A/V Veteran

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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...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 28, 2023  |  1 comments
For years I ignored YouTube because I thought it was filled with cat videos and not much else. When I finally discovered its endless range of absorbing content last year, however, I posted a blog on it. But YouTube's depth of information on almost any topic is so vast that an occasional revisit is worthwhile. Video quality, then and now, ranges from very good to nearly unwatchable, but thankfully most of it is at least good enough for acceptable viewing.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 14, 2023  |  13 comments
There's a surprisingly wide range of preferences among audio-video fans. I'll categorize them here into two broad groups: classic 2-channel audiophiles and home theater fans. Not that these groups don't overlap. They often do. But there are listeners in each group who don't intersect with the other. For fans of 2-channel music who are open to adding surround sound as long as it doesn't hamper their enjoyment of listening to stereo recordings, there's a fairly easy way to make that happen.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 31, 2023  |  0 comments
When I have visitors over to watch a movie, the choice of which film to watch is always a challenge. Typically, none of my regular guests care for either science fiction or animation, and those genres make up perhaps half of my collection. But that evening's selection, Chariots of Fire, was a title I hadn't watched in years.
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...

Tom Norton  |  Dec 21, 2022  |  1 comments
Christmas! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire (hopefully in a fireplace). Jack Frost nipping at your nose. And lots of Christmas movies. Here are a few of my favorites.
Tom Norton  |  Dec 07, 2022  |  10 comments
A few years ago a friend acquired a heavy, bound volume of all of Audio magazine's 1960 issues. Riffling through the issues was fascinating as writers dealt with the introduction of the stereo LP and the associated equipment needed to create 2-channel stereophonic sound, which represented a significant leap over the single-channel mono format. Let’s see what else those early days of home hi-fi reveal.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 22, 2022  |  1 comments
At the height of European colonial ambitions in Africa, two of Great Britain's key colonies there were Cape Town, at Africa's southern tip and, north of there, Natal. The latter abutted Zululand. The Zulus, a powerful warrior nation, was created from local tribes conquered earlier in the century by the iconic Zulu chief, Shaka. )...This superb 1964 film Zulu...depicts ...the battle of Rorke's Drift...It can still be viewed via streaming, but instead I seriously recommend the 50th anniversary Blu-ray release (in the red jacket shown above). The stereo audio on this disc is satisfactory though underwhelming. But its widescreen videos is exceptional...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 02, 2022  |  3 comments
A recent 650 mile drive round trip, with a stay at the far end of unknown length, sent me scurrying to my bookshelf to select a few titles that I hadn't yet read, and that's when I rediscovered Keepers, sub titled "The Greatest Films, and Personal Favorites, of a Moviegoing Lifetime by Richard Schickel.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 18, 2022  |  1 comments
After a long, hot summer (in more ways than one!), the audio and A/V show season recently kicked off with the annual CEDIA Expo. CEDIA stands for the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association, and as the name implies, it caters to attendees in the business of installing custom home theaters and media rooms. As such it also offers a wide range of training sessions to supplement its trade show exhibits.

In recent years CEDIA has moved beyond traditional A/V gear and into peripheral products such as home automation, security, and home health assistance — areas a custom install company might find useful in expanding its services. But traditional audio and video are still CEDIA's core attractions, and in showcasing both current and new products it draws a huge contingent from the A/V press.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 04, 2022  |  6 comments
Readers new to the home theater universe might not be aware that the Blu-ray video disc format wasn't always the only game in town. Back in the late aughts it was engaged in a brief but hard fought format war with a similar competitor for the consumer's high definition dollars: HD DVD.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 20, 2022  |  0 comments
A few blogs ago I commented on the 1954 movie, The Egyptian. In the '50s, the introduction of CinemaScope inspired, or rather demanded, epic tales in a genre often referred to as Swords and Sandals. Many of them, but not all, were set in the ancient world, typically Egypt or Rome. Here we look at a few more of those classics.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 06, 2022  |  0 comments
Quantum dots have been used in TVs since 2014 but what are they and what do they do? Let's find out.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 16, 2022  |  5 comments
I've written early and often about where the current mania for streaming will take us, and the slow, possible demise of packaged media. Yes, new and re-releases on disc are still common, to which anyone who follows the website The Digital Bits website can attest. But what does the future hold for disc-based entertainment?