Tom Norton

Tom Norton  |  Sep 15, 2006  |  0 comments

TI featured SIM2's new 3-chip 1080p projector at their booth. While it looked great for the most part, it was hard to get a handle on just how good it really is since three of the four demo clips relied heavily or entirely on computer animation, and the fourth was a grainy, oversharpened trailer for a new upcoming <I>Rocky</I> (!) movie. Rocky 12, I think. An lovely but alarmingly enthusiastic presenter extolled the praises of TI's DLP technology until my teeth hurt. This must have been for the benefit of those in this professional CEDIA audience who may have never heard of DLP before.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 14, 2006  |  Published: Sep 15, 2006  |  0 comments

How do you make an in-wall speaker look interesting? You don't, but Atlantic Technology was one of a handful of vendors to actually make them sound interesting (most vendors didn't even try to demo their in-walls). Three Atlantic IWCB-626's were mounted behind an acoustically transparent Screen Research screen, together with dipole surrounds and subs. The projector was a small Crystal View single chip DLP, which appeared to be a variation on a modestly-priced Mitsubishi design. Nothing fancy here, but simply a solid demo all around of a system that is not outrageously priced. Featured were some particularly fine HD trailers from the upcoming films <I>Flyboys</I> and <I>A Night At The Museum</I>.

Tom Norton  |  Sep 14, 2006  |  0 comments

Panasonic announced a pair of new LCD home theater projectors. The AX100 is a 1280x720 model that sports a dynamic iris, dynamic gamma, Smooth Screen, and a price tag of $2999 (October).

Tom Norton  |  Jun 17, 2006  |  0 comments

In these still early days of HD DVD, it's a little creepy that three of the releases have been films about bad cops: <I>Assault on Precinct 13</I>, <I>Training Day</I> (see below) and now <I>16 Blocks</I>.

Tom Norton  |  Jun 17, 2006  |  0 comments

<I>Training Day</I> is about a bad cop. A very bad cop who has convinced himself that if he can do good in questionable ways and get a little action on the side for himself (not to mention for a few bad cop buddies), that’s the name of the game. When it comes to breaking in a rookie, however, he gets more than he bargained for.

Tom Norton  |  Jun 17, 2006  |  0 comments

Stephen Sommers, director of a fun ride in <I>The Mummy</I> and an unnecessary, overblown sequel in <I>The Mummy Returns</I>, brings us a whole bevy of uglies in <I>Van Helsing</I>. It's a monster mash, with Dracula getting together with his vampire brides, the Frankenstein monster, Mr. Hyde, wherewolves, and various other hangers on.

Tom Norton  |  Jun 04, 2006  |  0 comments

The Pioneer S-1EX, first seen and heard at CES, were in a much larger room at HE2006 and were singing a very happy tune. They were, for me, among the best-sounding speakers at the show, and while the expansive environment probably helped, the speakers may have had a bit to do with it as well. The only disappointment here was that Pioneer chose to do a 2-channel setup, leaving the matching center and surrounds looking a little left out in the back of the room. Look for a review of the full system later this summer in <I>UAV</I>

Tom Norton  |  Jun 04, 2006  |  2 comments

I've heard the $4495/pair Von Schweikert Audio VR-4jr on four different occasions now, in four different rooms at three different shows, and their sound has consistently ranged from very good to superb. The same was true here. They're on the right in the photo. To the left is the larger, VR-5SE, which will set you back $18,000/pair. The VR-5SE did sound better&mdash;tighter, crisper, and better defined. But not four times better. Von Schweikert does make a suitable center channel and surrounds, but for front projection I'd be inclined to try three VR-4jrs across the front, perhaps turning the sub module on its side if needed for the system to clear the screen (the top mid/tweeter module separates from the woofers in the Watt/Puppy style, but is not available separately).

Tom Norton  |  Jun 04, 2006  |  0 comments

The folks from, Classic Records did announce new LP releases, as described by FM below. But they also announced the release of six new, audio only, 24-bit/96kHz DVDs (they call them HDADs). Playable on most DVD machines, these classical recordings originate from the old Everest label and were originally recorded on 35mm magnetic film. The photo shows the LP of one of them, but the cover art on the HDADs (which will be available this summer) should be the same. The kicker here is that the original recordings were 3-channel (left, right, center) and the same three discrete channels will be recorded on the discs. (RCA has provided enthusiasts with a similar service in their SACD releases of classic 3-channel recordings.)

Tom Norton  |  Jun 04, 2006  |  1 comments

We've had a lot to say about various Sony video announcements and events at the show, but they unveiled a new 7.1-channel receiver as well. Its style is similar to that of other recent, but silver-toned Sony AV receiver designs. Features include 120W x 7 channels of amplification, HDMI switching and upconversion of composite, S-Video, and component sources to HDMI, and automated setup. ($800/August).