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Hitachi P60X901 Plasma HDTV Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
3.5 Stars
Value
3.5 Stars
Overall
3.5 Stars

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Introduction
The P60X901 is part of Hitachi's high-end Director's Series line of products; as such, it offers a thorough features list and connection panel. This 60-inch plasma TV has a 1920 x 1080 resolution. However, as opposed to a true 1080p TV, this model uses a special panel technology called Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (ALiS) in which only alternate rows are illuminated at the same time. Consequently, the TV performs more like a 1080i panel. The TV uses Hitachi's Reel60 technology to reduce the appearance of judder and render smoother movement with film sources. The connection panel includes three HDMI and two component video inputs (but no PC input), plus a CableCARD slot and a single RF input to access the internal NTSC, ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. One HDMI input is located on the front panel for easy access. Picture-in-picture functionality is available, as is the TV Guide on Screen program guide. Both RS-232 and IR blasters allow for integration into an advanced control system, while a front-panel SD card reader allows you to view JPEG photos.


Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
• Explore Blu-ray player options in the Blu-ray Player Review section.

The P60X901 offers a very nice selection of picture adjustments, beginning with three picture modes and four color-temperature choices. Advanced options include white-balance controls, two color spaces, advanced color management, color decoding and the option to enable Reel60 smooth-motion technology or use traditional 3:2 processing with film-based sources. The TV includes a timer function that you can program to automatically switch between daytime and nighttime picture settings. Hitachi includes several features to prevent or counteract image retention, a common plasma concern, and there are six SD and four HD aspect-ratio options, including a mode to view 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.

A slim speaker bar runs along the P60X901's bottom panel. The audio set-up menu also boasts a nice amount of controls, including treble, bass and balance adjustment, plus a generic surround mode and bass boost function. Perfect Volume minimizes the level disparities between sources, and you can configure the TV's speakers to serve as the center channel in your home theater system. Dynamic range compression and lip sync are also available. Finally, Hitachi includes two remote controls: a simple model for everyday use and a more thorough model for complete control.

High Points
The P60X901 renders attractive HD images, with natural color and good detail. It handles the up-conversion of SD sources particularly well.
Reel60 technology cuts down on judder to produce smoother movement with film sources.
The menu includes lots of options to fine-tune image quality.
Plasma TVs do not suffer from motion blur or viewing angle issues.

Low Points
The P60X901 isn't a true progressive 1080p display. Images aren't as razor-sharp and finely detailed as you can find elsewhere.
The TV's black level is not as good as other plasmas on the market, so images lack some depth and richness in a dark room.
Plasmas generally aren't as bright as LCDs and therefore are not the best choice for a really bright room.

Conclusion
Only a handful of plasma HDTVs offer a smooth-motion mode to cut down on film judder, and this Hitachi is one of them. Its connections and features are excellent, but its performance, while solid, doesn't quite compare with the best flat panels on the market, which offer true 1080p output and better blacks. The good news is, because the P60X901 is now an archived product for Hitachi, you can find this 60-inch panel for a much more reasonable asking price than its original $7,995 MSRP.
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