Hitachi 32LD9700 £1000

24th Jun 2007 | 23:00

Hitachi 32LD9700

A high-end 32-inch LCD that's worth every penny

TechRadar rating:

5 stars

This TV is a superb all-rounder that leaves us shaken and stirred

Like:

<p>Fantastic picture</p><p>Great design</p><p>Excellent viewing angle</p>

Dislike:

<p>Quite pricey</p>

Costing a cool £1,000, the 32LD9700 is not exactly cheap for a 32-inch HD-ready LCD TV here, so what is Hitachi going to pull out of the bag to get you to whip out your chequebook? Really impressive hi-def pictures, that's what.

To begin with though, little expense has been spared in the design department. With its glossy black design, this TV looks, to paraphrase a well-known beer commercial, reassuringly expensive.

A snoop around the TV's connections reveals two HDMIs. There are also a generous three Scarts (two RGB-enabled), component video, and PC inputs, as well as a Secure Data (SD) card slot and USB port down the side.

The feature count is also impressive, including a built-in digital TV tuner, Hitachi's Picture Master HD picture processor (which gets to grips with detail, colour, motion, and contrast), and a little something by the name of In-Plane Switching Alpha.

Some LCD TVs suffer at the hands of viewing angles - chances are that you'll get an unpleasant contrast performance if you're seated at a wide angle to the screen. IPS-A has been designed to combat this. Hitachi claims that this technology achieves the same contrast and colour levels when viewed from the side as you would seated head-on to the screen, as well increasing the viewing angle to 176 degrees.

There's also gadgetry worthy of James Bond in the form of a motorised swivelling stand (remote operated) that promises hours of showing off to your mates.

Speaking of the remote control, it's intuitive and easy to use - same as the onscreen menus. The 32LD9700 isn't sounding too bad for £1,000.

Special agent

By the time we reached the iconic Bond title sequence of our test Blu-ray disc of Casino Royale, it was obvious that this is a special 32-inch LCD TV.

The infamous beach sequence in which Bond emerges from the ocean is a riot of colour and executed with razor-sharp precision. Skin tones are convincing too. IPS-A also lives up to its reputation - colours are nice and deep and contrast is convincing when viewed from a wide angle.

The 32LD9700's other picture features did their jobs well. The Overdrive circuit ensured there is minimal motion smear in fast-moving scenes, and black levels are superior, thanks to an automatically adjusting backlight.

Standard-def material from the digital tuner continues the 32LD9700's great work, as pictures are crisp and clean. A quick frame of snooker reveals that motion is well presented, but black areas could do with a little bit of work. Still, this is hardly much a complaint in the context of the seriously good pictures that the 32LD9700 can effortlessly carry off.

The Hitachi 32LD9700 doesn't put a foot wrong when it comes to audio, either. The speakers handle the mixture of dialogue, music, and over-revved engines in Casino Royale with ease. There's no distortion, even at loud volumes, and the TruBass mode also earns its keep.

Greatness for little

Standard-def black levels aside, we've hardly a bad word to say about the Hitachi 32LD9700. There are cheaper LCDs around that deliver decent hi-def pictures for the price, but the 32LD9700 delivers genuinely great hi-def pictures for not that much more.

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