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Although we at TrustedReviews naturally love home cinema kit, we certainly do not like all the associated clutter and cable spaghetti that accompanies it. And if tech-heads like us hate it, we can only imagine how much it must upset ‘normal' people. Especially if they or their other halves are particularly house proud.
Which is why we're feeling so inclined right away to love Hitachi's P50XR01. For this rather cleverly takes a high-spec full HD 50in plasma TV and tucks away, somewhere inside, a fully-fledged hard disk recording system, delivering all your TV and recording needs in one box. Neat.
Of course, while the P50XR01 removes the need for one extra box and cable, its 50in dimensions don't exactly make it a shrinking living room violet. There's no getting round the fact that it's one big mother of a telly. But then anyone even thinking of buying a 50in screen is more likely to celebrate its size than dislike it, right?
Plus Hitachi has at least tried to make the P50XR01 reasonably attractive, thanks to the application of a neat combination of matt and gloss acrylic black in the TV's bezel.
The set's connections are very impressive, including three HDMIs all built to the v1.3 standard and therefore compatible with such tricks as automatic lip-synch correction and the Deep Colour system for enhanced picture quality. Of course, no commercial Deep Colour-encoded discs currently exist in the UK, but it's nice to know the P50XR01 is ready for them should any film studio ever get their finger out and do some. Other connectivity options of note include a digital audio output, a D-Sub PC jack, plus SD card and USB slots for direct playback of JPEG images.
You might think that any HDD squeezed into a TV, even one as large as the P50XR01, wouldn't have all that much memory to play with. But actually Hitachi has got no less than 250GB in there, which should be more than enough to cope with the demands of even the most dedicated TV addict.
To put some sort of number on this, even if you use the mid-quality ‘SP' recording mode (there are actually another two, lower-quality, less memory-intensive options), you'll be able to store up to 100 hours of TV recordings before you have to delete anything.
There are five recording quality modes in all, including one rather cryptically dubbed ‘TS'. It turns out that this one is arguably the most important, since it gets the P50XR01 to record the direct digital bitstream being received via the TV's built-in Freeview digital tuner. This should result in recordings that look indistinguishable from the original broadcasts.