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Monday, June 12, 2006

Hitachi 42PD7200

Hitachi and Fujitsu share a plasma manufacturing plant in Japan, so it’s no surprise to find a few similarities between their respective products. Like the Fujitsu P42HTA51, Hitachi’s latest 42-incher is based around
a 1024 x 1024-pixel ALiS plasma screen. And, like the Fujitsu screen, the 42PD7200 looks its best when it’s displaying a 1080i high-def image. With a 720p signal, we noticed a slight increase in video noise, presumably due to the additional image processing required to display a 720-line progressive signal on a 1024- line interlaced screen.

That’s not to say that the 42PD7200’s highdef performance is disappointing. The set’s contrast levels, for example, are excellent, particularly with high-definition material and upscaled DVD images over HDMI. We were less impressed with the set’s abilities over standard-def RGB Scart, as our test DVD showed some shimmering edges and a little noise in the image.

There are plenty of picture adjustment options in the settings menu to play with. As well as all the usual contrast, brightness and colour options, the 42PD7200 offers Black Enhancement and some advanced colour temperature adjustments. Several special noise reduction and sharpness options are also available, although we found that the set invariably worked better with these switched off.

The 42PD7200 isn’t short of input options, either. As well as three bi-directional (input and output) Scart sockets, the set features component, VGA and DVI inputs as well as HDMI. A bevy of composite, S-video and audio inputs are also available via a small side-mounted add-on. In terms of design, the 42PD7200 is plain yet handsome. It comes with detachable speakers and, as an interesting bonus, a motorised swivelling stand. Very useful is the fact that the 42PD7200 remembers your picture settings and preferences for each input separately. Equally practical is the fact that the remote provides separate buttons for eachinput, making it much easier to switch from, say, a satellite box to a DVD player.

It’s a shame that the 42PD7200 features an analogue-only tuner, but given the set’s relatively low price, adding a Freeview box to your setup if you don’t already have one probably wouldn’t break the bank

[via: activehome]

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