Hitachi P50T501 Plasma HDTV Reviewed

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The P50T501 is a 50-inch plasma TV with a 1280 x 1080 resolution. 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 connection panel includes three HDMI and two component video inputs, as well as a single RF input to access the internal ATSC, NTSC, and ClearQAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept 1080p/60 but not 1080p/24, and one is located on the front panel for easy access. There's no PC input, but an RS-232 port is available to integrate the TV into an advanced control system. An SD card reader on the front panel 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 menu offers a solid amount of picture adjustments, including three picture modes and three color-temperature options, but it lacks advanced white-balance and gamma controls. The menu includes a timer that allows the TV to automatically switch between day and night picture settings. Six aspect-ratio options are available, including the ability to view 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan, and automatic aspect-ratio detection is offered. The P50T501 features a split-screen viewing mode, and Hitachi includes features to prevent or counteract short-term image retention, a common plasma concern.

On the audio side, adjustments include bass, treble, and balance controls, as well as a generic surround mode, a Bass Boost function, and a Perfect Volume setting to even out volume level between channels and inputs.

High Points
• The P50T501 has pleasingly natural color and a solid amount of detail with both high- and standard-definition sources.
• Since this is a plasma TV, it does not suffer from motion blur or viewing-angle limitations.

Low Points
• Its black level isn't as good as the better plasmas on the market, so images don't look as rich in a darkened room.
• The P50T501 does not have a 1920 x 1080 resolution, so the picture isn't as sharp as you'll see on other HD panels.
• Plasma TVs generally aren't as bright as LCDs and therefore are not the best choice for a really bright viewing environment.

Conclusion
The P50T501 offers generally solid performance and a healthy connection panel. The ALiS design costs a bit less than a true 1080p panel, but you can find better all-around performance if you're willing to go with 720p or move up a little in price for true 1080p.


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HTR Product Rating for Hitachi P50T501 Plasma HDTV

Criteria Rating

Performance

3.5

Value

3.5

Overall

3.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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