Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 11, 2022  |  1 comments
The so-called Golden Age of Television is a bit of a moving target, but is generally thought to have run from the early 1950s to perhaps the mid 1960s. Depending on where you draw the line it began with the first mega-hit sitcom, I Love Lucy, and ended with the launch of the original ( Kirk, Spock, Bones) Star Trek.

A key characteristic of that age was the limited number of channels available. There was no home video of any kind, no way to record a show and later skip the commercials, and (at least in the '50s) black and white viewing on an enormous 21-inch (or smaller!) screen. As primitive as all that sounds, television was then the hot new entertainment technology, and the ratings for the best shows (with their limited competition) were enormous by today's standards. We might laugh today at the TV options of that era, but remember that TV nearly killed off the movies. Audiences in 2100 might well look back at what we have today—and laugh.

Our current cornucopia of options now features 99-channels of cable (and nothing to watch!), content streamed from a range of services (and over $100/month to pay for them!), and an unlimited variety of physical video discs (and yes, physical media is struggling but still far from dead).

Then there's YouTube, a free service supported by advertising. Up until a few weeks ago I considered YouTube an Internet oddity devoted to cat videos and looney stunts...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 31, 2021  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Guy is an NPC (non-player character) in the hit video game, Free City. He "lives" a happy but chaotic life as the game's active player characters, identifiable by their sunglasses, ravage the city. The NPCs simply go about their business as best they can in the only world they know.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 28, 2021  |  0 comments
The discussion here was inspired by a letter from a reader. He noted that in a recent review I mentioned that the set in question offered auto calibration. But the remainder of the letter suggested that my comment was misunderstood (or perhaps not precise enough to begin with). In the review/calibration/video-crazy business world, auto-cal refers to a specialized subroutine in a standard calibration program such as Calman from Portrait Displays. A different version of this subroutine exists for each brand/model of TV, and perhaps even for each year of each brand/model. Once set up it's fast and accurate. But this auto-cal requires the same expensive test gear and calibrator training as any manual calibration...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 30, 2021  |  1 comments
Tom Norton jumps into his Movie Time Machine to revisit the enduring 1957 sci-fi classic, The Incredible Shrinking Man.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 17, 2021  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High peak brightness for an OLED
Unrestricted viewing angle
Vivid color and powerful contrast
Minus
Remote control can be confusing
Cluttered smart TV home screen

THE VERDICT
Featuring an upgraded OLED panel, LG's new G1 “Gallery” model sets a new standard for OLED peak brightness while otherwise maintaining the company's traditionally impressive overall video performance.

LG's G1 "Gallery Design" TVs are the company's flagship OLED models for 2021, replacing last year's GX series. The now-discontinued WX models excepted, the G1 series comprises the slenderest Ultra HDTV line we've yet seen.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 16, 2021  |  4 comments
I wrote about moving cross country back in 2015, but there's always more to say on the subject, particularly as it applies to home theater fans with expensive gear to transport safely. No, I'm not moving again, but what with Covid and other incentives, more folks are moving today than ever — particularly out of a few big and management-challenged states such as New York and California.

Moving from the wilds of Glendale California to the (different) wilds of western Florida in 2015 presented me with a number of challenges. But that was nearly seven years ago. Those challenges are somewhat different now, but the basics haven't changed. Moving remains one of life's more disorienting experiences.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 10, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Good image contrast
Crisp picture detail
Affordable price
Minus
Limited off-center viewing angle
Limited HDR brightness
Cluttered screen interface

THE VERDICT
When it comes to TVs, Vizio has always been serious about keeping the quality high and the prices low. That program continues with the company’s new M-Series Quantum, making this set worthy of serious consideration.

Veteran videophiles will recall the days when flat-panel TVs were almost impossibly expensive. But bigscreen set prices have dropped dramatically in recent years. We might "blame" Vizio for that, as it was among the first companies to challenge the status quo. Today it's not the only one offering affordable TVs, but its newest M-Series Quantum models make a strong case for the company's continued design and marketing savvy.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 26, 2021  |  2 comments
There have been several past attempts to adapt Frank Herbert's iconic science fiction novel to film or television. In the mid-1970s, cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky scripted an ambitious version that would have run 14 hours!! The enormous planning effort for this version never made it onto film, due not only to this running length but also to the enormous anticipated costs. (At the time it was never considered for television—this was long before episodic event TV.) But Jodorowsky's work was so ambitious that it inspired a well-received 2013 documentary on the project, Jodorowsky's Dune, currently available both via streaming and on Blu-ray. Nevertheless, the novel itself, and Jodorowsky's aborted version, are said to have inspired other space operas, such as Star Wars, with elements from Dune but clearly different story lines...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 20, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,000/pair

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clean, uncolored sound with solid bass
Cool vintage looks
Three-way switch to modify mid- and high-frequency output
Minus
Best sound with grilles off

THE VERDICT
The new, re-imagined KLH Model Five represents an exceptional update to an iconic speaker design.

KLH was originally founded in 1957 as the KLH Research and Development Corporation by three partners: Henry Kloss, Malcolm S. Low, and Josef Anton Hofmann. Today, the best-known of that trio is the late Henry Kloss. A true A/V renaissance man, Kloss was instrumental in establishing four loudspeaker companies: Acoustic Research, KLH, Advent, and Cambridge SoundWorks. In the mid-1970s, he also founded a short-lived company to market his then-revolutionary Advent VideoBeam projection system. Kloss further worked to improve FM radio and brought Dolby B noise-reduction to the consumer audio cassette.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 12, 2021  |  0 comments
A reader recently responded to a loudspeaker review complaining that, as set up for the review, the speakers were positioned 4-feet out from the wall behind them. Impractical, the poster commented, as he didn't have the space in his room to do that. But I always position speakers that way and suspect that most reviewers do so as well—though not all of them specifically state it. But I can't help myself; I cut my teeth writing for our sister publication Stereophile. While dubious "truths" abound in audiophilia, this one has a real basis in "the science."

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