Things proved just as impressive over a component video connection. I connected up an Xbox 360 and set the output to 1080p – again the Fujitsu had no problems dealing with the signal. Firing up Gears of War was a revelation – with a game that’s as dark and gloomy as Gears, the superb contrast and black level performance on this screen really showed off Epic’s masterpiece.
So, the P42XHA58 excels in the area of picture quality? Well not quite, because truly stunning as its high definition performance is, things aren’t nearly so good when you feed it a less than perfect standard definition source. It seems like all of that awesome picture processing that’s going on with HD material just goes to sleep when you throw standard def content into the mix. With a poor SD signal, the P42XHA58 produces pictures that suffer from compression artefacts and generally look dirty and grainy, which is a shame considering this screen’s HD performance.
Of course it could be argued that this type of screen is likely to be coupled with the best quality high definition sources, and to be fair, that’s a fairly sound assumption. In fact, I’d hope that whoever specs this screen as part of their home cinema installation also specs a high-end universal remote, because the remote control that Fujitsu supplies with this screen is truly horrible!
Another factor that places the P42XHA58 firmly in the serious home cinema install category is the price. The best price I could track down for this screen is £2,399, which is a lot to pay for a 42in plasma TV, let alone one that doesn’t feature a tuner or any speakers! In fact, you can pick up a the Pioneer PDP-507XD 50in plasma for under £1,800 now - and you’re getting a digital tuner and speakers thrown into the bargain!
It’s a shame that Fujitsu has chosen to price the P42XHA58 so high, because if you’re looking for a top quality high definition performer for your AV install, this really is a superb screen. If however, like most consumers, you’re looking for a good all round TV that can handle standard definition as well as HD, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. Especially if you don’t use an external tuner and speaker setup already.