A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 12, 2019  |  4 comments
Maybe I’m just in a bad mood from having dental surgery yesterday, or maybe there’s something odd happening at Disney these days. But what, exactly, is going on with some of their Ultra HD Blu-ray soundtracks?
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 26, 2019  |  12 comments
The recent decision by Samsung to cease selling Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray players (at least in the U.S.), reported elsewhere on this site, has been taken by many as foreshadowing the death of video on physical media. Add in Oppo’s cessation of player manufacturing last year, and the statistically significant falloff in disc sales (confirmed locally by a recent, dramatic reduction in the shelf space devoted to video discs at my nearest Best Buy), and, the news certainly isn’t encouraging.

But the imminent death of the disc isn’t yet in sight. The disc market is still profitable, and the studios haven’t yet slowed down churning out both new and older titles. Check out The Digital Bits website for their weekly lists of releases and then tell me that video discs are on life support. They may be limping, but as a wise man once said, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 12, 2019  |  0 comments
Whether you live in a McMansion, a hovel, or something in between, the most influential component in your audio or home theater system is the room. A look at how it affects performance and what you can do to ensure the best possible sound.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 29, 2019  |  0 comments
With apologies to Samsung and a few others who haven’t made the OLED plunge, and show no signs of doing so, OLED remains today’s hottest flat screen technology. But the battle continues as UHDTV manufacturers scramble to take the next big technological leap. That will likely be Micro LED...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 15, 2019  |  7 comments
A reported 180,000 eager retailers, custom installers, press, and assorted hangers-on descended on Las Vegas last week for the annual, trade-only CES. Even though I wasn’t one of them, I will still offer up my 2 cents on the many TVs introduced at last week's show.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 18, 2018  |  0 comments
An odd but strangely rewarding pairing of two movies on 4K Blu-ray, one of which left my jaw on the floor.
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  |  8 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.

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