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Hitachi L37X01 37in LCD TV - Hitachi L37X01
Picture Master Full HD works on improving three main elements of the picture: colour, contrast and clarity. Techniques employed include analysing images frame by frame to determine the best contrast setting; increasing colour saturations in potentially bleached areas to prevent the picture ‘whiting out'; decreasing colour saturations in dark areas to prevent blacks becoming over-dominant; and applying face and text recognition software to make both types of image content look more defined and crisp.
Movie FRC, meanwhile, adds extra frames to the image to avoid LCD's common problems with motion judder and the loss of resolution over moving objects. It differs from straight ‘3:2' pulldown techniques and the like, because it doesn't just repeat a particular frame one or more times, but actually creates a whole new ‘mid-point' image based on the data contained in the real frames either side of it.
Heading into the TV's onscreen menus uncovers all manner of fine-tuning options. Among the more unusual tweaks available are separate chroma, MPEG and luminance noise reduction tools; the facility to turn the dynamic backlight system on or off; manual backlight adjustment; and even options for adjusting the line and colour transients, so as to improve line and colour sharpness.
Further colour management is possible with adjustments to the red, green, blue, yellow, cyan and magenta elements of the picture, while for audio you've got access to SRS soundstage processing, TruBass for boosting the low frequencies, BBE processing for a more natural tone, and a Focus mode for enhancing dialogue clarity.
One final key picture option available that we've deliberately left until the very end is Smooth Movie. This applies slightly different versions of the Movie FRC system to the picture - and the way you use it can have far-reaching consequences for the quality of the L37X01's pictures.
While watching a 1080i broadcast picture, for instance - Steven Spielberg's Munich, on Sky HD, as it happens - the ‘Smooth 1' option certainly smoothed motion out, but also caused fairly regular occurrences of processing ‘glitching'. Yet a different Smooth Movie mode called ‘Original' left things looking a bit stuttery. But the Smooth 2 mode seemed to do the trick, making everything silky smooth without causing very many overt moments of processing distraction.
While watching 1080p/24fps feeds, however, I generally found the Original or Smooth 1 option to work the best, and personally found the positive benefits of the extra motion clarity outweighing the occasional glitch. That said, if you really can't see past the glitches, Hitachi has included the facility to turn the Smooth Movie feature off entirely - and even if you take this option motion doesn't look too messy.