Tom Norton

Tom Norton  |  Apr 09, 2007  |  0 comments

Another sports flick about a new coach, a team down on its luck, and a player struggling to succeed. But the variations on that theme are seemingly endless. In the Hollywood vernacular, this one was "inspired by the true story" of a 30-year old substitute teacher/bartender who never played college football but won a shot at a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster thanks to an open tryout held by the NFL team's new coach. The tryout was little more than a publicity stunt, but for the player, die-hard Eagles fan Vince Papale, it was a chance to prove himself.

Tom Norton  |  Apr 09, 2007  |  0 comments

Another box-office disappointment here, but its failure was undeserved. This is a delightful romantic comedy. While the title appears to reveal all you need to know about the subject, the R-rating here is very soft. Apart from a few minutes near the beginning, this more of a costume farce than a sex-romp. Perhaps that's why it failed in theaters; it wasn't what the audience expected.

Tom Norton  |  Apr 09, 2007  |  0 comments

This 2004 remake of an early 1960s B-picture was underappreciated when it first came out, and with good reason. The original starred Jimmy Stewart. A remake of any film starring an icon from Hollywood's golden age has a very steep hill to climb.

Tom Norton  |  Apr 09, 2007  |  0 comments

The critical and box office verdicts on <I>Flyboys</I> weren't exactly glowing. Full of clichs with the usual assortment of standard characters…the dull subplot about the lonely American pilot falling for a beautiful young French girl…wooden dialog...a decidedly old-fashioned tone. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 17, 2007  |  1 comments

CES 2007 has now come and gone, but, as always, the themes first played there will linger on through 2007 and beyond.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2007  |  Published: Jan 12, 2007  |  0 comments

In-wall subs are a fast growing category, and BG has its own wrinkle on the concept. The company's new BX-4850 in-wall subwoofer consists of four modules, each of which contains 12 micro-woofers. One of these modules is shown in the photo. The four modules may be positioned together in the room or separately, and an on-wall version may also be made available. The 12 micro-woofers are each separately enclosed and face each other in pairs. The bass generated by them fires out from the center of the array, through the opening between the left and right sets of drivers, and into the room. Mechanical vibrations are largely cancelled out due to the opposing drivers, minimizing the transmission of bass into the walls, which can muddy the bass and transmit low frequencies to the structure of the room and into other parts of the house.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2007  |  Published: Jan 12, 2007  |  0 comments

Atlantic Technology has modified its flagship System 8200 THX Ultras2 speaker line. The revised version, the 8200e, does away with the pedestal subwoofers and replaces them with a passive pedestal/stand. The system may now be set up with the user's choice of subwoofer(s), such as Atlantic's THX-certified 642eSB ($1000). This change lowers the height of the speaker by about 10 inches. The side panels are now fixed instead of removable, and there is only a single finish available&mdash; gloss black. The 8200e C three-way center channel speaker also has fixed side panels in the same gloss black finish, plus a slightly modified crossover said to smooth the response in the lower midrange for improved dialogue reproduction. A complete 8200e 5.1-channel system starts at $10,000.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2007  |  Published: Jan 12, 2007  |  1 comments

Panasonic's heart may be in plasma displays, but the company also launched a new line of LCD rear projection TVs at CES. There will be six models, three of them 1080p and three 720p. Each series will be available in 61-56-and 50-inch sizes. But the big news is that they all will use a new form of projection lamp, called LiFi, from LUXIM. This lamp is said to provide a much longer life than current UHP lamps, with a faster startup time and a wider color gamut that challenges the color available from the LED lamp-replacement that is just starting to show up in other RPTVs.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2007  |  6 comments

TAD showed off its new Reference One speaker (about $60,000/pair) with a variety of music, from 2-channel to SACD to open reel tape to multichannel. A planned demonstration of high resolution multichannel sound, without video, on Blu-ray disc didn't come off when mastering problems interferred, but the multichanel material, from Reference Recordings, was played from a standard DVD (in PCM) and sounded terrific.

The big tape deck visible in the photo is an old Technics RS 1500. A company called The Tape Project ( plans to issue a number of pre-recorded analog tapes in 15ips, half-track, two-channel. They will also sell refurbished Technics decks (estimated price about $8500).

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2007  |  0 comments

SVS is a company that specializes in subwoofers, sold mostly on-line. They had one of the few home theater demos at the Venetian, and the only one that actually used film as a program source. I know, that's tacky in a venue in which 99% of the demos are 2-channel audio, but they did their best.