Tom Norton

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Tom Norton  |  Oct 28, 2007  |  1 comments

When does a trilogy become a quadrilogy? (Is there such a word? There is now.) When they release the third sequel, of course. And the Spider-Man films have been such a rousing success that you can be sure another one is in the pipeline.

Tom Norton  |  Oct 05, 2007  |  1 comments

Back in late July I blogged about a demo kiosk at my local Best Buy. You can scroll down and read about it. It was set up in a DirecTV promotion kiosk, but it wasn't clear whether or not it was also intended to promoting Best Buy's new video calibration services.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 20, 2007  |  Published: Sep 21, 2007  |  0 comments

When it was released in 1998, <I>Elizabeth</I> (HD DVD) was nominated for a bushel of awards, but most of them went to a competing Elizabethan drama, <I>Shakespeare in Love</I>. The latter was more accessible, crowd-pleasing, and fun. <I>Elizabeth</I> on the other hand, was a dark take on the early years of Elizabeth I, with the emphasis on the international intrigue and court politics that both preceded and followed her accession to the throne.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 20, 2007  |  Published: Sep 21, 2007  |  0 comments

<I>Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within</I> is a cross-genre blend of sci-fi and computer animation, more Japanese anime than cuddly Disney. Check out the flood of Japanese names in the end-credits. Released in 2001, it was one of the first attempts at photo-realistic animation, and in that respect, at least, was startlingly successful. While you'll never confuse the images here with those of real people, they're as close to it as anyone has come, either before or since. Unlike the more recent <I>Polar Express</I>, the characters here don't have creepy, zombie-like eyes.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 20, 2007  |  Published: Sep 21, 2007  |  1 comments

I confess to a serious weakness for <I>The Last Starfighter</I>. Even by 1984 standards, the year of its release, it wasn't a great science fiction film. But there is something immensely appealing in its old-fashioned innocence.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 10, 2007  |  0 comments

CEDIA 2007 supplied more than its share of surprises. There were more interesting new, free-standing speakers there than I expected, though nowhere near what CES brings to town. The quantity of new electronics was intimidating, as usual, and that will keep us busy for the next few months as we check out the most promising candidates.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 10, 2007  |  1 comments

A company called Accell ( offers a variety of video switching and splitting options and cables. Their products include the tiny UltraAV, one-in, two-out HDMI splitter for $129, and the UltraAV HDMI two-in, one-out HDMI switcher that's smaller than its included remote control. Both are powered by external, wall-wart supplies. We plan on checking both of them out soon.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 10, 2007  |  1 comments

The new Snell CR70 center speaker ($1750) was so inconspicuously displayed that I nearly missed it. It is said to be a good sonic match for the Snell CR70 floorstanders ($6500/pair). New center channel speakers&mdash;hopefully proper three-way designs like this one&mdash;are expected next year for other Snell models.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 10, 2007  |  1 comments

Sonus faber's new Cremona M floor-standing speaker (about $12,000/pr) was on static display, but it was obvious that it maintains that Italian manufacturer's reputation for elegant design. It is said to closely mirror the sonics of the more expensive Cremona Elipsa ($20,000/pr), which seriously impressed this writer at last January's CES. A new Cremona center channel is in the works, as well, though it will not be available until some time in 2008.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 10, 2007  |  1 comments

Verity Audio showed a prototype of its new EXR center channel design, the first of a new line of Verity EXR speakers. But the $15,000-$20,000 price for the center channel speaker alone is intimidating, to say the least.