A/V Veteran

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 03, 2023  |  8 comments
I've written about animated films before, but there are always new ones to discover, as well as older titles to revisit. To beat a live horse yet again (Maximus in Tangled, for example, not Maximus in Gladiator) I continue to be disappointed that adult friends, when visiting for a movie night, reject out of hand any suggested animated titles. Some, I suspect, haven't seen an animated movie since they were 12, an age at which they abandoned anything they considered to be childish diversions beneath their newfound sophistication. But just as live action films can offer things that animated titles cannot, the reverse is certainly true. Here are six more of my favorite animated movies.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 19, 2023  |  3 comments
Long-time readers and experienced videophiles will instantly recognize the Spears and Munsil brand. Over the years S&M has released what are arguably the best video evaluation discs on the market for setting up video displays of all descriptions. At $59.95, the new Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Benchmark is the company's priciest offering to date. But it's also the most thorough.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 05, 2023  |  3 comments
1983's WarGames offered a prescient take on today's emerging concerns about artificial intelligence (AI), though the film envisioned something more apocalyptic than worries over being replaced by robots.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 22, 2023  |  8 comments
Inspiration for a blog can come from any number of places. In the August/September print edition of Sound & Vision, Ken C. Pohlmann writes about the issues involved in cataloging classical music for access on music streaming sites.

Classical music as a category is a catch-all term for compositions originally played in front of a live audience. Most such music is a century or more old, but adventurous composers are still writing it today. It's similar to modern "popular" music (rock, country, metal, and more) mainly in the fact that it's now experienced more from recordings than viewed and heard live. The late J. Gordon Holt, founder of our sister publication, Stereophile didn't, as far as I know, deprecate popular music, but was a strong proponent of well-recorded classical music, viewing it as the only genre fully suited for judging audio gear. Was he right?

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 08, 2023  |  26 comments
OK, I haven't seen Barbie. Nor do I have any intention of doing so, even it if shows up for free on a streaming service. My only...ah...exposure to Barbie was in the Toy Story franchise, where she was basically a third-stringer. But Barbie was a apparently big deal for years for young girls, who are now all grown up and yearn for nostalgia wrapped around some new-fashioned man-shaming.

But I did see Oppenheimer in my local IMAX...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 25, 2023  |  6 comments
Most TV buyers turn their new TV on and never touch the video controls even though those controls can be invaluable in getting the best possible picture quality. The question is, do you have the knowledge and confidence to make the right adjustments or does it make more sense to hire a professional calibrator to do it for you?
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 11, 2023  |  3 comments
In my previous blog, shopping for a New TV, I discussed all of the various types of today's HDTVs. Hopefully that helped limit your choice to either an OLED or an LCD-based LED TV. But now you're headed to the store where you'll be surrounded by a legion of such HDTVs. Here are a few tips to help you choose a model that's right for you.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 27, 2023  |  2 comments
One of the key highlights of the CES trade show held every year in early January is a preview of the coming year's new TVs. These models don’t typically become available for sale until the spring, meaning most of the TVs you see “on sale” in the three or four months following CES are actually last year's models that need to be cleared out to make room for the new ones. And some of that old stock remains available into the early summer — as in now.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 13, 2023  |  6 comments
Among the many time-sinks to be found on YouTube are predictions of the future, particularly those made years or even decades ago and anticipating what life today would be like. It's fascinating to revisit the 1950s vision of the "home of tomorrow."
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 30, 2023  |  5 comments
Peter Pan & Wendy is Disney's latest attempt to re-make one of its classic animated films as live action. It's been done before. Many times...
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 16, 2023  |  4 comments
Home theater encompasses a range of possibilities. For most enthusiasts it's a DIY affair. For others, it's a matter of hiring a custom installation pro to do the job.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 25, 2023  |  27 comments
We don't like to think about it, or perhaps we've never thought to, but from parts to finished products our AV products come largely from China. Yes, there are other players, but China with its cheap labor dominates the AV space.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 11, 2023  |  4 comments
Perhaps no subject in the home audio world is more contentious than cables. You can get them cheap in a big box hardware store (or at least speaker cables and perhaps interconnects) or pay obscene amounts of money for them. What gives?
Tom Norton  |  Mar 28, 2023  |  4 comments
Cartoon by Charles Rodrigues.

In a flash of inspiration last week I decided it was time to sort through the mass of paperwork squirrelled away in my office. That’s when I discovered a long-forgotten folder labeled “Humor”…

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 14, 2023  |  8 comments
Most Audiophiles have a pretty fair idea of how the human hearing system works, but there are always new readers who take "obvious" things for granted. I myself also recently learned a few of the finer points while perusing websites on the subject. Here's what I learned...