Hitachi has long been a respected member of the plasma posse, so it was pretty wild to learn today that it was adding some high-quality Korean-built LCDs to its lineup. (Does this mean the end of plasma is nigh?) All told, Hitachi added three new series of flat panels. The funny thing was, the LCDs and plasmas were mixed together, arranged not by screen type, but by distinct features.
Here are all of the new 1080p flat-panel TVs, with pricing and features:The S601 Series 50-inch Plasma S-Series P50S601 - $US3499 - July 47-inch LCD S-Series L47S601 - $US2999 - September 42-inch LCD S-Series L42S601 - $US2299 - September Features: 1920x1080 resolution; a motorised "Power Swivel" stand; anti-reflective screen
The V651 Series 47-inch LCD V-Series L47V651 - $US3199 - September 42-inch LCD V-Series L42V651 - $US2499 - September Features: Same as S601 plus metallic gloss black design; SD card reader; split screen; glow-key remote
The V701 Series 50-inch Plasma V-Series P50V701 - $US3999 - August Features: On top of the other features, this has something Hitachi developed called "Reel60". When you put movie content, filmed at 24 frames per second onto TV, which runs at 30 frames per second, you can get a weird, jerky picture. Previously, TVs used something called 3:2 pulldown, which would repeat certain frames. Now, with powerful video processors, TVs can do more. Reel60 interpolates between frames, creating 60 distinct frames out of a film's original 24, for smoother action. (While this particular process is unique to Hitachi, many other TV makers, including Sony, Philips and Mitsubishi, are promoting their own solutions to the problem.) The V701 is also CableCard compatible, with TV Guide On-Screen.
The X901 Director's Series 50-inch Plasma X-Series P50X901 - $US4299 - August 60-inch Plasma X-Series P60X901 - $US7999 - August Features: The top end has Reel60 and the rest of the V701 feature set, plus some crazy high-end requirements, such as "Digital Colour Management" and "Custom White Balance". The P60X901 is Hitachi's first and only 60-inch 1080p plasma.
Hitachi is currently selling plasmas in two other less expensive groups, the H401 and T501 series, introduced this spring.
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