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Hi. I have been lurking for over a month. Lots of great info here and I have lots of questions! :)


I am looking at HDTV sets (obviously!) and I orginally looked at the 50" GWII. I do not have much living room space & I like my current furniture arrangement. But spending 3+K on an LCD TV which will be soon outdated by better technology is too much for my budget. Plus, if I buy a lesser TV, I have more money for an HDTV sat receiver and an upgraded progressive DVD player. So know I am looking at the Hitachi 43" FWX20B. The depth is just right for where I want to place it and it is well within my budget. The price is also good becuase I can replace this TV is 3-4 years with a better set.


Opinions on this unit?


I have read that Hitachi has some of the best RPTV's on the market & that they make most of the lenses for other sets?


I currently have sat tv & watch mainly sat and DVD's. Thanks in advance!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Idigtoystoo
Hi. I have been lurking for over a month. Lots of great info here and I have lots of questions! :)


I am looking at HDTV sets (obviously!) and I orginally looked at the 50" GWII. I do not have much living room space & I like my current furniture arrangement. But spending 3+K on an LCD TV which will be soon outdated by better technology is too much for my budget. Plus, if I buy a lesser TV, I have more money for an HDTV sat receiver and an upgraded progressive DVD player. So know I am looking at the Hitachi 43" FWX20B. The depth is just right for where I want to place it and it is well within my budget. The price is also good becuase I can replace this TV is 3-4 years with a better set.


Opinions on this unit?


I have read that Hitachi has some of the best RPTV's on the market & that they make most of the lenses for other sets?


I currently have sat tv & watch mainly sat and DVD's. Thanks in advance!
I've had this model for about 3 weeks. Overall, I'm pretty impressed. I looked at the GWII as well, and all the RPTV's in the size range of this Hitachi as well. One of my big tests was how good a job did the TV do with non-HDTV or progressive scan images. I use DirecTV. This was was led me to the Hitachi. It does a much better job with SDTV signals than the Sony's, including the more expensive LCD GWII. The difference is profound.


I also liked that I could place this unit on a stand and have room for my main video components below it instead of requiring an A/V cabinet beside it...


On the negative side, I'm not overly impressed with its options for converting 4:3 images to 16:9 or handling shows broadcast in 4:3 with 16:9 blackbar letterboxing. The only options for 4:3 are annoying gray bars you are not supposed to use more than 15% of the time, various zooms that don't capture the whole image or an "expanded" mode that only stretches the edges of the image but not the middle. This is what I've settled on, but it ends up looking like a fish-eye lens when watching the image pan and doesn't work well with news stations that split the image corners of the screen, like CNN HL News... And despite the claims of the user manual, the 16:9 zooms that were supposed to convert 4:3 broadcasts with letterboxing to full screen also zoomed past some of the usable image creating oddly framed shots...


But the Sony's were no better. The only one's I've seen do this well are some of the Plasma displays.


Also, I haven't managed to get the color calibrated to my liking despite a lot of work, but I haven't tried any AVIA or and of the other products for this yet so it's too early to judge...


Hope that helps.
 

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I know nothing about the Hitachi 43FWX20b, but based on your situation I would recommend either a plasma tv in the $3,000 - $4,000 range (yes, these do exist if you know how to find them), and I could give you a few models if you're interested. If you really want projection though, check out Samsung's new DLP television, which comes in a 43", 50" and 60" size. The 43" is called the hlm437w. Dlp is a new technology that is supposed to deliver razor-sharp images (even better than LCD), and great color depth. These tv's weigh an incredibly small amount and the best part is that not only are they HDTV, with great resolution, and widescreen, but they are only about 16 inches in depth. I've seen these twice on display as they are very hard to find right now, but many stores, including Best Buy, should have these by January 2003. The first time I saw one of these I was blown off my feet by the Harry Potter DVD at one store--it looked as good as plasma, but the second time I watched a few satellite HD broadcasts, at yet another store, and the picture was dark, distorted, and nearly unwatchable--I was so close to buying it after seeing it the first time, but my second experience changed my mind. The employee at the store (Harvey Electronics--very high end) said that they tried to play with the contrast settings, but that the tv's were naturally dark--I don't really know anymore, but DLP's are a great alternative to everything out there--a solid contender in the world between direct-view and plasma. Good luck
 

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I work at an electronic store that sells the hitachi along w/ several other brands and types of tv's, and I believe the hitachi is an awsome set for the money, great picture. as far as the stretch modes, I don't have too much of a problem w/ them, several people in this forum seem to not like them too much, but not too bad for me. several people who I work w/ have this set and I have it on top of my list (in a small apt, don't want to go too big!). and watch those cheaper plasma's, we have a panasonic for $4999 that cant accept HDTV (they call it EDTV), wouldn't waste the money on a set that couldn't do HDTV. have sold tons of the hitachi's only had one ever come back (old people, said the set was too bright, so they got the Panasonic PT47wx42, a much dimmer set), but this is all my opinion, hope I helped, Joe.
 

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I got the Hitachi 43fwx20B just 3 weeks ago at Sears. They had them mismarked on sale (was supposed to be the 4x3 version). So I had to take one home. :D


Here is what my wife and I love about it so far:


1) It can sit on a TV stand so we can put our A/V components under it. This was important since we only have a small cubby hole and couldn't get a bigger set which would require a cabinet next to it. We bought a TV nice wood TV stand that could handle the weight (not one of the Hitachi stands).


2) Viewing angle. Pretty good viewing angle from side to side with good brightness. Watch out for being too close if the TV sit up a bit. I think at least 8-10 feet out minmum if it's on a 20" stand.


3) Very little tweaking needed at first. First thing I did was of course cut the contrast down and such and with a little tweaking, I have a great looking set. Will run Avia this coming weekend and I can't wait to see what I get.


4) Standard Def TV. I have DirecTv. Our original sitting position was about 7-8 feet. Could definately see some pixelization, but not bad overall. We moved our seating positions back to about 10-12 feet and the quality improved a ton. That and some tweaking and I feel that DirecTv signals are more then acceptable. Some channels are better then others of course.


5) DVD. Got a Panny CP72 5-disc DVD changer. WOW is all I can say here. I am amazed. The Hitachi does a great job, even when I turn off progressive scan. This was fine at 8 feet viewing distance, just as good at 10-12.


6) Stretch modes. I think this is something that you have to get used to. I think the key is variety when it comes to burn in. If you watch some 4x3 in "normal" mode (with the gray bars on the side), just make sure to watch some stretched stuff or DVD mixed in. Here is what I've found:

* "4x3 Normal". I use this mode from time to time. Generally hockey or high action shows where the stretch is noticable. I'm trying my best to not use this mode and train my brain to get used to the stretch modes. I use this less and less.

* "4x3 Expanded" mode. This mode leaves the center alone and stretches the sides a bit. I've found this great for football and most "Talking head" type shows. Also good for letterboxed shows like Enterprise as it zooms in just a tad and takes away most of the letterbox. Some action shows it's ok, others it isn't. Most used mode for us so far.

* "4x3 Zoom 1 and Zoom 2". Don't use them. Degrades the quality and I don't see the point. However, on a 4x3 letterboxed show, the Zoom 1 pratically eliminates the black bars and fills the screen, but the bars don't bother me and I'd rather have better quality.

* "16x9 Normal". This is what you should have it set to for your DVD player. In movie mode which does the 3:2 pulldown or with a progressive scan DVD player, it's awesome. We also use this mode to watch hockey games a lot. Since it stretches the whole image evenly, there is no "fish bowl" effect on the edges. I'm using this mode more and more. Watch out for non-anamorphic letterboxed DVD's though. I find 4x3 expanded is better for those so far. I was suprised I even had one!

* "16x9 Zoom". Don't use it. Don't see the need.


7) Remote. Nice remote. I quickly programmed my MX-500 though. I like the fact it was an "Aspect" button to switch between modes quickly. Also has a "Virtual HD" button to switch between 540p and 1040i. Also a button for each video input which is very nice.


8) HDTV. Don't have an HD STB yet, but the Superbowl may push me into one. :D From what I've seen on this set in the stores with HD signal....wow, I can't wait.


9) PS2. Only played a couple games so far. Looks great in 16x9 mode as the PS2 has a 16x9 video output mode. I hear the XBox has HD output modes as well, but I don't have one.


One downside is it doesn't have a DVI interface. I decided I wasn't going to worry about it since there still isn't a real standard yet and I'll probably replace this set within 3-5 years anyway.


All in all I would highly recommend this set for those on a budget (can be had for $1500-$1800) and for those like me who have limited space available. I don't think you'll be disappointed at all.


Good luck!
 

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I've been considering the FWX20B and FDX20B for similar reasons especially the small footprint available for the set and an existing 21" component stand. I'm also going to look at the Sony 43HT20 and 46WT500 as well as the Mitsubishi 42311.


How is the brightness of the image at about 45 degrees horizontally with moderate ambient light? Some of our seating positions are off to the side and only about 6 feet away, the kids also watch from the kitchen about 20 feet away at the same 45 degree from center angle. The main seating positions are from 0 to 30 degrees from center about 8-12 feet away.


Since most of our viewing is still 4:3, the FDX20B and 43HT20 are being considered as well. We use standard cable TV and have the same CP72 DVD player. I will definitely make sure to see some standard SDTV sources on all these sets based on your comments.


I'd also like to know if your Hitachi has separate user defined memories for component, S-Video, composite and antenna inputs. Also, is there room on top for a center channel speaker, or at least an audio input to use the built-in speakers as the center channel?


Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Darren_C
I've been considering the FWX20B and FDX20B for similar reasons especially the small footprint available for the set and an existing 21" component stand. I'm also going to look at the Sony 43HT20 and 46WT500 as well as the Mitsubishi 42311.


How is the brightness of the image at about 45 degrees horizontally with moderate ambient light? Some of our seating positions are off to the side and only about 6 feet away, the kids also watch from the kitchen about 20 feet away at the same 45 degree from center angle. The main seating positions are from 0 to 30 degrees from center about 8-12 feet away.


Since most of our viewing is still 4:3, the FDX20B and 43HT20 are being considered as well. We use standard cable TV and have the same CP72 DVD player. I will definitely make sure to see some standard SDTV sources on all these sets based on your comments.


I'd also like to know if your Hitachi has separate user defined memories for component, S-Video, composite and antenna inputs. Also, is there room on top for a center channel speaker, or at least an audio input to use the built-in speakers as the center channel?


Thanks!
No problem. I really can't say from a 45 degree angle since my room is very narrow in that respect. I'd check out the viewing angle in the store for that. I think at 6 feet away you'll notice signal quality on standard def programming (I do anyway). No matter what set you get, you'll need some tweaking to get it to look OK. I never found a store display model even close to good looking standard def picture, but that was just where I was looking anyway.


One thing I didn't mention was reflection. Probably like most, there is a reflection issue. It really needs to be dark or pretty close to it or else there is a pretty bad glare. This set doesn't have the super anti-glare screen like some higher end Hitachi's. We have one indirect light and if we get it over a third of the way to totally on, it's too bright. But still enough to read by. You will want to cover up any windows I think. But this is a personal thing and not a problem for me since the TV is in a basement with only one window that is easily covered up. I see it only as an issue in real bright rooms or those with lot's of windows.


Unless you don't watch a lot of DVD's (all mine are widescreen) and don't plan on HD, I'd get the widescreen version. It's worth it. But if 4x3 is all you plan to watch, maybe the 4x3 set would be better. That's a whole other debate though. :D


Video inputs. What I have found is that each input remembers the Aspect ratio and Virtual HD setting. But the different video modes (Sports, Movies, News, Music) are global and not set per input (haven't actually done a ton of testing on that yet, this weekend I will). What I have done is made my Sports setting for Sports viewing, Movies for DVD watching, and setup News for all other TV viewing.
 

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A followup or two-


What I want to know is if there is a user definable memory for all your adjusted brightness/contrast/color/tint/sharpness settings. If so, is there just one, or are there independent ones for each type of input?


My current analog set has no user definable memory. I can adjust the settings of course, but if I select a preset sports or movie mode I lose all the settings I had made using the calibration discs:-( Of course, I have written down the settings but it is still a hassle.


I will check this in store, but unfortunately most stores don't carry all the models I wish to see, so I'm trying to narrow it down to just a few before I go shopping next week. Hopefully I can limit my trip to one or two nearby stores...


The more I think of it, the more likely it is I will opt for a 36" direct view set. Since most of our viewing will be 4:3 for at least a couple years, and because of the angles and light in the room, this may make the most sense based on comments I've read recently. Plus, in 4-5 years hopefully all the more expensive DLP/LCD technology will filter its way down into RP sets that also have built-in HD tuners. At that point, the 36" model or 43" model we buy now is a nice bedroom set:)


As for 16:9 vs 4:3, it is a whole different debate. For us, it comes down to a few factors. I don't understand it all completely, but here is what I've come up with so far- Since most of our material is 4:3, obviously the 16:9 set will not show it as well as a 4:3 set and you lose quite a bit of area. I think a 43" 16:9 set displays about the equivalent of a 35" 4:3 set. Not much bigger than our current 32" set. On the other hand, a 43" 4:3 set displays about a 39" 16:9 image if my calculations are correct, which isn't much of a dropoff. I realize that no matter which way you convert, you lose 25% of the picture area, but you lose more effective "diagonal" going from 16:9 to 4:3 I think. Even a 36" tube set will display the equivalent of a 33" 16:9 set, almost as much as the pricier 34" widescreen models...


Plus, my understanding is that if your 4:3 set can do vertical compression, you don't lose any image quality at all, and the only drawback is the aesthetics of black bars on the top and bottom, and of course burn-in if you do it too often or have contrast too high. On the other hand, many seem to comment that displaying 4:3 images on a 16:9 set always suffers some loss of quality, even aside from the much smaller image. If I understand it right, then a 4:3 is a clear choice for those who watch a majority of programming that is 4:3, and are limited to a maximum width of a set in their A/V area or cabinet.


Thanks again!
 

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Each of the 4 video modes is independant of each other. Last night I watched hockey so I switched it to Sports mode. Then I watched some comedy and switched to News mode. The memory keeps them.


As for center channel, it's plenty wide enough for mine. I'd suggest going to Hitachi's web site. They have a document with all the exact dimensions and you can see if your center will fit.


4x3 area. Well, I was thinking along the same lines a month ago. I had a 27" I was upgrading from. The 43" widescreen gives about a 36" 4x3 picture unstretched with the bars on the side. It's very large and crisp (depending on source of course). However, it has a *much* smaller area when watching widescreen material, especially 2:35. We went widescreen because we wanted it for DVD's, of which all of ours are widescreen. To get the same viewing area in a 4x3 screen, we'd have to get a 55" or so 4x3 set which just didn't make sense for us. It is a lot bigger in our house then it seems in the showroom next to all the monster 65" screens!
 
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