Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton  |  May 26, 2010  |  Published: May 27, 2010  |  10 comments

Movie studios don't miss a thing when it comes to keeping a tight watch on the effectiveness of Blu-ray copy protection. Recently, in an apparent attempt to close an assumed (I assume) breach, 20th Century Fox updated its BD+ copy codes in an effort to keep the door firmly locked. The first disc I noted a problem with was (surprise!) <I>Avatar</I>, which was so firmly locked it would not play. After an inordinately long loading cycle it decided it couldn't get along with an Oppo BDP-83 player, which I've admittedly been lax in updating. The same proved to be the case on another current but not updated model, the Pioneer BDP-320. Same long wait, same lack of a payoff. Or at least not a welcome one. All I got was a bright red screen telling me to update my player.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 17, 2010  |  0 comments
Price: $1,399 At A Glance: Impressive absolute black level • Sharp, crisp image • Below average video processing

Keeping It Affordable

It’s been an eternity in video-years since I last reviewed a Hitachi HDTV. In fact, the last one I reviewed was in November 2002 for Stereophile Guide to Home Theater. The subject then was the 51-inch Hitachi 51SWX20B HD-ready CRT RPTV. It was the smallest sibling in what was arguably the best line of CRT RPTVs Hitachi—and perhaps anyone else—ever produced.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola divides his time these days between making wine at his Rubicon vineyard in Napa Valley, California and making movies. He acquired the large vineyard, formerly owned by the Inglenook brand, over several decades as the land became available. It was at this facility that SIM2 Multimedia conducted the recent launch of a new advertising campaign featuring Coppola's endorsement of SIM2 DLP projectors.
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 07, 2010  |  1 comments
Price: $2,800 At A Glance: 3D ready • Effective 2D-to-3D conversion mode • Fine contrast with solid blacks • Outstanding setup adjustments

The LEDing Edge

Samsung appears to be producing so many LED-backlit LCD sets these days that it risks a “been there, done that” reaction from the flat-panel peanut gallery. But with the coming of 3D, plus some twisty new technology that produces an outstanding picture, the company is challenging other set makers to a game of catch-up.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 03, 2010  |  0 comments
Sharp recently announced the launch of its new Quattron LCD sets with LED edge lighting. All of them employ the company's new Quad Pixel technology, which adds dedicated yellow pixels to the red, green, and blue pixels present in all LCD displays. The added pixels are said to produce colors that ordinary LCD sets cannot.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 26, 2010  |  0 comments

Build Quality
Price: $2,625 At A Glance: Sweet sounding yet detailed • Wide dynamic range • Big soundstage • Limited subwoofer extension

More for Less

The new Image line of speakers from Canadian manufacturer PSB follows on the heels of two other PSB ranges: Synchrony and Imagine. While they aren’t exactly blue-light specials, the Images provide an intangible quality that today’s speaker buyer demands: value. And with the increasing costs of domestic manufacturing, value most often means overseas production. All of PSB’s new models, including the Imagines, are engineered in Canada but made in China. This is an increasingly common practice in the speaker industry.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 05, 2010  |  6 comments

The final installments of my Blu-ray players saga are coming soon to a computer monitor near you. They will cover the analog outputs of the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition and the Pioneer BDP-320. Also coming is a listen to all of the players from their digital outputs.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 05, 2010  |  0 comments
3D Leaps Out

It’s been a long road from 1952’s Bwana Devil to 2009’s Avatar, but 3D in your local cineplex is now a big-time, going concern. But as we discussed in "3D: The Next Big Thing?", HDTV manufacturers are determined to bring the experience home. 3D was the star of the show at January’s CES, and 3D-capable sets are beginning to show up at your local big-box retailer. By year’s end, you’ll see 3D HDTVs from virtually all major manufacturers.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 05, 2010  |  0 comments
Comin’ at Ya!

Remember the TV commercial that showed a Sony TV perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon? The set displayed an image of the canyon, and a family gathered around and eagerly watched… the TV.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 22, 2010  |  0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superior black level and shadow detail • Accurate color • Brightness to spare

Setting the Bar Higher

Since the launch of JVC’s DLA-RS1 projector more than three years ago, consumers have anticipated each of the company’s new DLA designs. In some respects, such as resolution and brightness, JVC’s projectors have run neck and neck with their competition. However, they haven’t broken new ground. But with regard to producing inky black levels, without the help of a dynamic iris, they arguably have no equals.