Read T3.27.66_rev_hitachi text version

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PLASMA TV

If you're rather short on space, you can mount Hitachi's natty Multi-Media Box vertically on its side ­ très loft studio.

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HITACHI PD42A3000

>$11,999 SILKY-LOOKING TURNED OFF, MIND-BLOWING TURNED ON. COULD THIS BE THE NEW STANDARD-SETTER FOR PLASMA?

>Hitachi 1800 032 689 >www.hitachi.com.au

n Issue 25, we pitted LCD against plasma and promised you better plasma pictures in the imminent future. Little did we know, though, that we'd be looking at such a dramatic improvement so soon. This is one of two new plasma offerings from Hitachi (the other is 32 inches), and it comes complete with a fancy swivel stand, detachable speakers and a TV tuner and AV hub (Hitachi calls it a Multi-Media Box). Cosmetically, it's one of the finest screen designs we've seen, acing even Philips' and Sharp's handsome plasma efforts. This is just how screens should be: free of buttons and distractions, and ideal whether you place them on a stand or hang them grandly on a wall. The mirror-finished Multi-Media Box is pretty smart looking too, and slightly smaller than the Selector Unit that comes with Fujitsu's new 42 incher (see opposite). On the connections front, you get a pair of S-Video and component video connections on the Multi-Media box, all of which can double as composite video inputs, plus an RGB connection with audio for your PC (but no DVI input). As with last year's Hitachi plasmas, the emphasis is on this being a TV rather than a monitor. Everything you need to start watching terrestrial television comes provided, and we particularly liked the swivel stand, even if it's not as sexy as the pole on the old 32 inch model. It may be basic, but it's the sort of feature usually reserved for much smaller LCD TVs, and it's particularly useful when you're trying to move a chunky 40kg plasma screen. Other TV-friendly features include a sleep timer and a picture-inpicture mode to simultaneously display television and teletext, or TV and PC. can fine-tune according to preference the usual contrast, brightness, colour, sharpness and hue, but also ­ deep breath ­ chrominance, luminance, noise reduction, black level and the high-contrast `film mode'. On the other hand, you can only save one user setting, compared with the Fujitsu's impressive eight. Controlling all this through the on-screen display is relatively easy ­ it's a bare but effective menu system. Rounding off the package, there's a competent remote that'll also control Hitachi DVD players and VCRs, and a pair of average stereo speakers, which are fine for everyday TV but too wishy-washy for film material, though: if you're spending 12 grand on a screen, you should spend big again on a sound system to match.Which brings us to the finest aspect of this Hitachi ­ the price. At $11,999, it's a complete steal. Adam Vaughan

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STAR PERFORMER

In performance, this plasma is something of a revelation. Colours are beautifully bright, and skin tones look impressively natural ­ faces look neither too warm nor bleached out. It's also spot on with movement, and good at basic tasks such as auto-sensing the dimensions of your source material. But most impressive is the lack of noise ­ this screen has the smoothest and sharpest image we've seen on a plasma of this size. Admittedly, you do get some jaggies from SD digital television, but run an HD signal or DVD through the component connection (the PD42A3000 will take PAL progressive scan via component) and this screen is simply outstanding ­ bursting with cinematic impact and devoid of distracting fuzz. Even low-detail scenes work well.To top all this, the screen's also extremely good with ambient light ­ watching yourself watch the footy won't be a problem. Tweaking the picture should satisfy even the most demanding of videophiles. Of course, you

TVERDICT

PERFORMANCE VALUE OVERALL

An outstanding plasma standard-setter that chucks out images as well defined as an entry in the Macquarie Dictionary. It's going to be very hard to ignore.

KEY FEATURES > 16:9 42 inch (106cm) plasma television > Maximum resolution: 1,024 x 1,024 > Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 > Brightness rating: 1,000cd/m2 > Multi-Media Box connections: 1 x RGB and audio input, 1 x monitor and audio output, 1 x headphone output, 2 x component video, 2 x S-Video, 1 x stereo audio inputs/ outputs, 1 x centre audio input, 1 x RF aerial input > Picture-in-picture mode: picture and teletext, PC and picture > Features: teletext, sleep timer > H2 Panel and I2 Intelligent Image Chip Technology video processing > Stereo speakers > Supplied with swivel stand; wall mount available > Dimensions: 1,030 x 636 x 95mm > Weight: 39.8kg (screen, stand and speakers, 3.3kg (media box)

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Buyer's guide

SIDELINES

PORTABLE DVD PLAYERS Well, now Do you like to watch?

you can ­ DVDs, that is ­ on the train, in a taxi or beneath the duvet

SCREENS

The ultimate home entertainment system demands a big screen. We've corralled all the latest, greatest plasmas, LCDs and CRTs into our guide, so take your pick

BUDGET

Luminaura PDV-2000W >$1,299 The main advantage of this DVD player is the bargain basement price, but it will do the job well enough. The battery should last you a movie and a sequel,and there's a car cigarette charger included in the price.You can also play audio or MP3 CDs and listen in via the speakers or headphones. www.luminaura.com

Best buy

HITACHI PD-42A3000 >$11,999 >www.hitachi.com.au represents a This silver beauty has the smoothest,sharpest image we've ever seen on a plasma of its size.It

dramatic improvement in plasma picture quality and we love it.Boasting an understated design,it looks gorgeous stood on its fancy swivelling stand or hung on the wall.Features include picture-in-picture and compatibility with HDTV broadcasts.But the best bit is the price ­ just $11,999.Go forth and multi-buy!

SPECIFICATION TV tuner box,HDTV compatible, picture-in-picture

T27

Highly recommended

SAMSUNG LW-40A1 >$15,999 >1300 369 600 >www.samsung.com.au

A slim,40 inch LCD TV that gives plasma screens a run for their money.The picture quality will leave you breathless ­ as will the hefty price tag.

SPECIFICATION HDTV,Picture-in-picture, integrated TV tuner

T24

DOING NICELY

Panasonic DVD-LV65 >$1,699 Want a sure-fire way to pull chicks? Don't get a dog ­ get this gem from Panasonic. It's guaranteed to elicit oohs and aahs from even the frostiest ice maiden.It's got the stylish looks,but it's also got a superb five-inch widescreen that can bend and swivel with Kama Sutra-like ease. As well as playing DVD and DVD-RAM discs,it'll also play your MP3s in CD-R/RW format. www.panasonic.com.au

SHARP AQUOS LC-37HV4E >$15,399 >1300 13 55 30 >www.sharp.net..au

One of the most advanced LCD sets on the market,a great demonstration of the strengths of LCD technology in a 37 inch package perfect for most homes.

SPECIFICATION HDTV,TV tuner box

T27

FUJITSU P42HHS10 >$14,999 >www.fujitsu-general.com.au

A streamllined 42 inch plasma that delivers an impressive natural picture,this is the best effort yet from Fujitsu.A bit pricy compared to the competition,though.

SPECIFICATION Picture-in-picture,TV tuner box,HDTV

T27

LG MV-30LZ10 >$8,749 >1800 643 156 >www.lge.com.au

Tempting LCD TV with gorgeous styling,good picture quality and decent speakers.A bit smaller than the competition,but with a diminutive price to match.

SPECIFICATION Picture-in-picture,Dolby sound,integrated TV tuner

T25

PHILIPS 32PW9527 >$4,259 >1300 651 993 >www.philips.com.au

The fabulous Pixel Plus feature on this 32 inch CRT produces a truly awesome picture. It's like getting HDTV through the back door.

SPECIFICATION Dolby Pro Logic sound,Pixel Plus,100Hz

T17

BIG BUCKS

Samsung DVD-L100 >$2,999 If size matters (but price doesn't),then go for this Samsung.It boasts the largest portable DVD screen in the world ­ an eye-watering ten inches.This little slab of silver also includes software for viewing digital snaps and playing MP3s.Plus,the rechargeable battery lasts for an incredible six hours,so you could watch the entire Back to the Future trilogy. www.samsung.com.au

Screen size (inches)

And the others...

MAKE/MODEL PRICE Philips 150MT $1,499 Sharp Aquos LC-20E1M $2,849 Sony KZ-42TS1 Plasma WEGA $13,999 Samsung SM241MP $9,999 BenQ H200 $2,999 NEC LCD3000 $9,999 VERDICT T17 T24 T16 T25 T25 T23 COMMENTS Desktop LCD PC monitor that boasts a built-in TV tuner. Excellent medium-sized LCD with stunning,if flawed,design. Well-built plasma TV that's easy to set up.But we've seen better screens. Sexy LCD with built-in tuner.But you're better off using it as a PC monitor. While the screen itself shows promise,the design team needs shooting. Too big for the desktop,too businesslike for the lounge room.

Aspect ratio

TV tuner

15 4:3 20 4:3 42 16:9 24 16:9 20 4:3 30 16:9

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HDTV

Information

T3.27.66_rev_hitachi

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