Hitachi P50X01A (50-inch plasma TV) - First Look

Hitachi P50X01A (50-inch plasma TV) - First Look

Hitachi P50X01A (50-inch plasma TV) - ReviewA price war is in full swing with the key Japanese plasma vendors undercutting one another over a short span of four weeks. It all started with Pioneer and its S$14,999 (US$9,867.22) Kuro PDP-LX508G, followed by the S$6,999 (US$4,604.67) Panasonic Viera TH-50PY700H, and now the S$5,699 (US$3,749.15) Hitachi P50X01A. Already, market observers and insiders have expressed disbelief over this unprecedented and heated development and we believe we have the answer. Will you be on the receiving end of a raw deal with this too-good-to-be-true made-in-Japan panel?


Those who know their Hitachi plasmas will probably be familiar with its Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (ALiS) technology. First developed as a cost-effective alternative for displaying 1080i interlaced signals, this was recently refined to meet the growing market demand for larger full-HD TVs. The latest P50X01A is one of its pilot offerings to ship into Asia with such new-gen panels. Unlike its predecessor, it offers true 1,920 x 1,080-resolution pixel-to-pixel compatibility with Blu-rays and HD-DVDs. Though its 10,000:1 dynamic contrast is only half the equivalent of the pricey Kuros, it's neck-to-neck with the Viera TH-50PY700H which retails for S$1,300 (US$855.99) more.

To realize the full potential of this flagship series, the company is complementing the panel with its stepped-up Picture Master Full HD video processor and a Movie Frame Rate Converter (MFRC) function. A proprietary implementation of the common movie-to-video frame rate conversion (3:2 pulldown), MFRC is promising smoother motion reproduction for film-based broadcast and content. This employs a special algorithm to generate intermittent frames rather than rely on the conventional approach of simple duplication which may lead to onscreen jerkiness.

Connectivity-wise, there are three HDMI 1.3 terminals at your disposal. One of these all-digital ports is conveniently located by the side for hassle-free one-cable playback from the latest HD-enabled camcorders and laptops. Videophiles will also be delighted with their extensive 1080p signal support, capable of accepting both standard 50/60Hz and film-centric 24Hz variants. Rounding up the hi-def video inputs are dual sets of analog component-video sockets. These are, however, 1080i-rated only, which is dated by today's standard but perfect for TV settop boxes.


At a ridiculously low price of S$5,699 (US$3,749.15) or the price of a 42-inch 1080p LCD, Hitachi is saving component cost by going without onboard multimedia playback customary for its high-end panels. This is superficial and non-showstopper in our opinion, though we would still strongly suggest you try out the set in person. There are online reports of flickering issues which have plagued sensitive users despite tremendous improvement in this area over the years. That said, we hardly picked up this problem while reviewing the 42PD9800TA.


The debut of the P50X01A put us in a very tight spot in terms of awarding the Panasonic TH-50PY700H an Editors' Choice. If not for the above-mentioned potential flicker, it would definitely be a worthy adversary for the Viera with its near-identical specs and features. For those who are immune to this problem, this promising full-HD plasma comes highly recommended just by its hard-to-resist pricing alone.