Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 29, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $5,000 At A Glance: State-of-the-art black level and shadow detail • Superior color and HD resolution • 480i video processing could be better • Poor off-axis viewing

XBR Goes LED

LCD flat panels now dominate the television marketplace. But despite their popularity, they have been notably inferior to the best plasma sets in the depth of their blacks and the quality of their shadow detail.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 22, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $1,700 Highlights: The price is right • Accurate color • Crisp, dimensional image with excellent resolution • Poor black level and shadow detail

Features
At 61 inches diagonal, the Samsung is the smaller member of this two-set match-up, but it’s still considerably larger than most comparably priced flat panels. Also, like the Mitsubishi, you’ll be surprised at how light it feels. Even better, the price will also be light on your wallet.

The set provides an adequate number of inputs, including a WiseLink port—Samsung’s name for the USB connection that lets you view JPEG photos, listen to MP3 audio files, and input possible future firmware upgrades.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 22, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $2,999 Highlights: Accurate color • A high contrast ratio with convincingly deep blacks • Bright, punchy, dimensional image

Features
With its 65-inch (diagonal) screen, the Mitsubishi WD-65835 is the second from the largest set in Mitsubishi’s full-featured Diamond line. But it’s a lot lighter and more maneuverable than you might expect.

The set offers a full array of the usual video and audio connections. Plus, it includes the increasingly common USB port for viewing your JPEG photos. There is no RGB computer input. You can only connect a computer via a digital link to one of the HDMI jacks.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 24, 2008  |  7 comments

A small but vocal segment of the video business, and of video enthusiasts, believes that HD on a disc—that is, Blu-ray—is merely a stopgap. Soon, they are certain, we will all get our HD movie fix via Internet downloads.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 24, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $4,999 At A Glance: Exceptional black level and shadow detail• Accurate color & superb resolution • Superior video processing • Limited acceptable viewing angle

Light Me Up, Dim Me Down

Last year, Samsung launched its first generation of LCD flat-panel sets with LED backlighting, the 81 Series. These sets were exciting in a number of ways. LEDs offer potentially superior color performance compared with conventional fluorescent backlights and also provide lower energy consumption.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 10, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $2,600 At A Glance: Excellent image depth • First-rate resolution, particularly in HD • Frame interpolation can’t be defeated • Colors are pleasing but not accurate

120 Hertz and All That Jazz

It hasn’t been that long since JVC left the rear-projection business. Its LCOS designs were among the best on the market—which is appropriate for a company that still makes LCOS front projectors.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 03, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $7,000 Highlights: Superb sound for both movies and music • 10 channels of powerful Class D amplification • Sets a steep learning curve but rewards with immense flexibility • Video processing has limitations, including no upconversion of HDMI sources

And the Kitchen Sink

Sometimes I get nostalgic for the early days of home theater. For example, I fondly remember the Proceed AVP processor I reviewed for Stereophile Guide to Home Theater in 1997. Conventional Dolby Digital and DTS were its most exotic operating modes, the remote had fewer than a dozen buttons, and it didn’t provide room equalization, extra surround modes, or onboard video processing. In fact, it didn’t have any video switching beyond S-video. We didn’t need no stinkin’ component, and no one had even heard of HDMI. Laserdisc was the most established source, DVD was brand new, and consumer high definition was still a mote in the FCC’s eye.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 03, 2008  |  0 comments
Price: $5,000 Highlights: Blacks to die for • Precise color and excellent resolution • 72-hertz operation on film-based sources for judder-free motion • Video processing could be better

Once More, With Feeling

My review schedule is starting to look a bit like the Pioneer Channel. But timing is everything. Pioneer is introducing a boatload of interesting new products, including the newest KURO flat panels. These include the upcoming Signature Series KURO monitor plasma models. Pioneer says these models will offer enough adjustments to inspire video calibrators to set up shop in buyers’ homes. “Will calibrate for room and board.”

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 08, 2008  |  3 comments

In a recent e-mail, an old friend and audio reviewer asked about Blu-ray players. I tried to steer him away (successfully, I hope) from what he thought was a good deal on an new, unused first generation Sony Blu-ray player. The seller had apparently almost convinced him that this was some sort of undiscovered gem, akin (though in a different application) to the early, tank-like SACD players held in high regard by some audiophiles.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 06, 2008  |  0 comments
The One to Beat?

While LCD displays may dominate that video wall at your local Best Circuit Shack these days, don’t dismiss the benefits of plasmas. No company has put more R&D into plasma development than Panasonic, and it’s paid off. People may disagree about who makes the best plasma sets, but no one will dispute that Panasonic is in the thick of the action. When it comes to the breadth of its product range, Panasonic is the champ.

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