After my 28" Goodmans television went faulty, I'd had enough of "budget" brands from Argos. The Goodmans was my 4th budget television from Argos in 2 years, all had problems with wobbly scart sockets or just stopped working. Luckily Argos were great about honouring the warranties, so I got a new television each time. I'd had enough of Bush, Alba and Goodmans, so decided to pay a little more for a reputable brand. Hitachi may not have the kudos of Panasonic or Sony, but for £450 the Hitachi C28W410SN looked pretty good. In retrospect, I wish I had checked the features a little more closely before paying the extra £100 over my broken Goodmans 28". The Hitachi is advertised as having a "Super Flat / Super Black" tube, a bit of a jump up from my Goodmans which had a very curved CRT. However, I also own a Formac ProNitron 19" computer monitor which has a "superflat" mitsubishi diamondtron tube, and I was disappointed to see that Hitachi's claims of a superflat tube were a bit overstated. Although much flatter than the tubes on budget televisions, it's still not truly flat like a proper Trinitron or Panasonic tube. The Hitachi's tube is curved, which adds a small amount of distortion to the picture, but as already said, much better than my previous budget models. The superblack feature is genuine, there was a noticeable improvement to the depth of blacks and colours over my Goodmans. The Hitachi has 2 scart sockets, useful as I wanted to connect my Samsung 709 dvd player and my girlfriend's ageing Nintendo 64 games console. The scart sockets were solid, free of the telltale wobble that budget televisions often have. The Hitachi has a higher quality build than cheap televisions, which should make for a long life. Previous budget televisions I have owned have developed wobbly sockets or annoying high-pitched whines after only a few months. I'm not sure ab
out the "Fastext" feature either, it doesn't seem to exist with my Hitachi? Either that, or I don't understand the remote control, which admittedly is pretty complicated with loads of little meaningless symbols (i'm sure their designer understood what every symbol meant though). My biggest criticism of the Hitachi is a lack of amplification in the sound department. 10 Watts per channel really isn't enoough with a television of this size, I would expect at least 15 wpc or better still - 20 or 25 wpc. My Goodmands had 10wpc too, but had two audio outputs (left and right channels) which I could hook up to my Arcam / Mission seperates system. With the Hitachi, I cannot route the sound from the television signal through the amplifer, so the volume has to be turned up to at least 60% to get a decent volume. With dvd playback I can route the signal from the back of the dvd player into the amp, and use the television's feeble 10wpc as a pseudo centre speaker (in stereo of course). But for television movies the overall sound volume isn't that great. Sound quality is actually pretty good, with options such as "boost" and menu-driven adjustment to bass, treble and balance. It just doens't sound loud enough, and it's not situated in a large room. I've even considered popping the case and splicing the internal wiring to give myself two audio output, but this would invalidate the warranty so I've left that idea alone. Something the Hitachi does boast is an S-Video input, very useful, but annoyingly around the front of the television behind a pop-up panel. This means a permanent tangle of wires under the screen, so I'll stick with Scart for now. It does mean that I can connect my PC to the television (using S-video output from my Geforce 2 Ultra graphics card) but as television resolution is limited to 540x412 it's not more than a gimmick (anyhow my Formac monitor gives a much better im
age quality). The front panel also boasts audio inputs sockets. Image quality is great, doing dvd real justice; not "stunning", but considerably better than the budget widescreens. To get a stunning image quality, you would need to jump up the market to Sony's £800-1000 models. The remote control is well built, a pleasent shape and easy to navigate. Some of the teletext functions are baffling unless you have the manual to hand. One last point, you are supplied with a flat packed stand, which is very solid - made from MDF but with a good quality spray paint finish in silver the match the television. This was an unexpected bonus, and makes this £450 television a great value. Overall, I'm impressed with the picture quality, build quality and features - except for the lack of audio output from the television tuner - a strange ommision on a widescreen television. Hitachi live up their middlish reputation, not amazing like Sony, but good solid kit that should last longer than my previous Alba / Bush / Goodmans televisions. For the money this is a great television, much better value than buying a 28" Sony which would cost at least £800. I mainly use the Hitachi for watching dvd's (i'm no television fan) and for that it is perfect.