Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 15, 2019  |  2 comments
A reported 180,000 eager retailers, custom installers, press, and assorted hangers-on descended on Las Vegas last week for the annual, trade-only CES. I wasn’t one of them.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 21, 2018  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
When we last left our intrepid superheroes (in 2004's The Incredibles) they had defeated the nasty villain Syndrome. The new film opens with the Incredibles battling the Underminer, the same villain they had encountered at the end of the previous film. They win the day with the help of their superhero buddy Frozone, but the resulting chaos puts the Incredibles back in the doghouse with the law and the public.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 18, 2018  |  0 comments
An odd but strangely rewarding pairing of two movies on 4K Blu-ray, one of which left my jaw on the floor.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 05, 2018  |  Published: Dec 04, 2018  |  2 comments
Room correction is a process by which you eliminate (or I should say, attempt to eliminate) the nasty acoustic qualities of a small room. Many variables are at play, not the least of which are the acoustic characteristics of your room, but today’s room correction systems can be very helpful in improving room response. Here I share my recent experience with one of these systems.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 28, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent resolution
Good HDR brightness
Quiet
Minus
Middling black level
Limited BT.2020 and P3 color coverage
No 10-point white balance adjustment

THE VERDICT
Sony’s VPL-VW295ES isn’t significantly different than last year’s VPL-VW285ES, but it’s still a tempting entry in the limited world of affordable true 4K home projectors.

Until recently, most home 4K projectors used lower-than-4K-resolution imaging chips and employed various types of time-offset pixel shifting to display a 4K image on a screen. Such projectors are affordable and widely available, and they can be remarkably effective. True, full 4K projection, on the other hand, has remained something of a golden goose, priced out of the range of mere mortals.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 20, 2018  |  0 comments
I have little experience with Black Friday mania, having studiously avoided any contact with Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, or Targea on that frenzied day. Black Friday doesn’t mean a day of mourning, but is rather named for the day of the year when retailers anticipate their annual sales will finally go positive—out of the red and into the black.

And there’s no denying it to be an important day to people with plastic and a yearning for good stuff at fire-sale prices. For them it’s a Holy Day of Obligation. They line up outside at closing time on Thanksgiving (the day before the main event) to spend a cold night bundled up outside hoping to score that new flat screen TV (though Black Friday Vigil sales late on Turkey Day are now a thing)...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 06, 2018  |  7 comments
I don’t know if you’ve noticed (though how could you not) that a lot of the stuff we buy these days is made in China. It ranges from the remarkably cheap (like the lightweight, pleated jacket I bought last year in Walmart (for less than the price of a CD or Blu-ray) to the very expensive (such as Buick’s new Envision SUV—yes, that’s made in the PRC as well, the first U.S. car made there, by GM Shanghai). It’s difficult to buy anything today without encountering a product made in China as the only viable alternative. And even if it’s manufactured in the U.S., many of its individual pieces were likely sourced in China...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 31, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,100

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Exceptional Value
Effective full array local dimming
Brilliant HDR
Minus
Limited off-center viewing angle
So-so sound

THE VERDICT
Three years ago, Vizio’s flagship 65-inch Ultra HD set carried a $6,000 MSRP. Today’s P-Series Quantum, the most advanced and highest-performing model in the company’s lineup, retails for $2,100. That’s a boon for consumers—and a serious throwdown to the competition.

Founded in 2002, Vizio is an American company headquartered in California that aims to offer top-quality TVs at prices appealing to a wide range of consumers. Vizio came close to being bought out by Chinese company LeEco in 2017. But that purchase fell through for a number of reasons and the company remains American-owned. HDTVs and UHDTVs remain its primary focus, but Vizio also markets a competitively-priced lineup of soundbars.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 30, 2018  |  0 comments
IMAX and DTS stirred up a bit of a hurricane at September’s CEDIA Expo when they announced the launch of a new home theater certification program called “IMAX Enhanced.” Here’s what we know…
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 17, 2018  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive HDR brightness
Excellent black level and shadow detail
Superior off-center viewing angle for LCD
Minus
Some backlight blooming artifacts
Unimpressive built-in sound

THE VERDICT
Sony’s Master Series Z9F LCD makes a strong claim for top-dog status in today’s Ultra HDTV market. It produces superb images, with enhanced off-center viewing so all guests will be happy at your next Super Bowl party.

In mid-2016, Sony launched a new flagship LCD design, the XBR-Z9D. The series incorporated Backlight Master Drive, a local dimming technology that was a big step forward in realizing the peak brightness potential of high dynamic range (HDR). The Z9D series has remained at the top of Sony’s TV lineup for two years—an eternity for UHDTV technology. But it now shares space with the new XBR-Z9F Master Series LCD models, which are available in 65- and 75-inch sizes, along with the company’s new A9F Master Series OLED TVs.

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