Tom Norton

Tom Norton  |  Feb 27, 2024  |  7 comments
Just in case you've been living under a rock somewhere, you need to know that the film Dune: Part Two will arrive at a theater near you this coming Friday, March 1, 2024. That would place its story about 10,000 years into a future envisioned by writer Frank Herbert in his famous 1965 science fiction novel, directed in this latest film incarnation, by Denis Villeneuve.
Tom Norton  |  Feb 07, 2024  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $900

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Wide Range of Features
Affordable Price
Impressive Picture Quality
Comprehensive Connectivity
High Refresh Rate for Gaming
Minus
Limited Off-Center Viewing Angles
Calibration and Ergonomic Challenges
Intrusive Pop-up Ads on Smart Platform

THE VERDICT
I wouldn't choose the U8K for a video mastering suite. But for the consumer looking for a TV that punches far above its price, the Hisense generated more OMG moments from me on the best source material than I can recall from any TV I've previously reviewed. The only thing keeping it from earning an even higher performance rating is its limited off-center viewing—an issue with most LCD-based televisions.

Tom Norton  |  Dec 12, 2023  |  2 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE: $1,000

AT A GLANCE

Plus
Do-it-all abilities
Competent audio performance
Minus
Operational complexity
Intimidating manuals

THE VERDICT
The detailed setup and operation of the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar can be a little off-putting, but its performance doesn't disappoint and offers a dramatic upgrade over the on-board sound of virtually any television.

Tom Norton  |  Nov 08, 2023  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Black levels
Superb color
Affordability
Minus
Menu ergonomics
Remote control

THE VERDICT
Even before calibration, this Sony produced superb images. But calibration truly brought out the best from it in both HDR to SDR. Our samples offered slightly less luminance in HDR than expected, but that was quickly forgotten once the lights dimmed and the viewing began.

For several years now OLED has been king of the HDTV hill, offering the best available HDTV performance. This isn't to say that it has been free of issues; no technology is perfect.

Tom Norton  |  Oct 10, 2023  |  1 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Strong and clear sound
Excellent imaging
Made in France

Minus
Best with a subwoofer for action films
2-way center speaker

THE VERDICT
Unless it happened in the long forgotten, misty days of my earliest reviews, I can't recall ever before reviewing a Focal loudspeaker. But years ago, I did visit the Focal factory in France and was impressed by the company's forward, creative thinking. That remains true today, as the new Focal Vestia lineup clearly demonstrates.

Focal is a long-established, high-end French loudspeaker manufacturer that invests heavily in R&D to stay ahead of its competitors. While its flagship models have always commanded nosebleed prices, the new Focal Vestia line (three floorstanders, a bookshelf model, and the Vestia Center) tops out at $4400/pair in the U.S. for the Vestia No.4. Not exactly white van prices, but more than competitive in the international loudspeaker market.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 05, 2023  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Screen size
Black levels
Price
Minus
Limited off-center viewing
Cluttered remote

THE VERDICT
The TCL 85QM8 has a few annoying ergonomic issues, and like most LED/LCD sets its off-center viewing won't challenge an OLED. But its performance is impressive, and its price unexpectedly affordable. Properly adjusted, and on source material ranging from the routine to the awesomely difficult, its performance was consistently irresistible.

One significant difference between building a home theater around a video projector or a conventional flat-screen television has been image size. Projector fans will point to the immersion that big-screen projection offers, with the screen size limited mainly by your available space, imagination, and budget. Until recently, however, TVs bigger than 65-inches were priced beyond the means of most consumers.

Tom Norton  |  May 17, 2023  |  14 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stunning brightness
Excellent color
Outstanding blacks
Minus
Cluttered WebOS
Little else

THE VERDICT
Today’s best HDTVs are sure to more than satisfy even the most critical buyer. That goes double for 2023 LG’s G3. Despite a few ergonomic quirks (a personal call, to be sure), it makes a strong case for itself as it jostles for the top of the hill as the best 4K HDTV on the market.

This is the third edition of LG's Gallery Edition OLED, replacing last year's 65-inch G2.

Tom Norton  |  Mar 28, 2023  |  4 comments
Cartoon by Charles Rodrigues.

In a flash of inspiration last week I decided it was time to sort through the mass of paperwork squirrelled away in my office. That’s when I discovered a long-forgotten folder labeled “Humor”…

Tom Norton  |  Dec 21, 2022  |  1 comments
Christmas! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire (hopefully in a fireplace). Jack Frost nipping at your nose. And lots of Christmas movies. Here are a few of my favorites.
Tom Norton  |  Dec 07, 2022  |  10 comments
A few years ago a friend acquired a heavy, bound volume of all of Audio magazine's 1960 issues. Riffling through the issues was fascinating as writers dealt with the introduction of the stereo LP and the associated equipment needed to create 2-channel stereophonic sound, which represented a significant leap over the single-channel mono format. Let’s see what else those early days of home hi-fi reveal.

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