Having made a memorable debut on the UK AV scene with a pair of impressive DLP projectors, US outfit Planar is stepping up its UK invasion with the launch of a range of flat-panel monitors. Though oddly, in terms of their market position these LCD bad boys really couldn't be more different from Planar's projectors.
For whereas the PD7010 and PD7060 projectors were targeted very much at the ‘budget' end of the home cinema market, the new LCD screens set their sights much higher - and sport premium price tags to match. For instance, the 47in Planar PD470 we're looking at today sells for a cool £2,900.
Compare this with, say, Sanyo's full HD 47in LCD CE47FD51 at £1400 or Samsung's 50in PS50Q97 plasma now available for under a grand, and you can see the sort of price hike we're talking about.
Still, we at TrustedReviews firmly believe that there should be room out there for premium AV products, just as there is for premium hi-fi products. All that we ask is that any product that wants us to pay more for it actually justifies its extra expense with extra features, an amazing design and/or a truly startling performance level. To which end it has to be said that the PD470 doesn't get off to the best of starts. For contrary to just about every other LCD or plasma TV these days, the PD470 comes with neither speakers included nor, even, a built-in tuner - digital or otherwise. Yikes.
However, there is actually some method to what initially looks like the PD470's madness, since it's been created with the custom installation market in mind. In other words, the expectation from Planar is that its screen will be going into a fully fledged home cinema setup complete with separate audio system and picture sources (such as a Sky HD box or HD DVD/Blu-ray player).
Obviously this argument wouldn't stack up if the PD470 wasn't well provided with sockets for attaching such external sources, but it just about gets the job done with two HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, two component video inputs, an S-Video input, and two composite video inputs.
In an ideal world a premium set like this would have boasted a third HDMI , and all three HDMIs would have met the v1.3 standard rather than sticking at v1.2 . But we guess the second component jack compensates a bit for the lack of a third HDMI, plus there are currently no ‘Deep Colour' source discs around to make use of v1.3's biggest asset anyway.