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You’ve probably got a vague sensation already that something about this review just doesn’t quite add up. But if you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, let us help you: it’s the appearance of a £900 price tag alongside a TV model number that appears to describe a 37in LCD. Surely 32in not 37in is the biggest LCD TV you can get for this far south of a grand, right? Wrong.
For Hitachi really is officially selling the 37in 37LD8600 - through high street giant Comet, no less - for just £900. Which is, of course, absolutely fine by us. Especially if the wallet-bating price tag happens to be joined by something approaching a decent performance level.
First impressions certainly set the right tone. For where more typical budget brands like Goodmans and Bush would probably go for something blandly grey or depressingly plasticky – or both – the 37LD8600 feels robust, and looks more than a little attractive with its black bezel standing proud from a tastefully contrasting grey speaker section along the bottom.
There are definite signs of the 37LD8600’s essentially budget nature when it comes to connectivity, though. The toughest limitation to accept is the inclusion of just a single HDMI input – hardly ideal in these times of HDMI-bearing Blu-ray/HD-DVD players, Sky HD receivers and, soon, PS3 consoles. Many people reading this review will have to consider factoring an HDMI switcher into the 37LD8600 deal – and you’ll do well to find one of these for under £100.
We’re also a touch disappointed – if hardly surprised – to find only two Scarts and no CI slot, with the latter absence instantly revealing that the 37LD8600 lacks a digital tuner.
It’s not unremittingly bad news on the connections front, though, as a component video input provides Xbox 360 HD compatibility. Plus there’s a dedicated D-Sub interface for connecting a PC. Neither of these things can be taken as givens at this sort of price level.