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If you watch mostly HD content, and slim design or your space for placement is tight, this made be the flat panel for you.


Hitachi UT42X902 UltraThin 1.5 LCD HD Monitor Reviewed
By: Adrienne Maxwell - Reviewer's System
Category: Equipment Reviews, LCD HDTV Reviews, Video Reviews
Resources & Links: 1080p Video Resolution , 120 Hertz Refresh Rate , Hitachi , LCD Versus Plasma , View Adrienne Maxwell's Reviews


October 25, 2008

Hitachi first announced its UltraThin 1.5 LCD line at CES 2008 and has slowly rolled out models ever since. The "1.5" stands for the displays' 1.5-inch depth, which makes these models some of the thinnest panels you can find (JVC also has an ultra-slim line, and several other manufacturers have demoed prototypes). The thin form is complemented by an attractive black sapphire finish and a round base, plus a nigh-invisible speaker bar along the bottom of the panel. The 42-inch UT42X902 also earns Hitachi's Director's Series tag, which means it contains higher-end video technologies. This 1080p display uses 120Hz to reduce motion blur and includes a new feature called Reel120 to specifically address the issue of judder in film sources. This LCD also uses In-Plane Switching Pro technology to improve viewing angle, another common LCD issue.

One way in which Hitachi is able to achieve such a slim depth is by removing the TV tuners. The UT42X902 is technically an HD monitor, so it does not have internal ATSC, NTSC, or Clear-QAM tuners, which means you need to mate it with a cable or satellite set-top box to receive TV programming. You could also purchase Hitachi's optional $299 Audio Video Center, which includes the ATSC, NTSC, and Clear-QAM tuners, plus three HDMI and two component video inputs. The UT42X902 itself has a very limited connection panel -- just a single HDMI input that accepts 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, a PC input with an audio mini-jack, and an RS-232 port for integration into an advanced control system.

The UT42X902's setup menu has a solid but not extensive amount of picture adjustments. The essentials are here: three picture modes (dynamic, natural, and cinema), three color-temperature options (cool, normal, and warm), an adjustable backlight, a basic 3D color-management setting, and three types of noise reduction (digital, MPEG, and cross color). White balance controls are directly accessible through the setup menu, so you can fine-tune the color temperature. The menu also includes multiple film-mode options: The original mode performs basic 3:2 pulldown detection, while the Smooth 1 and Smooth 2 modes activate the Reel120 technology to provide varying degrees of frame interpolation to reduce film judder. There are six aspect-ratio options for SD content but only three for HD content; at least one of the three is the option to show 1080i/1080p programs with no overscan.

On the audio end, the setup menu includes treble, bass, and balance controls, plus a basic surround mode, Bass Boost to enhance bass, Clear Voice to enhance treble, and Perfect Volume to even out volume discrepancies.

High Points
• The UT42X902 offers natural color and excellent detail with HD sources, and its good light output makes it a nice choice for a brighter viewing environment.
• The use of 120Hz technology successfully cuts down on motion blur.
• The IPS-Pro LCD panel offers a wider side-to-side viewing angle than you get from many LCDs. Its vertical viewing angle is a bit more limited, so you should place it near eye level.
• It has a sleek, thin form factor.

Low Points
• The UT42X902's black level is only average, so the image isn't as rich and inviting as the best panels in a darkened room.
• While the UT42X902 can render a very pleasing HD image, it offers only average performance with SD content.
• The panel has limited connectivity and no special ports for viewing digital media. You'll probably want to use an external video switcher or video processor or purchase the optional Audio Video Center.
• The Reel120 de-judder technology is inconsistent and can introduce artifacts.

Conclusion
The UT42X902 is a good everyday display for someone who watches a lot of HD content. Its wider viewing angle also makes it a good fit for a larger room with multiple seating areas. This is certainly an attractively designed panel that will turn heads because of its slender profile, but you can get more screen size and more features for less money elsewhere.
Keywords
Hitachi UT42X902, UltraThin 1.5, 1.5-inch depth, 42-inch LCD, 1080p, 120Hz, Reel120, Director's Series, In-Plane Switching, IPS Pro

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