Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 11, 2017  |  1 comments
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In a city of human-like animals (think Zootopia), Buster Moon, an ambitious koala theater owner, has fallen on hard times. He hasn’t had a hit in ages, when he suddenly has an inspiration: We’ll pack ’em in with a singing contest! When his loopy lizard assistant mislabels the announcement flyers to offer a $100,000 prize, hundreds of hopefuls show up for the auditions.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 08, 2017  |  0 comments
When it comes to shopping for a new television, manufacturers will flood you with a tsunami of glowing prose hyping all of the advantages their sets offer. But these claims can be a puzzle to potential buyers, who understandably haven’t made a study of TV technology. The latter is perhaps most confusing with regard to how a TV produces a visible image; that is, how it lights up the screen. Here are some of the key facts...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 25, 2017  |  9 comments
War is Hell, but it does offer endless opportunities for great (and often not so great) movies. That goes double for WWII. The recently released Dunkirk reminds us vividly of that fact. The reviews have been ecstatic and clearly make it the first film of the year likely to be nominated for Best Picture of 2017, not to mention leaving home theater fans salivating over the release, later this year, of the Blu-ray (and, presumably, the Ultra HD Blu-ray).

While I haven’t yet seen Dunkirk, its release sent me scurrying to my disc collection for other great titles. Some worthy entries aren’t...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 21, 2017  |  1 comments
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Onboard the starship Avalon, thousands of passengers and crew are bound for a new colony on a distant planet. They’re in suspended animation for the 120-year journey. But passengers Jim Preston and, later, Aurora Lane are awakened 90 years too soon—and the pods can’t be reconfigured to put them back to sleep.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 14, 2017  |  0 comments
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There are many definitions of a troll, but as they appear here, in a form first conceived by a Danish woodcarver in 1959 (and subsequently as popular toys), they’re tiny, cute creatures with spiky, multicolored hair who do little besides sing, dance, hug, and party. The miserable Bergens, their enemies, believe that by eating a Troll they can be happy—at least for a day.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 11, 2017  |  3 comments
All of us are familiar with LG’s successful use of OLED technology for flat screen UHDTVs. We also know that Sony is marketing its own OLED sets this year. But Sony buys its OLED panels from LG Display (an independent entity from LG itself, though connected to it in some inscrutable way). In fact, LG Display is currently the only company in the world that manufactures OLED panels for consumer televisions. LG’s arch-rival Samsung is a leader in producing OLEDs for cell phone displays, but a few years back decided against marketing OLED HDTVs, at least for now.

Other companies are also marketing OLED sets, but none of them are currently available in the US. And at present all TV OLED panels come from LG Display. But that doesn’t mean that these sets are identical. Each maker uses its own unique electronics and video processing.

While you can’t yet purchase an OLED display here in the US apart from an LG or Sony, it’s useful to know a little about others offering this technology. The more OLEDs sold worldwide, the more viable the technology will remain and, ultimately, the faster its currently high prices will drop...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 30, 2017  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
It’s all about the black
Wide viewing angle
Supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Last year’s OLED sets from LG were so impressive that, apart from their peak white capabilities (an ongoing shortcoming relative to LCD designs), it was hard to see a road ahead for improvements. But LG has found that road, and while the upgrades might prove subtle to most viewers, videophiles will welcome them.

LG’s 2017 OLED offerings fall into five model groups, with the OLED65E7P positioned roughly in the middle. At $5,000, it’s hardly a Black Friday special, but it’s significantly cheaper than the near-paper-thin 65-inch flagship OLED65W7P (reviewed in our June issue), which commands $8,000.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 20, 2017  |  1 comments
I haven’t seen the latest Tom Cruise iteration of The Mummy. And with its crushing reviews I doubt that I’ll even invest in the inevitable UHD Blu-ray version that, judging from the current domestic box office returns for the film, should show up on Amazon in about two weeks.

The subject isn’t exactly a treasure trove of classic tropes, but has its fans. The original was, of course, the 1932 Boris Karloff classic (in Hollywood, anything that old is deemed a classic). Three other entries turned up in the ‘40s, followed by 1955’s Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy (the latter is definitely on my Bucket List). There was also a quadrilogy (did I just coin a word?) of Mummy movies in the ‘50s from Britain’s Hammer Films, and several animated versions...

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 17, 2017  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Jaw-dropping black level and contrast
Wide viewing angle
Thin, thin, thin. And light
Minus
Expensive
Must be wall-mounted

THE VERDICT
We could argue with the mandatory inclusion of an outboard soundbar, the lack of a stand-mount option, and a lower (but still perfectly satisfactory) peak brightness for HDR than the best of the LCD competition provides. But it’s hard to imagine that any other 65-inch Ultra HDTV in 2017 will offer overall superior performance, or a more impressive aesthetic, than the best LCD competition.

Dateline: March 2017. Along with several other bit-drenched members of the audio/video press, we’ve been brought to San Francisco for a day with LG. The events will include a briefing on the company’s Ultra HDTV lineup for 2017, a visit to Dolby headquarters for the latest pitch on Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), and several hours of hands-on experience with the 65-inch OLED65W7P, the smaller of the two new 2017 OLED models in LG’s flagship Signature series. (A 77-inch version should be available later this year; no price had been announced as we went to press, but if that’s your ticket, bring money.)

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 16, 2017  |  0 comments
To make sense of some of the complexities of the new Ultra High Definition (UHD—4K or 2160p) high dynamic range (HDR) sets, you have to appreciate some of the simplifications that have long been a part of standard dynamic range (SDR) high definition television.

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