lasers will likely be significantly more expensive to early on, they’ll still be cheaper per hour of use. Another possible cost saving might come from using a centralized “light farm,” with the light from a single remotely located bank of lasers routed to multiple projectors via fiber optics.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 08, 2006  |  First Published: Oct 09, 2006  |  0 comments

This single seater in the Pioneer booth is for those who can't fit a Mini in the garage. I'm not sure how it fits into consumer electronics. Perhaps it's the audiophile special&mdash;you can drive and still always be in the sweet spot.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 13, 2006  |  1 comments

The gear has been packed back up and the rooms cleared. The demo material has been tossed into suitcases, destined to end up in an obscure corner of each exhibitor's factory, the place where overplayed and now unloved recordings go to die. And copious notes have been made on what worked and what needs to be improved.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 08, 2006  |  First Published: Oct 09, 2006  |  0 comments

JVC announced a new 58" D-ILA model that checks in at just a bit over 10-inches deep.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 06, 2016  |  0 comments
We tend to forget that not all readers have been around the block when it comes to the language of video. Those that have know the tricks of the trade, and what all of the terminology means. True, even they’re sometimes mistaken, and we ourselves can get caught out from time to time with what’s being offered this year (or this week!) in the ever changing high definition (HD) and ultra high definition (UHD) world.

But manufacturers seldom offer much help in this, or even do their best to obfuscate. In their specs, descriptions, and promotional copy, one thing you won’t find clearly stated is what their products won’t do...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 10, 2006  |  3 comments

I saw <I>King Kong</I> &mdash;twice&mdash; theatrically, in the "standard" auditoriums of the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood (not the Cinerama Dome where it was also playing, for reasons I described in an earlier blog, "<I>King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries</I>," below). It was, without question, the best theatrical film presentation I've seen in years. I wrote about the DVD in our most recent e-Newsletter, which will show up in your mailbox in a few days. (You do subscribe don't you? It's free, just go <A HREF=" http://www.ultimateavmag.com/newsletter_subscribe/?Your%20E-mail ">here</A>to sign up.)

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