Hitachi 43FDX01 B 43-Inch Rear-Projection HD Monitor Page 2

This brings me back to the topic of which aspect ratio works in the year 2001. As my colleagues have pointed out, if you have a widescreen display and the majority of the programming you watch is 4:3, then there is the possibility that you could burn the 4:3 raster into the image. On the other hand, if you have a 4:3 display and primarily view 4:3 programming over the next two to three years, this will save the burn factor. However, the widescreen will have the letterbox effect. In this case, the 43FDX01 B puts the gray into the bands to minimize the burn for 4:3 viewing. Confused? I now tend to side with a 4:3 screen, as in this case, for the short term, until there is more programming in high-definition. You can select aspect ratios for whatever format you're watching. This is great for many different formats—from DVD to SDTV to HDTV.

You can operate the remote control with one hand, and the backlit function buttons are bright but not annoying.
I must say that the remote control is good. The backlit function buttons are bright enough to use in a darkened room, but not annoying. This is a one-hand stick controller. It makes setting up the options really easy. I like the feature of having the function button blink when chosen to verify what you are adjusting. Unfortunately, the channel-changing has a 1.5-second delay. I found channel-surfing very frustrating as I waited for the analog signal to lock up. The preset modes set the audio and video levels to a preset from the factory for different types of programming. The presets are programmable from the remote. A good feature is the ability to control other manufacturers' equipment with this remote. This certainly minimizes the need for multiple remotes on your table.

The picture, although pleasing, had a very definite hot spot. Setting the monitor at the prescribed height and distance, I found the image to be good. I wouldn't want to watch a movie off-axis, though; that would drive me crazy. There was some definite color splotching (random patterns of colors around the screen), also known as white-field uniformity. Overall, the picture seemed to have random noise in it. When viewing high-def images, the digital artifacts were enhanced in the dark areas, which is very distracting in what is supposed to be a high-resolution picture. The user has access to horizontal and vertical course adjustments, but the convergence control is limited. Another downside: I didn't notice any memory for the two format display settings between high- and standard-definition.

Hitachi includes a feature called Ultra AI (artificial intelligence) to monitor several adjustments automatically. The AI will adjust contrast depending on room lighting (with a sensor on the front panel), adjust color levels to maintain fleshtones, and compensate for weak or strong TV signals. This feature can be defeated in the setting you're using. However, the scan-velocity modulation feature cannot be defeated in the menu. The SVM does cause some noise in the blacks, which can be distracting in darker scenes.

Audio settings are standard for this type of unit. It has the basic tone controls, stereo/mono choices, and MTS (multichannel TV sound), with auto switching depending on what is being broadcast. It also has an Auto Noise Cancel feature that mutes noisy audio for a weak station. Their Perfect Volume mode adjusts the volume so that each channel has the same average volume level.

The theater modes (part of Hitachi's preset picture modes for TV, movies, music, and sports) set the picture for what Hitachi feels is good for that program. Thank goodness for the override feature, which lets you customize each setting. You can set the video, audio, and feature settings to your preferences for each of the four choices. The set includes SRS technology to give 3-D sound from two speakers, either internally or externally.

Overall, I like the concept of a tabletop (or bookcase) projection HDTV display. However, I don't feel that the Hitachi 43FDX01 B's picture quality for HDTV is up to par for the best viewing experience. The DVD and SDTV picture and sound are average for this type of rear-projection display. Hitachi has several models in this range, and I would recommend, if possible, that you look at all of them side by side at your local electronics megastore.

• Full-time progressive- (480p); two HDTV source inputs
• Onscreen setup diagrams and help menus

43FDX01 B 43-Inch Rear-Projection HD Monitor
Dealer Locator Code HIT