Hitachi UT37X902 Review Saskatoon SK
Hitachi UT37X902 Review
November 4, 2008 By Adrienne Maxwell
Flatter Than Flat
How much does a TV’s aesthetic affect your buying decision? Consumers have proclaimed their preference for flat-panel TVs over bulkier designs, but just how flat does the panel need to be?
Hitachi’s UltraThin 1.5 Series of LCDs measure just (surprise, surprise) 1.5 inches deep.
Does its performance earn its step up in price, or is the UT37X902’s beauty only skin deep?
These panels certainly have sex appeal, with their svelte form, black sapphire finish, and rounded base; but that beauty comes at a premium price. The UT37X902 is a 37-inch, 1080p monitor that costs $2,299.
Attaining that slim depth required Hitachi to make some sacrifices. The connection panel has just two video inputs—HDMI and RGB—plus an audio mini-jack and RS-232. The UT37X902 is an HDTV monitor, meaning it lacks internal tuners and requires a cable/satellite box or Hitachi’s optional Audio Video Center ($299).
This add-on tuner module includes ATSC/NTSC/Clear-QAM tuners and offers three HDMI and two component video inputs. The monitor does have a speaker panel that sounds surprisingly full for such a thin design.
The UT37X902 has a 120Hz frame rate and features Hitachi’s Reel120 technology, designed to reduce judder in film sources. The monitor’s basic 120Hz implementation uses black-frame insertion to reduce motion blur, and I found it to be very successful with faster-moving sports and text crawls.
You can choose to enable Reel120, which interpolates new frames to get rid of the judder or stuttering movement created when a 24-frames-per-second film source is converted for output on a standard 60Hz display. With various DVD and Blu-ray movies, Reel120’s performance proved inconsistent.
When it works well, it produces clean, super-smooth motion, but sometimes it slips out of sync or seems to do nothing at all. In the case of one Blu-ray, Mission Impossible III, Reel120 introduced blatant image smearing. Frankly, I’m bothered more by artifacts than film judder, so I preferred to leave Reel120 off.
This panel also uses Hitachi’s In-Plane Switching (IPS) Pro technology, which works differently than the type of liquid crystal technology most other companies use (called twisted nematic, for the tech savvy).
While both have their strengths and weaknesses, IPS's main strength is a better viewing angle than you'd expect with an LCD. Indeed, the UT37X902 retains excellent image saturation and color fidelity at much wider viewing angles than most LCDs, at least from side to side. The display’s vertical viewing angle is more limited, so you don’t want to mount this panel too high up on the wall.
With only minor tweaks to the basic picture controls, this Hitachi can produce a very attractive picture with HDTV and Blu-ray sources. In the Cinema picture mode and Warm color temperature, both colors and skin tones look pleasingly natural.
Greens don’t have that oversaturated, neon quality you often see i...