Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  10 comments
I first saw George Pal’s 1953 The War of the Worlds as an 11-year old. It terrified me, but I couldn’t look away. I wasn’t aware at the time that it was based on a book by H.G. Wells, a story that had earlier been adapted by Orson Welles into a 1938 radio drama. The latter had panicked hundreds of adults. Scared as I was in watching the film, I knew it was just a movie. A surprising number of those 1938 listeners thought the broadcast was real.

Both that 1938 broadcast and the 1953 film insured that alien invasions from outer space would become a staple of sci-fi films. Since then the Earth has been attacked from beyond dozens of times in movies, television shows, and even in a 1978 progressive rock album from Jeff Wayne. The results, depending on individual tastes, have ranged from stunning to silly.

But no serious film fan today can deny that the 1953 War of the Worlds is a cult classic...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 29, 2020  |  4 comments

PRICE $2,200

Handles all HDR formats, including HDR10+
Exceptional performance
Affordable price
Limited off-center viewing
Poor remote control
Slow and cluttered Smart TV menu

Though saddled with a cluttered onscreen interface and less than ideal remote, the Vizio P-Series Quantum X's outstanding performance, particularly with HDR, more than compensates.

What would you pay for a 75-inch Ultra HDTV that's bright enough to handle virtually all high dynamic range programs without having to perform the tone mapping most 4K/HDR sets require? How about $4,000? If it was 2018, that would be a serious answer, but it's 2020 and we now have Vizio's 75-inch P-Series Quantum X, a model that claims to deliver uncompromised HDR performance for just $2,200. Does Vizio's flagship live up to the company's ambitious specs? Let's take a look.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 28, 2020  |  0 comments
In Choosing the Right Projector for a WOW! Experience, we compared the merits of big-screen TV vs. video projection and covered the ins and outs of selecting the perfect projector. Now it’s time to delve into what it takes to choose the perfect screen to go with your new projector.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 14, 2020  |  0 comments
CES 2020 is history. It might seem odd for me to comment here on an event I didn’t attend. But Sound & Vision editor Al Griffin, along with free-lancers, went and got the job done. Upwards of 185,000 dedicated souls registered for the event, including over 30,000 from points outside of North America. As far as I know it’s the biggest consumer technology show on the planet...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 23, 2019  |  0 comments
For those pining for Part 2 of my latest tome on projectors and screens, it will come soon enough. But posting it on Christmas Eve seemed like an invitation for me to plunge into the reindeer-and-chestnuts memory hole. With the biggest holiday of the year fast approaching as I write this (not counting Super Sunday), you'll likely be looking for relief from Uncle Harry's annual Christmas dinner ramblings: "when I was your age..." So fire up the old home theater and settle in for a movie or two — a movie about the holiday, on the holiday.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  0 comments
On her first day at pre-school, Bonnie, the kid who received Andy's toys at the end of Toy Story 3, makes (literally) a new friend out of a discarded spork. She calls him Forky and he soon becomes her favorite toy. But that's just the first act. On a road-trip with Bonnie's family, cowboy-toy Woody reunites with his old flame Bo Peep. Bo, now a "lost toy," has acquired the skills of an action hero—a sort of RamBoPeep.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 10, 2019  |  1 comments
Ready to create a WOW! big-screen experience at home but not sure where to start? No worries, I’ll guide you through the process.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 27, 2019  |  1 comments

PRICE $3,000

Super-punchy HDR performance
Class-leading local dimming
App-based picture calibration
Typical limited off-center viewing window
No VRR or FreeSync for gaming

The Chinese TV maker TCL has been rattling the budget sector for several years. But with its new 8-Series, the company has boldly entered the rarified high-end Ultra HDTV realm.

TCL made its mark worldwide over the last few years largely by selling budget sets with built-in Roku streaming. But with its new 8-Series, available in 65- and 75-inch screen sizes ($2,000 and $3,000, respectively), the company has elbowed its way into the high end and managed to do so at a highly competitive price point.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 26, 2019  |  15 comments
It's hard to say whether my interest in music and audio started with my first experiences with multichannel sound in the movie theater or whether my interest in movies in theaters, and later in home theater, started with my interest in music. But the fact remains that the film score, mainly of the orchestral variety but sometimes of other sorts (looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.1 and Vol.2), remains one of my favorite forms of music.

Film music doesn't have an enviable reputation among classical music connoisseurs. But I see no reason to disparage it because it was written for a more popular type of entertainment...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 12, 2019  |  0 comments
Just in time for Veterans' Day (November 11) comes a movie about the WWII battle of Midway. In June 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor, this unlikely American victory over Japan's attempt to occupy a seemingly insignificant American outpost on a tiny Pacific atoll was, if not the turning point in a war that would rage for another 3+ years, at a minimum a major blow to Japan's then formidable naval strength.