Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 16, 2018  |  1 comments

PRICE $3,995

Impressive blacks
Wide color gamut
Crisp, natural detail
Not native 4K
No automated lens cover

We’d like to see JVC offer a true 4K design, rather than a pixel-shifted one, at a consumer-friendly price. But you’ll forget about all of that after your first two minutes viewing this outstanding projector—with either a 2K or a 4K source.

True native 4K projectors (those that deliver full UHD resolution to the screen with no reliance on pixel-shifting) are thin on the ground when it comes to prices that most home theater fans are likely to consider. As I write this, only Sony offers one model for as little as $5,000, the VPL-VW285ES.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 15, 2018  |  8 comments
Every year there’s a major high-end audio show in Munich, Germany, held in a large convention-center type facility. By all reports it’s the biggest such event in the world, though it began as a modest hotel show in Frankfurt (also Germany, not Kentucky). I actually attended two of those 80s shows when I was stationed in Germany in the Air Force, an hour’s drive from Frankfurt.

But this isn’t about audio shows, though from what I’ve heard about the Munich event it’s more about viewing than serious auditioning. And since home theater isn’t nearly as significant in Europe as it is in the U.S., Munich is mainly about 2-channel audio. I have no issue with that; I’m a fan myself. But the high-end 2-channel market isn’t doing itself any favors with the current trend toward crazy pricing. While a new, $250,000 pair of monoblock amplifiers from an industry icon may be an outlier, it’s symptomatic...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 24, 2018  |  2 comments
Back in the Jurassic age movie theaters routinely offered double features. That practice has long since disappeared, but you can recreate it by seeing two movies on the same day. It takes some doing to get the schedule right, with perhaps a half hour between the end of the first film and the beginning of the second—just enough time to see a man about a dog. Of course it will cost you for separate tickets, and you’ll want to be sure you can get good seats for both films.

Then there’s the challenge of making a good pairing...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 10, 2018  |  27 comments
The recent departure of Oppo from the new disc player landscape* has produced a flurry of “packaged media is dead” vs. “I want my video discs” chatter on the Web. It has also prompted me to ponder once again both sides of the question.

I don’t believe that Oppo’s decision has much to do with any sign that packaged media is likely to imminently disappear. Check the release schedules shown on a number of disc review sites (such as and you’ll see that dozens of titles are released each week. Some are new, some are re-releases, and many are unreleased movie titles dumped directly to video...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  10 comments
Elsewhere on this site I discuss my experiences at the press events I attended in Los Angeles (LG) and New York (Sony). Between these two events I elected to spend a few extra days in Los Angeles to pay informal visits to two manufacturers and also to check out the latest movies in good movie theaters—including one of the best in the country.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 23, 2018  |  0 comments
Less than three weeks after the Germans invaded France in May 1940, the British Expeditionary Force found themselves backed up against the English Channel. The evacuation that followed sought to rescue over 300,000 British and French troops using a combination of British warships and hundreds of “little boats.”
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 13, 2018  |  14 comments
Any flat screen TV advertised as 4K will actually display the full 8 million pixels in a 4K (3840 x 2160) source. You can't be certain about how well it will do a wider color gamut or high dynamic range—the other keystones of Ultra HD—but it will put 8 million discrete pixels on the screen. Whether or not the 4K source material is actually true 4K from the camera to your Ultra HD disc is a different issue for another discussion.

But with projectors there are two versions of 4K resolution...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 09, 2018  |  1 comments
War for the Planet of the Apes concludes a trilogy that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. It tells the story of Caesar, from a nascent, intelligent ape to the leader of a band of smart simians. Humankind here has been nearly wiped out, with the survivors fighting to retain their freedom and humanity. In a twist from the classic 1968 original, however, the humans here are the villains, and the apes, fleeing the remnants of an army led by an obsessed, Ahab-like colonel, are the heroes. We’re driven to root for the Apes, from the story’s beginning to its near-biblical conclusion.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 27, 2018  |  0 comments
No, this not a list of Sci-Fi Movies about Winston Churchill, or Churchill movies with a Sci-Fi twist. I admit that these might make for a high concept movie or two. I'm not attempting to give Hollywood ideas here, but I'm open to a big payday for story credit. After all, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, not to mention Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter were huge hits! We might also enjoy Churchill and His Time Machine, perhaps, or has that already been done—though I don't recall Bill and Ted picking up Churchill along with Lincoln, Socrates (pronounced So-crates for you Philistines) Napoleon, Freud, and others in their time-travelling phone booth.

But enough of that. The first two of my Hidden Treasures are serious films about Winston Churchill, and the other two are light science fiction...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 23, 2018  |  0 comments
In the original Cars, from 2006, hotshot racecar Lightning McQueen learned to be a gracious winner but a winner nonetheless. In Cars 2, Pixar learned that they could produce a less than sparkling sequel. Now, in Cars 3, the second Disney-Pixar property to produce a threequel (after Toy Story 3), McQueen is getting older, losing his edge, and suffering both losses and trash talk from newer, sleeker, faster racers. But he goes back into training, gets up to speed (so to speak), and is on the verge of motoring back to the top when….OK, you don’t expect spoilers, do you?