Plasma in Steps Page 6

Fujitsu P55XHA40US

Bigger can indeed be better


The Short Form
PLASMAVISION.COM / 888-888-3424 / $9,999 (LIST) / 54.25 x 31.75 x 5 IN / 121 LBS
•Crisp HDTV and DVD picture. •Clean video processing of standard TV programs. •Wide array of picture adjustments.
•Expensive. •Limited shadow detail with some programs. •No built-in HDTV tuner or speakers.
test bench
Fujitsu's P55XHA40US displayed 720p-format HDTV programs at full resolution and delivered the most accurate color with its -3000K color-temperature preset selected. A slight green imbalance was easily corrected using its Color Focus feature. Full lab results
My last experience with a Fujitsu plasma goes back to the year 2000 - early days for HDTV. I was so pumped up back then over how good high-def looked on that set's 42-inch screen that its ten grand price seemed unimportant. Today, of course, we all expect lots more for our money when it comes to plasma. At $9,999 (sometimes less with Fujitsu rebates), the 55-inch P55XHA40US is definitely on the pricey side - especially for a spartan monitor that requires you to add a separate tuner, satellite receiver, or cable box to get pictures. But, once again, there's plenty going on under the hood to make you look past the tag.

There's nothing exceptional about the Fujitsu's style, which leans toward the industrial. The big screen has a silver-toned frame with a bunch of control buttons located on the right side. Optional accessories include a table stand ($499), wall mount ($599), and speakers ($199), which attach to the sides. Fujitsu's remote control lacks a backlit keypad but has a set of direct input buttons for quickly and easily switching sources. Other buttons let you cycle through the set's nine custom picture memories and various display settings, which include Normal (4:3), Wide (16:9), one stretch, and two zoom modes. Of these, only Wide 16:9 is available for HDTV programs.

SETUP & USE You first start to notice something special about the Fujitsu as soon as you begin clicking through its onscreen menus. A Precision Setting mode offers a huge number of options for tweaking the picture, including variable black level, user-adjustable color temperature, multiple progressive-scan mode settings, and a Color Focus menu, all of which go well beyond the options found on other TVs. For videogeeks, this stuff is heaven and worth paying a good premium.