Seeing the Digital Light Page 3

Hitachi's DLP Rear Projector

With its silver case and glassy, sculptured stand, Hitachi's first DLP projection set looks good even when it's turned off. The 55DMX01W has a 55-inch (diagonal) 16:9 aspect ratio screen and converts all incoming video signals, including 480i (interlaced) and 480p (progressive) standard definition and 1080i high-definition digital TV, to the native 720p resolution of its DMD chip. The set also displays XGA, SVGA, and VGA signals from a connected computer, so you can use it to surf the Web or play games on CD-ROM and DVD-ROM.

It might be an example of cutting-edge technology, but the Hitachi set has also been outfitted with many traditional TV features and functions. There's a wealth of connections, including two wideband component-video inputs and two VGA jacks for computer signals. The remote control has a partially backlit keypad. While I eventually got used to working with it, the many buttons on the remote intimidated me at first.

With no convergence controls to mess with, setting up the Hitachi was a cakewalk -- just turn it on, and you get a crisp image with perfect geometry and focus. A company representative encouraged me to engage the set's Movie mode before any critical viewing because that turns on the upconverter's 3:2-pulldown feature -- an important detail the manual fails to mention. (This feature eliminates artifacts that result from transferring 24-frame-per-second, or fps, film to 30-fps video.) After selecting the Movie mode and Warm color-temperature setting, I adjusted the picture controls with Ovation Software's Avia DVD. The Hitachi's picture at this point measured pretty close to the 6,500-K NTSC standard, but an additional half hour of tweaking via the service menu brought it up to perfect spec.