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Hitachi PJ-TX100 review: Hitachi PJ-TX100

A home-theater powerhouse that projects premium performance at a medium price.

Phil Ryan
4 min read
Hitachi PJ-TX100
Right out of the box, Hitachi's PJ-TX100 delivers a picture that puts many LCD projectors to shame. And with proper calibration, it can get even better. At $3,500 list, this projector won't outperform models costing five times as much, but it's a big step up from less-expensive projectors such as the Sony VPL-HS3. The PJ-TX100 competes with models such as the Panasonic PT-AE7000U, the Sanyo PLV-Z3, and the Sony VPL-HS51.

The PJ-TX100's attractive curved exterior is a far cry from the squared-off boxes found on cheapo projectors. It measures 13.4 by 5.6 by 11.1 inches (WHD) and weighs 9 pounds. Power, menu, and input buttons, along with a four-way rocking controller for menu controls are on the top of the box. The small remote includes dedicated buttons for each input, as well as brightness, contrast, and color. Most of the buttons are backlit.


Hitachi PJ-TX100

The Good

Solid black-level performance for an LCD projector; horizontal and vertical lens shift; DVI and HDMI inputs.

The Bad

Limited input flexibility; somewhat expensive compared to other 720p projectors.

The Bottom Line

With lens shift, high resolution, and plenty of adjustments, this LCD projector stands out from the midpriced pack.

With a native resolution of 1,280x720, the PJ-TX100 has enough pixels to display full 720p HDTV; everything else, including 1080i HDTV, is converted to fit those pixels. Keystoning is vertical only, so placement must be more precise than if horizontal keystoning were also onboard. Happily, you may not have to use keystoning at all since the projector includes both horizontal and vertical lens shift. This allows you to place it higher, lower, or to either side relative to the screen and not experience the detail loss that comes with digital keystoning.

Five picture presets are available, in addition to four user-defined modes. The Normal setting's color temperature is closest to the 6,500K standard. Optical Black adjustment--Opt Black on the remote--actually controls the iris. Setting it to Normal or Deep Black will result in deeper blacks at the expense of light output. There's also an eight-step Gamma adjustment to further fine-tune the grayscale. The Progressive setting activates the 2:3 pull-down circuit, and aspect-ratio controls include 16:9, 4:3, Wide (to expand 4:3 sources so that they fill the screen), Normal (which keeps the input signal's aspect ratio intact), and Movie-1 and Movie-2 zoom modes.

Connectivity options include one component video, one S-Video, one composite video, one computer RGB, one RS-232 control port, and one DVI with HDCP.

We tested the PJ-TX100 in concert with a 96-inch-diagonal Da-Lite High Contrast Da-Mat screen specifically designed for use with LCD and DLP projectors. Right out of the box, color temperature was impressive compared to that of many LCD projectors we've seen. But it was still a bit blue and varied substantially from 6,500K through the middle of the grayscale. After calibration, it became a lot more accurate and consistent throughout the grayscale. The color decoder showed minor red push. Primary colors of red and green looked more accurate than on many LCDs but still slightly orange and lime.

Black-level performance was one of this projector's best points, with very little detail lost in dark portions of the image, even when faced with difficult material such as the Alien DVD. The darkened hallways in chapter 2, "Autopilot," neither plunged into inky muddled blobs nor turned them gray or overly bright. Sure, blacks were not as deep as we've seen on some DLP projectors, but they were very good for an LCD. Thankfully, false contouring was nearly absent.

The annoying screen-door effect that afflicts so many LCD projectors was not a problem to our eyes when viewing the PJ-TX100's image from a distance of two screen heights or more. Moving closer, we did begin to detect the faint grid of pixel structure, especially in brighter areas, but most people won't sit that close.

As we expected from a high-resolution projector, high-definition content from HD Net over our DirecTV feed looked wonderful. Clint Eastwood's fabulous biopic of Charlie Parker, Bird, looked great, with rich colors and full shadows. Even Odyssey 5 on HDNet was somehow enchanting to watch with the sound turned off.

Even if you don't want to spring for a calibration, the PJ-TX100 is a solid choice for a moderately priced home theater. DLP projectors with this kind of resolution cost much more, and the Hitachi's accurate initial settings and range of adjustments differentiate it from competing LCD-based models. If you don't need all those settings or the lens shift, then Panasonic's PT-AE500U may be a better bargain.

Before color temp (30/80) 6,575/6,925K Good
After color temp (30/80) 6,550/6,540K Good
Before grayscale variation ± 495K Good
After grayscale variation ± 187K Average
Overscan 0.25% Good
Color decoder error: red 5% Good
Color decoder error: green 0% Good
DC restoration Gray pattern stable Average
2:3 pull-down, 24fps Y Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Y Good

Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.

Hitachi PJ-TX100

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 6