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Hitachi 32" and 37" LCD now has HDMI  

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to break the news for anyone out there interested in Hitachi LCDs. Looks like Hitachi has rereleased the 32" and 37" panels (32HDL52 and 37HDL52) with HDMI.

A couple weeks ago I ordered a Hitachi 37HDL52 37" LCD panel from the local Circuit City (Colorado Springs). I researched it for a while and, unfortunately, never found a whole lot of info on it, except that everyone that had one seemed to love it. About the only real knock on it was that it had DVI - not HDMI. Well, my cable box has DVI too, no HDMI, so I figured what the heck. Once my wife and I saw a 32" version in the store, we were sold, end of story. I took advantage of CC's 24-month 0% interest deal, but the scary part is that they could not even provide an estimated ship date. I even poked around the web and could not find a single one available anywhere in the U.S. Kind of made me wonder if Hitachi wasn't having some manufacturing problems or something. And I realize now that my willingness to accept the lack of HDMI was perhaps a little shortsighted in the face of the upcoming high-def DVD players that won't ever do DVI for copy protection reasons (arghhhh!).

Well, the mystery of the unavailable Hitachi LCDs has been solved. I finally got antsy and called CC yesterday and, coincidentally, they said that my panel was due to arrive that afternoon. I brought it home last night and discovered that the model number was slightly different:

37HDL52A (note the added "A" designation)

Once I pulled it out of the box the light bulb went on. "HDMI" stamped in big letters on the back of the chassis. The manual references the 32HDL52A and 37HDL52A, so I guess Hitachi went back and upgraded both sized panels, dumped the DVI and put in HDMI. The delays in availability must have been so Hitachi could switch over their inventory or something.

I guess this is breaking news since I googled on "32HDL52A" and "37HDL52A" and came up with zilch. It's not up on Hitachi's website yet either.

Anyhow, it's late (for me) and I'm going to bed now (I'm totally worn out from oggling my new TV for the last 24 hours). My initial impressions are... WOW. Totally impressed. Has exceeded my expectations. Of course, I also discovered that my new Motorola Moxi DVR has... let's just say "issues" (noisy like a jet engine, for starters). But the panel is a dream.

If anyone wants me to write down a more detailed review on the panel, let me know and I'll get back in a few days.
post #2 of 5
Wait soooo no DVI? Argh...

I guess my email to them worked! but I did want them to keep the DVI...blah. Did they give you a better remote?

btw, the picture quality on this set is GREAT. I'm sure this well help it sell a lot better.

my email to them... hmm... but i told them to keep the DVI.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Nope, no DVI anymore, just HDMI. Looks like you get one or the other with Hitachi. I actually bought a DVI cable when I picked up the set not realizing the upgrade until I brought it home, and then returned the cable later in the evening. Of course, for $120 (gotta love the Monster Cable / Belkin rip-off cartel at the big box stores) I could get a cable to convert HDMI to DVI, but there doesn't seem to be any way to get an audio stream that way. I didn't try it, but the Hitachi manual is very clear - about the only thing it is clear about - that if you use HDMI you can not use any other audio input. So... I hooked up a component video cable and moved on with my life, looks just plain great.

I don't think they did anything with the remote. It's pretty much awful. Tiny little round buttons for the channel and volume. But I have a Pronto, so the remote is no big deal to me. All I really care about is the picture quality, and it's phenomenal.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
You know, after putting on my electrical engineer hat (designing chips is my day job) and thinking about it, here's my guess on the situation.

The video processing chip or chipset - or whatever front end multiplexer to it that they have - certainly has a limited number of inputs. At some point they have to multiplex the inputs going to the decoder, and you effectively select the mux setting with the remote (Video 1 / Video 2 / Video 3 / Video 4 / NTSC tuner / ATSC tuner / etc.) It seems that Hitachi revamped this unit midstream in their product lifecycle, so they probably just replaced whatever DVI front-end chip (or even daughtercard) they had with an HDMI version. But for a midlife kicker they can't redo the whole architecture, and they were stuck with the same total number of inputs. I can only visualize that from a modular point of view replacing a DVI front-end with an HDMI version is much less intrusive to the design than adding another input or even sacrificing a different type of input, such as a component input. In general, you probably don't want them to sacrifice any component inputs anyway. At least that would be my thought process if I were designing.

Just a guess, of course. I haven't ordered the service manual... yet... so I don't have real schematics to look at. :)
post #5 of 5
I just picked up one of these from a small local dealer who beat the big chain's prices on the inferior Sharp LC-37D40U. The guy I bought from specializes in high-end home theatre installs and only sells retail as a sideline.

So far I'm pretty happy. I'm only watching NTSC through a noisy Comcast line. I have an appointment scheduled to get an HD tuner w/ DVR next week. I can only imagine what I have in store.

My biggest constraint was being limited to a 37" size (wife wanted it in our existing TV Cabinet) I suppose I could have looked at the Panasonic 37" Plasmas as well but they seem to be even harder to find.
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