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As briefly as possible, ALiS panels share an electrode strip between two lines of cells rather than having one electrode strip for each pixel line. The shared electrode alternates between its two cell lines thousands of times per second so that only half the panel's pixel lines are turned on at any given instant. Less screen "real estate" is thus taken up by electrode strips leaving enough space to illuminate a greater phosphor area, resulting in the 1080-line claims.
Clever though ALIS sounds on paper, though, one or two recent ALIS screens from Fujitsu (which co-developed the technology with Hitachi) have started to raise concerns over the technology’s performance credentials – and these concerns are rather borne out by the P50T01U’s pictures, as we’ll see later.
As if all the features covered so far weren’t enough, the P50T01U also carries options aplenty in its onscreen menus, right down to such esoteric stuff as line and colour transient improvement on/off, and Comb Filter on/off.
It’s actually questionable whether all of the options provided really need putting in the user domain rather than just being handled automatically by the TV, but we guess we’re ultimately all in favour of choice provided you’re technically aware enough to handle what’s on offer.
The P50T01U has one more important string to its bow: Picture Master HD processing. This proprietary Hitachi system has been specially tweaked to handle HD sources better in their native form, enhancing fine detailing and colours while reducing noise levels. The version in this plasma set additionally includes a new 3D colour management application designed to make colour blends and skin tones more believable.
And actually, this colour management tool seems to work exceptionally well, as the P50T01U’s most obvious performance claim to fame is that it produces some of the most accurate and natural colours we’ve ever seen on a flat TV. The skin tones, for instance, shown by many LCD TVs look like poor waxwork imitations vs. those of this Hitachi.