If you've decided to buy a flat-panel television, one question is going to spring to mind almost immediately: LCD or plasma? Neither is a cheap option compared to CRT sets but the image quality of a flat-panel display is much higher. The thin design of LCD and plasma screens also allows you to mount the TV on a wall - provided you have decent support in place.
Hitachi's simple yet elegant 71cm (28-inch) LCD TV would be a welcome addition to most living rooms. Its swivelling base allows you to rotate the screen 30 degrees to the left or right - a practical design feature to move the screen without lifting the whole TV. The base also has a hinge that allows the screen to tip back five degrees or slightly forward three degrees to adjust the viewing angle.
With stand and speakers attached the unit weighs in at 21.9kg and measures 854 x 517 x 277mm. The display has a black border that is surrounded by a thin silver bezel with left and right silver speakers that are detachable. For audio, the unit supports TruBass by SRS, and 12 watts of amplification for the external speakers.
The power button is located on top of the unit alongside menu, source, channel and volume buttons. All input jacks are at the rear of the LCD and there is no shortage of them to connect all your devices.
The ample number of inputs include: four composite connections (three RCA and one SCART with RCA adaptor), two S-Video inputs, and two for component video. There is an RF input for an aerial, DVI for digital connections, and a 15-pin analog PC connector.
The large silver remote control allows for direct access to all of the inputs and includes buttons for a DVD player. Even though the remote control is intuitively laid out, it would have been nice to see backlights for ease of use in the dark. The on-screen menu provides many customisation elements and navigating through the text-based system is simple.
Televisions quite often have the most obscure product codes, this Hitachi LCD TV we are looking at goes by the name of 28LD5000TA. Its 71cm (28-inch) diagonal screen has a display resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, a wide screen aspect ratio of 15:9 and suitable for displaying high-definition images when connected to an HD STB.
The unit supports two preset picture modes (dynamic and normal), four colour temperature presets (cool, normal, warm, black and white), and an adjustable backlight to tweak brightness visibility.
Multi-picture modes include Picture-in-picture, side-by-side split of two inputs, or a four input view with one large picture on the left and three video thumbnails down the right.
Plasma sets are often considered to have superior image quality to that of LCD TVs, mostly due to the fact that LCDs can't display black as well. We found that on the 28-inch Hitachi unit we looked at, blacks look more like dark grey by default but switching on the Black Enhancement feature in the menu fixed the image up considerably.
HDTV tested superbly on the Hitachi unit with a Hydef STB. The TV supports a range of component video signals: 480i/p, 576i/p, 720p and 1080i.
Hitachi claims a viewing angle of up to 176 degrees and we saw little degradation in colour or brightness from a side perspective.
Overall we were very happy with the performance of this Hitachi LCD TV. It produced sharp picture that were rich with colour. Hitachi provides a one-year warranty with the unit.
If you're in the market for a new set, check out CNET.com.au's TV buying guide.