Hitachi’s latest TV range is nothing if not diverse. The company has no qualms about offering everything from the most basic and cheap of entry-level LCD models – all the way down to 15in – to all-singing, all-dancing, king-sized home cinema centrepieces like the 55in plasma 55PD9700.
The 32LD9700 we’re looking at today sits at the top end of Hitachi’s LCD range – a fact reflected right away in its pleasingly stark, strikingly well-constructed bodywork.
It’s also got the sort of connectivity that befits a flagship range, with highlights including twin HDMI support, a trio of Scarts, a PC port, component video input, plus some handy ‘multimedia’ provision in the form of a USB port for attaching digital cameras and an SD card slot for direct playback of digital photocards.
Probably the thing that most defines the 32LD9700’s flagship status, though, is its employment of Hitachi’s Picture Master image processing. On paper this doesn’t sound anything particularly special; yes, it improves clarity, contrast, perceived image depth, and colour toning. But then so do most systems from rival manufacturers. What sets Picture Master apart is the simple quality of what it does; some processing systems are simply better than others, even if they’re all trying to do the same thing, and from what we’ve seen before, Picture Master is among the best out there.
There’s an added element of interest with the latest generation of Picture Master too, in that it has apparently been specially tweaked to work in better harmony with the new ‘IPS Alpha’ LCD panel design Hitachi has used for the 32LD9700, identifying and analysing constituent colour elements with extra accuracy.
The introduction of the IPS Alpha panel is potentially very significant, since Hitachi claims it makes significant strides in tackling a trio of LCD’s traditional weaknesses: motion smearing, contrast range, and viewing angles.