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Panasonic TX-P50G20B 50-inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p 600Hz Neo Plasma TV with Freeview HD and Freesat HD
Panasonic TX-P50G20B 50-inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p 600Hz Neo Plasma TV with Freeview HD and Freesat HD

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars KING OF THE BUZZERS, 16 April 2011
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The TX-P50G20B is capable of producing truly wonderful, deep blacks. HD images look incredible and even upscaled DVDs are fantastically warm and detailed. Watching this TV with the lights out in the right size of room with a good AV system is when you truly understand the meaning of "Home Cinema."

Unfortunately, it's also akin to owning your own Insect-O-Cutor. It emits the most irritating BUZZING noise imaginable, which intensifies every single time a bright image fills the screen. This is way beyond a conventional operational noise or normal "plasma buzz". It was clearly audible even from the very back of my room, almost 20 feet away!

Try watching Fargo on this set and the opening scene, fading in on white, is laughable- instead of Carter Burwell's beautiful score all you can hear is an awful whine. TV broadcasts with ever-changing colours during ad breaks, etc, are unbearable. In fact the noise is so pronounced that when shots pan from dark to white, the buzzing gradually intensifies throughout the shot.

I subsequently discovered this is a known issue with Panasonic G20's- it may well be more pronounced on certain units, and Panasonic (when pushed) will occasionally send out an engineer to inject silicone into the rear of the display to dull the noise. However, many users who've received this "fix" claim that it either makes no difference or actually intensifies the problem.

Quite aside from this, Image Retention is alot worse than I'd imagined possible on a modern Plasma. I spent the first 25 minutes of David Lynch's Eraserhead trying to ignore the DVD menu options which had temporarily burned into the left-hand side of the screen. The menu itself was only on for around 30 seconds, so I couldn't even begin to imagine running a computer through this thing and having a Windows taskbar permanently burned into the top and bottom of the screen!

I now have an LG LCD. It can't hope to compete with this set in terms of blacks, but it is happily completely silent and I have never regretted returning the Panasonic. Prospective buyers willing to spend hundreds of pounds on this supposedly high-end TV should be made well aware of such a howler of a design flaw.

Don't take my word for it, either- just Google "Panasonic G20 Plasma Buzz" and you'll find scores of threads on A/V Forums and many other sites discussing this problem. It's well worth weighing up whether or not you want to risk buying this before taking a day off work waiting on it being collected, or, even worse, having to lug one back to the shops yourself!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 17, 2011 9:36 AM BST

The Lost Beatles Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966
The Lost Beatles Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966
by Larry Marion
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.94

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Gems From The Bob Bonis Archive..., 16 April 2011
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Another wonderful collection of previously unpublished photographs by the late Bob Bonis finally receives its long-overdue release. This Beatles volume documents the same time period of '64-'66 as covered in his recently published Stones book.

Bonis was The Beatles' US Tour Manager, which afforded him exclusive backstage access and the opportunity to snap away pretty much as he wished with his Leica M3. Bonis kept these shots for his own pleasure and never published them during his lifetime, so many of these images will be new to even the most die-hard Beatles fans.

Copious amounts of fantastic live shots are featured here alongside wonderfully intimate backstage moments. My new favourite picture of John and Paul is on page 77, where they're intently tuning up backstage on the '66 tour. Atmospheric colour shots from Memphis, Tennessee on the same tour are also highlights. If any further evidence was needed, these confirm that The Beatles were indeed the coolest-looking guys on earth in 1966. We are also treated to rare glimpses of the late Mal Evans and Derek Taylor on the '64 tour, and fantastic colour studies of Ringo from the same period.

Looking at these pictures, it's hard not to feel sorry that Bonis' association with The Beatles ended once they'd stopped touring. Do yourself a favour and buy this lovely collection whilst it's in hardback. Amidst the constant deluge of "new" Beatles books, this is a genuinely worthy addition to the canon and an indispensible purchase for any self-respecting fan of The Fabs.

RIP, Bob.

LG 47LE8900 47in Full HD LED Infinia Television
LG 47LE8900 47in Full HD LED Infinia Television

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So near yet so far..., 16 April 2011
A full array LED backlit model, the LG 47LE8900 can achieve the kind of blacks which are completely beyond the capability of conventional LCDs. So much so that the black bars on 4:3 or 2.35:1 films look exactly the same as when the screen is switched off. The colour reproduction and level of detail on HD content is breathtaking. Spin a nice, bright Blu-Ray like the BBC's Galapagos and many of the shots are so incredibly rendered that they almost feel 3D. It's beautifully designed and boasts all the connectivity and features you could hope for, including Freeview HD.

So why only two stars?

It's all down to the Local Dimming function. This feature is responsible for the LE8900's unprecedentedly deep blacks but is also its Achilles heel, resulting in two particularly lamentable problems.

Firstly, it produces a very noticeable "halo" effect, which shows up as a white "fog" around any light source on a black background. The opening moments of John Carpenter's The Thing are a good example of this: the clusters of stars are surrounded by horrible (and highly distracting) white blotches. The Alien series was even worse, straight from the brilliant title sequence of the first film which was completely ruined by white blocks of backlight behind each of the credits (Star Wars fans- don't bother investing in the forthcoming Blu Ray box set if you own this TV!). Zodiac, a reference disc for HD picture quality, looked fantastic until the LE8900 had to deal with the night scenes, where the streetlights were transformed into luminous white circles and squares dotted around the frame.

It is highly unfortunate, not to say ridiculous, that the deep cinematic blacks which the LE8900 is capable of producing are offset by this incredibly distracting side-effect.

The haloing isn't quite so apparent when content is viewed in a brightly-lit room. Unfortunately the screen is incredibly reflective so a great deal of the picture is obliterated by a shiny image of whatever room you happen to have the LE8900 set up in. Conventional daytime use is especially annoying for these reasons. The natural impulse then is to darken the room, bringing the haloing problem out in full force once again!

The second significant problem which plagues the LE8900 is the adverse "banding". Whenever a tracking shot occurs over a white or dark background a nasty rolling horizontal or vertical line is clearly apparent. This is incredibly irritating on a screen of this size and really pulls you out of the action. A BBC HD documentary about The Eiger was particularly excruciating, with many pans over the snowy mountainside highlighting this particular glitch. This problem was evident on every disc I put through the LE8900, and ultimately proved to be even more distracting than the haloing. And it isn't confined to films, either. Link your PC to the LE8900 and any website with a white background has more headache-inducing flicker than I've witnessed on any other large screen TV.

Sadly, no amount of picture tweaking can improve these problems. I can safely say that I have never had to play around with the settings on a TV more than I did with the LE8900. The only way to avoid the haloing and banding is to switch the Local Dimming function off altogether, which effectively turns the LE8900 into a conventional LCD, rendering its main selling point- improved performance over LCD- irrelevant.

I should stress that the banding & haloing are VERY obvious to the naked eye and you certainly don't have to be a home cinema enthusiast to notice them. Neither do I believe that it's nit-picking to criticise a supposedly top of the range TV (let alone one with an original RRP of 2K) for not even being able to display white on black or handle movement adequately.

What's especially annoying about these problems is that the upcoming range of LG "Nano" TVs have promised "No haloing or banding as associated with LED technology".

Fingers crossed, because the LE8900 is like a Porsche 911 without any wheels. Beautiful in many ways... completely useless when it comes to the basics.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2011 8:59 AM BST

The Lost Rolling Stones Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966
The Lost Rolling Stones Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966
by Charlie Watts
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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Bob Bonis was the Stones' US tour manager from '64-'66, affording him the kind of intimate, access-all-areas relationship with the band which most of the press could only dream of. He was also an avid amateur photographer who amassed an incredible 2,700 pictures of the group during the first flush of its success.

Bonis was keen to avoid exploiting the Stones and sanctioned only a few of his images for commercial use in contemporary teen magazines. When his association with the band ended he selected some personal favourites to place on the wall of his study before storing the slides and negatives in a duffel bag, where they remained until his death in 1992.

Now, in conjunction with Bonis' son Alex and rock auctioneer Larry Marion, this wonderful treasure trove of previously unseen images has finally been made available. Rest assured, this is not a hastily-assembled hodgepodge of snapshots or blurry Polaroids. Bonis shot with a Leica M3 and the images, mostly black-and-white, are all high-quality. He was a fantastic photographer whose passion and skill behind the lens are evident throughout. Many of these images stand proudly alongside iconic shots from the same period by Bent Rej and Gered Mankowitz.

The Stones are captured on the cusp of US success in '64 at the legendary T.A.M.I. show, recording at Chess studios, and later in '65 when they were about to commence a thrilling run of classic singles, working flat-out but clearly loving every minute of it. As the Stones' tour manager, Bonis was able to select any vantage point he desired during the shows and the live images presented here are thrilling, particularly those of Jagger on the rioutous tour of West Germany in September '65, where the energy of his performance explodes from the page.

Bonis also captured many quieter moments, which are among the best photographs in this book. There are particularly wonderful studies of Charlie Watts sitting alone backstage, and of Brian Jones at his resplendent Little Lord Fauntleroy best. One photograph of Jagger posing with an executive's little besuited son is worthy of Diane Arbus in its unsettling weirdness. Some studio highlights are the recording sessions for `Time Is On My Side', `Get Off Of My Cloud' and the `Aftermath' album.

The print quality is wonderful and the images and text are well-presented. Happily, almost all of the book's 266 pages are devoted to the photographs.

I would recommend this wonderful collection to any Stones fan. For once, we are presented with a supposed "holy grail" of rock photographs which more than exceed the hype. I would urge anyone to grab a copy of this whilst it's still in hardback, and at such a good price. I now cannot wait to see Bonis' The Lost Beatles Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966 !

You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles
You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles
by Peter Doggett
Edition: Hardcover

96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
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Peter Doggett's incredible new book is essential reading for any diligent student of The Beatles. It charts the complex and frequently upsetting tale of the group's tangled business affairs, ably demonstrating how monumental decisions formulated in a haze of optimism and innocence ultimately ensured that John, Paul, George & Ringo were bound together forever.

Beginning during the haphazard formation of Apple in 1967 and continuing to the present day,`You Never Give Me Your Money' documents The Beatles' split more successfully than almost every other account. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the inner-workings of their business empire and the subsequent antagonism between Lennon/McCartney and McCartney/Harrison.

Rest assured, this is not a tabloid-style character assassination al-a Albert Goldman: it is an unbiased and refreshingly well-balanced account of the reality behind the biggest entertainment phenomenon the world has ever known. Doggett merely shows The Beatles for what they were: four incredibly talented but rather naive young men struggling to come to terms with the financial monster they had unwittingly unleashed.

Nor is `You Give Me Your Money' a dry tale of endless contract signings and boardroom meetings. Doggett ensures that the various deals and manoeuvres are explained in a clear, concise and readable fashion. He also offers a comprehensive examination of the individual Beatles' changes in fortune throughout the last four decades. Doggett illuminates this incredible story with a huge selection of rarely-seen interviews, particularly from Lennon and Apple Spokesman Derek Taylor, although every significant player is well-represented throughout with interesting and insightful quotes.

Whilst no-one here gets away entirely clean, Doggett's book only increased my admiration for The Beatles. It's frankly mind-boggling that they could stand to be in the studio together at all throughout 1968-70, let alone succeed in creating some of their most brilliant and enduring music.

`You Never Give Me Your Money' is a bittersweet testament to the ability of that music to transcend the harsh realities of business and emotional disintegration. It's also one of the few Beatles books in recent years to actually reveal anything new or interesting about the group. If you're serious about The Beatles and their incredible story, you have to read this.

Blue Velvet [Blu-ray] [1986] [US Import]
Blue Velvet [Blu-ray] [1986] [US Import]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 25th ANNIVERSARY US IMPORT BLU RAY EDITION REVIEW, 12 Jan. 2001
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Finally, a David Lynch film gets the home video treatment it deserves. This 25th anniversary edition boasts a beautiful new High Definition transfer overseen by Lynch himself, and a superb DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Rest assured, Blue Velvet has never looked or sounded better. Colours are rich, blacks are strong and there is no sign of obtrusive digital manipulation. The clarity, depth and atmosphere of the lossless surround soundtrack is equally impressive.

I would urge anyone to buy this version over the UK release. Despite the box stating that this is a region "A" disc (i.e.-US and surrounding territories), this will work perfectly on a British BD player. Crucially, it also features something the UK release does not: 51 minutes of newly discovered deleted scenes.

Previously featured only as stills on the earlier Region 1 DVD, the footage has been fully restored, presented in HD and featuring the original music and sound elements. The care and attention these scenes have received makes a mockery of the scrappy, unfinished workprint versions of deleted scenes featured on most releases.

Whilst it could be argued that the majority of this footage was rightly excised from the final cut, it nonetheless offers a fascinating alternate perspective to the film, and provides a wonderful insight into Lynch's creative process. Would that the production company holding the rights to the legendary deleted scenes for "Fire Walk With Me" acquiesce to Lynch's demands and afford similar respect to that footage.

The disc also features the fantastic 70 minute "Mysteries of Love" documentary carried over from the Region 1 DVD along with the trailers, TV spots and "Siskel & Ebert" review. The disc menu is rather strange: having no screen of its own, it is only accessible via the "pop up" menu whilst the film is playing (although the film can be paused whilst scrolling through the options).

All in all, a wonderful edition of an incredible film at a superb price. Every Lynch fan should own this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2014 4:26 PM GMT

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