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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 1 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Plasma-like blacks and shadow detail • Good color and resolution • At its best with 1080p sources

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $1,400 At A Glance: Superb adjustability • Outstanding color • Mediocre contrast and black level

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $900 At A Glance: The price is right • Good detail • Mediocre black and shadow detail

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $1,300 At A Glance: 240-Hz-like operation with 120-Hz refresh • Outstanding calibration adjustments • Sub-par contrast and black level

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 09, 2009 3 comments

As I browsed through the latest issue of <I>Stereophile</I> during a late afternoon lunch break, the waiter who brought my soup glanced at an advertisement.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 14, 2009 0 comments
THX, Dolby, and Audyssey deliver reference-level punch at lower volumes.

You know the drill. You’re just getting into the latest action blockbuster on your new home theater rig when a still, small voice wafts gently into your SPL-addled ear. “Isn’t that a bit loud?” Or perhaps the voice comes screeching in from another room. “I can’t hear myself think in here.” Or there’s a knock at the front door from the men in blue, demanding that you surrender your assault rifle in exchange for a fun stay in the slam with Tony the Hammer.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: 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.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,500 At A Glance: Outstanding video processing • Deep blacks (with auto iris) • Brightness to spare for a big screen

Sharp has a long history in the home theater projector business. It began with a successful run of LCD models. But the company soon shifted its projectors to Texas Instruments’ DLP technology, which appeared to be ready to dominate the projection business for a time.

However, with the development of new and vastly improved LCD chips and designs in the recent past, all that has changed. LCD (and its second cousin, LCOS—a variation on liquid crystal technology) now dominates the projection market. Sharp is sticking to DLP, and its new XV-Z15000 is one of the first DLP designs to sport a new 0.65-inch digital micromirror device (DMD) from Texas Instruments. The DMD is the imaging chip at the heart of the DLP system.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: 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.

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