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53FDX01B Review

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Tip by Michael TLV:  "I spent the better part of the afternoon at the local A&B Sound store testing out some theories on the Pioneer SD 532 HD5 unit. I was confirming some glitches that Bill Bressler had run into a few weeks back on the Pro 510 and I encountered the same problems. While the set may have separate modes for 15.75, 31, 33 ... the service cannot be accessed in the 480P mode. You get garbage on the screen just as Bill had encountered.

Convergence is another matter. That can be done specifically for 480P. But no distinct RGB cuts/drv here. I believe that they are linked to the 480i mode like on the Toshibas. A guess on my part. I was not in the mood to do any more grayscale calibration on this unit. It was close enough and my feelings about this same set have been posted before. 

HD material continues to look great, and surprising grayscale consistency through the entire screen surface.

Now onto the disturbing meat of the posting. I got a chance to take some preliminary readings from the new Hitachi 53FDX01B units. These are the new HD sets that come in a 43", 53" and 61" size.

I played around with the 53" and got some initial readings on the set. Precalibration readings in the warm/movie mode gave a reading of 5500K on the 100 ire side and 3200K on the 20 ire side. From a bit on the red side to a whole lot on the red side. Blacks with a shade of red. Middle IRE readings placed the temp at 6400K ... so all in all a good effort.

On the cool setting, the reading was only 7600K not that cool at all. This is a good try for Hitachi and I was relatively impressed. They are getting closer.

The next order of business was to see how the 16:9 mode works on this set. As with my experience with the Sony sets and their 16:9 mode, I was fully expecting an 7700K reading.

But the first reading was 5700K ... hey ... not bad ... literally no deviation from the 4:3 mode.

Now here it gets silly ... thinking they got it right ... I look up and look at the gray bars in the 16:9 mode. Gray bars ...Gray Bars!!!! Gray Bars!!!

What the heck was going on? This wasn't any 16:9 mode at all. The TV just downconverted the 16:9 DVD signal instead of the DVD player. Extra resolution my hind end ...

These sets don't do true 16:9 compression at all. They downconvert ... and the result is gray bars on the top and the bottom ... bright gray bars. I might have been high on these sets for 16:9 but I take it back.

Icannot see how anyone would want to watch programming in this mode ... the bars are so bright. Yeah, it beats burn in ... man oh man. The sets are off my list. 

The tragedy of it all is that the Hitachi product reps trained all the sales staff to believe that this was a true 16:9 mode to take advantage of the extra DVD resolution. How can sales staff be expected to pass along information when the factory reps are feeding them propaganda. 

Way to go Hitachi.