Hi res: Hitachi UT TV

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 May, 2008, 12:00am

If you're looking for a really thin LCD TV look no further than the Hitachi UT (Ultra Thin) Full HD flat-panel LCD television. The company's claim of making the world's thinnest - at 35mm - puts it in the premier league of flat-panel TVs. Not only are they thin, they're light (the 81cm model weighs 10.9kg) and astoundingly aesthetic. Considering first-generation flat-panel LCD televisions measured at least three times as much, this is a revolution in style and technology.

The 107cm and 94cm screen size models feature IPS 1920 x 1080 Full HD and are available in black only, while the 81cm model features 1366 x 788 pixels and is only HD ready. The latter is available in black and white.

Look at the back and you'll see only a flat, shiny black plastic panel without any evidence of sockets, vent holes or fans for heat dissipation. Heat is diffused from the bottom of the TV to the top. Most TVs generate a temperature of about 53 degrees Celsius and will leave heat marks on the wall, but Hitachi's unique cooling system allows more possibilities for placing this television anywhere, be it on the living room wall or on the bedroom ceiling. The wall mount uses 7cm of space to hang the TV compared with 17cm for conventional flat-screen TVs.

So how can Hitachi fit the LCD panel, the TV tuner and all the electronics needed into such a small space? The entire UT series uses a new External Electrode Fluorescent Lamp (EEFL) backlighting technology, enabling Hitachi to make a thin TV. The lighting system is also said to deliver greater power efficiency, 'better and more flexible colour accuracy' and a longer lifespan.

Hitachi has also put the TV tuner in a separate box, which can be used to play and record video on iVDR cartridge. You can also plug this external TV tuner (which Hitachi calls the Media Station) into one or more TVs, enabling it to receive traditional analogue signal as well as HD and SD digital-TV signals from the terrestrial stations with its built-in HD digital TV signal decoder.

Other technologies in the Ultra-Thin LCDs include the 'anti-judder' technique in the 94cm and 107cm models.

Movies are made up of a series of still images. Hollywood movies flash 24 images a second. However, Hollywood's 24 frames per second do not match television systems, which show 60 frames each second.

A conversion technique called '3:2 pull-down correction' is used to make the 24 frames of film fit the television's faster 60 frames. As this conversion is done, the viewer often sees a jerky, troublesome visual effect called 'judder'. The image appears jittery or stuttering and this is most noticeable when the picture pans or makes sweeping, side-to-side movements.

The Ultra Thin sets are said to eliminate the jerky 'judder' motion. They do this by creating interpolated frames based on the original film images. This smooths the movement and correctly matches the motion of the original movie.

Also included is Picture Master Full HD, which is Hitachi's enhanced high-resolution image-processing engine that analyses and processes images quickly and improves the picture using a variety of techniques including: advanced dynamic contrast, which analyses every picture on the screen and optimises its contrast frame by frame; 3D colour management, which adjusts the three constituent components of colour (hue, saturation, and brightness) pixel by pixel using 3D data; and an advanced dynamic enhancer, which expresses images that are simultaneously detailed and dynamic, and controls detail gradation and sharp edges.

Audio is provided by a 6-watt plus 6-watt digital amplifier and speakers at the left and right sides of the bottom of the monitor, creating a new 'box-type' design that fits with the thinness of the panel.

The 81cm costs HK$14,300, the 94cm is HK$19,900 and topping the list is the 94cm model for HK$25,900.

There are plans in 2009 for a 19mm LCD flat-panel television. At this rate, we could all be rolling up our TVs soon. Recommended.