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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 13, 2009 0 comments

Build Quality
Price: $5,690 (with SubSeries 300 subwoofer substituted for discontinued SubSeries 6i, updated 3/10/15)
At A Glance: Open, clean, and detailed • Expansive, cinematic sound • High value

Imagine: Airy Soundscapes

When deciding whether or not to set product priority for evaluation, every reviewer (consciously or unconsciously) applies a filter based on his or her previous experience with that manufacturer. Of course, there are always breakthrough products that demand to be covered and new companies that deserve to be discovered. But given the options available in the speaker world—including the new and the fascinating but rarely the revolutionary—you look first to those that have proved that they can make a great product.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2009 0 comments

At last year's CEDIA Expo, Sharp unveiled it's first LCD TV with LED backlighting and local dimming. Not only that, it's ultra-thin—about 1 inch at the top and side edges, thickening to 2 inches in the middle. The image it produced on the show floor was stunning, with deeper reds and darker blacks than most LCDs are capable of.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2009 0 comments
Price: $12,000 At A Glance: Superb blacks • Exceptional resolution • Inaccurate color

Ultra Black and Ultra Thin

Less than two years after I accompanied a group of American journalists on a visit to a new Sharp factory, the company has developed yet another new plant. This one can support an even larger mother glass. On that same visit, we also witnessed examples of the company’s cutting-edge R&D, including new, ultra-black technology.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $7,000 At A Glance: Pricey, but offers unsurpassed image quality • No tuners or audio system • Last of the breed

The Last Hurrah for Kuro?

As I was finishing up this review, word arrived that Pioneer will exit the video display business. The economic climate, Pioneer’s premium prices, and the increasing market share of LCD displays combined to create a perfect storm that the company could not overcome. Pioneer panels will continue to be available through the end of 2009, including the Elite Signature Series monitors.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 29, 2009 9 comments

"How big is the screen?"

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 16, 2009 0 comments
Price: $9,995 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Near reference-quality blacks • No tuners or speakers • HDMI is version 1.2a, not 1.3

Custom Home Theater

I watched a lot of television when I was growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. OK, more often than not, I was reading a RadioShack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct Audio or High Fidelity. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents’ 21-inch console television, with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book—er, magazine—and the latest episode of Gunsmoke.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 14, 2009 0 comments
How does color accuracy measure up?

There’s more that goes into making a good display than accurate color, but it’s certainly one of the biggies. Color in a video display may seem like a relatively simple subject, but it’s not. In this Gear Works, I’ll outline the two most important factors in assessing and measuring the color accuracy of the HDTVs we review—color tracking and color gamut. I’ll also show you how we present this in the HT Labs Measures graphics that accompany our reviews. This article will shed some light on what these important measurements tell us about the color accuracy of the displays we test here at Home Theater.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 04, 2009 0 comments
Every year, Sony holds a late-winter Open House (aka line show). As in years past, it was located at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. The current financial situation, not to mention bad weather back east, kept most of the consumer-electronics press at home, but I was there from sunny southern California, camera in hand, to bring you the latest scoop.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 03, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,800 At A Glance: Superb color and resolution • First-rate standard-def video processing • Mediocre blacks and shadow detail

From Sharp Minds

Sharp is a prime mover and shaker in the flat-panel business. The company has been dedicated to LCD technology from the beginning of the beginning—all the way back to the earliest LCD pocket calculators.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 02, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,600 At A Glance: Outstanding audio and video performance • All the latest Audyssey and THX Ultra2 Plus features • Uniquely flexible video calibration controls

Covering All the Bases

If you sometimes get nostalgic for the days of two-channel audio, you’re not alone. Life was simple then. You plugged in your CD player here, your turntable over there, hooked up the preamp to the power amp (unless you were a hair-shirt audiophile with an all-in-one, integrated amp), and you were done. Then you would select the source, adjust the volume, sit back, and listen.