The good points:
Oh, boy. The P50X902 Director Series has a killer image processor. What that means is that non-HD materal looks fine on it. In fact, it looks, well, good. I have never, ever said that about an HDTV as standard definition generally looks like crap, but this TVs scaler is something special. I would dare say that the scaler in this Hitachi is better than the 60-inch Pioneer Elite that I also have for review. Yes, it’s that good.
The goodies doesn’t stop with the image scaler. The colors and contrast ratio are also good — not great though. Colors were generally accurate after my calibration, but I couldn’t get the black level as dark as I like it.
Hitachi has installed power swivel stands on its sets for a while and this high-end model receives the treatment as well. It’s likely to get oohs and ahhs, but chances are you will never use it. How many times have you ever wished the TV was slightly turned towards you? It’s a plasma with a great viewing angle anyways.
Also, I have never been a fan of Hitachi’s menu tree. This one is particulary slow and painful to use. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was responsive. Thankfully, the video adjustments are extensive and complete. Hitachi allows you to change almost anything on the TV, which more than compensates for the slow and dated menu.
The not so good points:
While the image scaler does an amazing job upscaling lower resolution video, there is a strangle anomaly where strong horizontal lines continue through the picture. Check the pic. See how the blinds leave lines on Pam’s shirt? It’s strange and sometimes distracting. It happens on all sources and I can’t figure it out. Interestingly though, my wife has never once noticed or seen what I am talking about.
The HD image isn’t amazing. It’s good, but not breathtaking. The set’s high price kind of makes me want more. The images are a bit soft and there is that damn horizontal-line thing that bugs the heck out me.
Oh, and the speakers and remote are crap. But who uses the built-in speakers and standard remote anyway?
This is a great HDTV. It’s pricey and hard to find thanks to a limited distribution, but it’s a nice HDTV. Someone that needs a top-tier HDTV with tons of picture adjustments, but doesn’t have the cash for a Pioneer and also watches a lot of standard DVDs/non-HD cable should buy this plasma. That’s it. If that doesn’t describe you entirely, look elsewhere ’cause this 50-inch is overpriced at $3,200. Great TV, yes, but overpriced. I would highly recommend this plasma if it can be bought for around $2,500.