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Before checking out the UT42MX70's picture performance, it's probably worth pausing for a moment to reflect on the whole concept of ultra-thin TVs. For while Hitachi's marketing for this screen might make a big play of the fact that it's a ‘360 degree' TV that looks equally resplendent from any angle, it's a plain fact that most people just push their TV back to a wall and sit right in front of it, meaning that any extra slenderness gets completely lost.
But somehow I have a sneaky feeling that such prosaic thinking probably isn't going to affect the UT42MX70 too badly. After all, who cares about mere practicalities when you're talking about a genuinely revolutionary design that will have your friends' eyes bulging with techno-envy?!
And of course, if your TV does somehow occupy a position in your room where it will be seen from an angle - as people walk in, for instance - then this screen's 360-degree glories really might come into play.
What's really, really important about the UT42MX70's slenderness from our point of view, though, is that it doesn't appear to have negatively impacted the screen's picture quality. In fact, for my money the screen delivers not only Hitachi's best LCD picture quality yet, but some of the best pictures we've seen from any LCD TV, period.
Particularly stunning is the remarkable sharpness on show. During HD coverage of the Nadal/Schuttler Wimbledon tennis semi-final, for instance, the clarity with which the UT42MX70 renders such minute picture detail as the cross-hatch pattern of the net, the roughness of the worn patches around the bass line, the faces of the crowd and even the weave in the players' clothes is really something to behold.
Even better, this stunning clarity holds up extremely well when Nadal starts scurrying around the court and slamming ground shots back at his opponent at more than 100mph. In fact, motion on the UT42MX70 is so free of LCD's traditional blurring and resolution-loss problems that more than once I had to double check that the screen wasn't actually using plasma technology.
This is a terrific achievement on Hitachi's part that I can only put down to a combination of the Picture Master processing, the 100Hz engine, and the screen's use of the latest generation of Hitachi's In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology, with its faster response times.
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