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Hitachi 50V710

Hitachi 50V710

Hitachi's 50V710, a 50-inch LCD rear-projection TV, is very similar to its predecessor, the 50V500, which won an Editors' Choice award. The 50V710 is set to be released in the third quarter of 2004 at a list price of $3,300. Hitachi's 2004 LCD rear-projection lineup also includes the step-up 50VS810, as well as 42-, 60-, and 70-inch models.

Upside: The main difference between the 50V710 and its predecessor is the addition of a CableCard slot--making the set digital-cable ready--and a built-in HDTV tuner. While not as thin as a flat panel, the 50V710 is relatively light (114 pounds) and slim (16 3/8 inches), like other microdisplay sets. It's also packed with connectivity options, including an HDMI port and two component-video inputs. Conveniences include separate memory slots for day and night viewing, which were a hit on the 50V500.

Downside: Although we have not seen the 50V710 in person, LCD projection TVs typically cannot produce the deep blacks that a CRT or, to a lesser extent, a DLP projection TV can. In addition, this unit costs $300 more than Sony's competing KDF-50WE655.

Outlook: While still not as attractive-looking as the Sony and a little on the expensive side at $3,300, the 50V710 should be a solid successor to the 50V500 as long as it offers similar picture quality.

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