Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 06, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $2,999 At A Glance: Excellent video processing • Superior color and color adjustability • Near state-of-the-art black level • Natural detail

Epson is one of the major players in the business projector business, and it’s now making inroads into the home theater market as well. Its Ensemble HD Home Cinema System, which includes a projector, screen, speakers, and electronics, is priced to tempt consumers who would not have otherwise considered a projection setup. The company’s UltraBlack (UB) projectors have also made a big splash at recent electronics trade shows.

The PowerLite Home Cinema 6500 UB is one step down in the Epson lineup from the top-of-the-line PowerLite Pro Cinema 7500 UB. The latter is $1,200 more expensive. However, apart from some added features (an anamorphic aspect ratio option and ISFccc Day and Night modes), a black case, a year longer on its warranty, and a spare lamp ($300 if bought separately), it does not appear to add anything that would enhance its basic performance relative to the 6500 UB. The 6500 UB is clearly the bargain buy.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 04, 2009  |  1 comments

We have a gaggle of national holidays, but only a few aren't moved around to fall on a Monday so we can all enjoy a three-day weekend. The fixed dates of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years come to mind. No matter how much some might want to change them, New Years always falls on January 1, Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Black Friday following it, and Christmas is a religious holiday (don't remind the wrong crowd of that) whose date was set in stone centuries before the U.S. of A. was the U.S. of A.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 30, 2009  |  0 comments

You've heard the old saying—you can't be too rich or too thin. I won't touch the "too rich" part here, but people can certainly be too thin to maintain good health. On the other hand, flat panels have no such restriction, getting thinner every year in response to strong market demands.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 22, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $3,800 At A Glance: Good blacks and shadow detail • Excellent resolution • Natural color • QC issues in our early samples

The LED Edge

It was CES, January 2009. The young lady standing next to the new Samsung 7000 Series LCD HDTVs was still perky. (It was early in the show’s four-day run.)

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 08, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Good performance out of the box • Excellent resolution • Impressive black level and shadow detail • Accurate color

It Keeps Getting Better

When I visited Panasonic in Japan in the fall of 2004, with a gaggle of other journalists, plasma was the dominant flat-panel technology. But it was still pricey. On that visit, Panasonic told us that its goal was to get plasma prices down to $100 per diagonal inch.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 06, 2009  |  3 comments

Time for a dip in the summer movie pool. My splashing around has so far been limited to Star Trek and Up, but both, in their own ways, are the best of the summer lot so far (as of early June). Yea, I know, it's not even summer yet. But don't tell Hollywood. In any case, I can hardly wait for the Blu-rays of both of these films, sure to be coming to your local video store in the fall.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 18, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $4,500 At A Glance: Excellent black level and shadow detail • • Bright, crisp image • Oversaturated color

We’re no strangers to JVC projectors around the Home Theater campfire. We’ve reviewed several of their models over the past few years. I’ve been using a DLA-RS1 as a reference since 2007. It isn’t perfect—no projector is—but it does a lot right, and I’m not the only one who says so. At $6,000 when it first came out, it was one of the players that redefined value in the home projector game.

We’re now two generations of JVC projectors beyond that, and things keep getting better. For 2009, JVC offers the DLA-HD350 and the DLA-HD750, plus two exact equivalents from its pro division. We reviewed the $7,500 DLA-HD750 in our April 2009 issue and it’s a current Top Pick.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 18, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superb contrast and black levels • Excellent color • Unique adjustments

It should be obvious that the cost of a great home theater projector keeps coming down. At $8,000, Sony’s new VPL-VW70 includes many features that distinguished its earlier, more expensive designs, improves on them in some important respects (particularly black levels), and brings a few new wrinkles of its own to the party.

Description
The large, relatively heavy Sony is easily the looker of this group. If you replaced its lens with a laser cannon and added a bridge bubble on top, its curvy, sci-fi-inspired shape wouldn’t be out of place swooping overhead at the beginning of Galaxy Quest II: The Wrath of Melmac.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 18, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $3,295 At A Glance: Impressive resolution • Good blacks and shadow detail • Oversaturated color • Excellent value

Sanyo has long been a big player in the business projector market. However, while it has a serious presence in home projectors in many markets, it has remained relatively low key for U.S. consumers. This is especially true when you compare it with manufacturers who are more aggressive at beating their own drums. But the PLV-Z3000 proves that the company knows its way around home theater projector design.

Description
The Sanyo lacks the Ferrari-like curves that many of its competitors sport. Still, its relatively plain, boxy shape is functional and well executed. All mechanical operations (horizontal and vertical lens shift, focus, and zoom) are manual. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since these are usually set-and-forget operations. The zoom lens has a throw-distance range of 9.8 to 20 feet for a 100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 01, 2009  |  0 comments

<A href="http://www.audyssey.com/">Audyssey Laboratories</A>, the developer of MultEQ auto-equalization and other technologies now available in a wide range of A/V receivers and pre/pros, has long been a proponent of increasing the number of channels in an audio system. With its newly announced DSX technology, it has now brought that capability to home theaters.

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