Hitachi L37VC04U 37" LCD TV......
I decided only a relatively short while ago that I had had enough of our bulky and outdated hand me down TV and really what our front room needed was a larger flat screen TV to make it more modern and comfortable. So off I popped to Argos to pick up this Hitachi 37" TV.
I had reserved the TV using the online click and reserve service Argos offers and it appeared that there was plenty of this particular TV in stock at the time but I found this service helpful and easy to use. Luckily the packaging that the TV came in wasn't overly large and we just managed to squeeze it in the back of our Seat Ibiza, even with a car seat in situ and the little man sat in it! I think any bigger and we would have had to leave Jack behind!
**Price and Availability**
We paid £449.99p for the TV and this had a special offer of £100 off and after having a search on line, this appeared to be a really good deal for this TV or indeed many other brands offering a 37". We had decided on a 37" due to the fact that our previous TV was only a 27" which I was surprised about when I got the tape measure out. Our front room is a fair size but I think any bigger and it would have looked slightly over powering in the room.
I made sure that we didn't need any extra cables or leads to get the TV up and running and it seemed that we had everything we needed to get home and be able to watch it straight away.
The TV was well packaged although there was not an excessive amount of waste bulk and the TV itself was easy to get out and set up without much reference needed to the manual. The was however a "Quick Guide" and this gives all the information needed to set up the TV in various ways depending on what other peripherals you have to link in with the telly. I did have to refer to this a couple of times because we have several things we need to link up such as an Xbox, a Wii, and a DVD/Recordable free view player . The "Quick Guide" was brilliant as it was easy to follow and gave all the information that anyone could want.
Once unpacked I think I got the TV set up and ready to use within the hour even with attaching all of our various consoles and things. The TV has a automatic set up which pretty much meant that it sorted itself out by tuning in both the Freeview and terrestrial channels with ease and being up and ready for use. There is a "Source" button on the remote which when pressed switches between all the different items attached through the TV and gives a quick easy access for when I want to change from the TV viewing to using the wii.
**Specifications and General Use**
The good thing about this TV is that it has enough sockets to be able to fit all these things into it without having to keep changing cables over. There are 2 scart sockets, 2 HDMI sockets, a PC input socket and a component video socket. This should surely give most people enough options to put in all the other equipment.
Other good point to this TV is that there is a built in Freeview player and although we already have a recordable one set up this can only record one channel at a time and when recording you aren't able to watch anything else. However now we have the option to change the source of where we are watching the TV from, we can flick between using the built in Freeview and recording with our other Freeview box. This made having the recordable box even more worthwhile and makes it far easier to use.
I have found both the picture and sound quality to be of a high standard and even though the screen is on the large size there is no distortion in picture and no fuzziness at all. The TV is has full HD with 1080p. The resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels and the contrast ratio is 1,600:1. I do have to be honest though in the fact that all this information with figures etc really doesn't mean that much to me and all I know that the picture looks good. It is a 37inch (94cm) widescreen with a 94cm fully visible screen and this means that even when the wide screen option is being used you don't get those cinema type black lines at the top or the bottom of the screen but instead the picture just fills the entire screen. This is far better than our old TV which was terrible when the widescreen format was selected as you seemed to get a much smaller viewing area.
The sound as I say sounds good and because of the size of the screen and the speakers being on either side can give a rather surround sound effect which I was rather impressed with. It is equipped with a NICAM sound system and this keeps clear sound even when turned up really loud on the music channels which really impressed my neighbours! It has 2 x 8w RMS power output speakers and these do seem to do the job needed very well.
The built in Freeview that I mentioned is both very good and simple to use. It has pretty much the same set up as most Freeview players does and gives a full week's worth of TV listings in the guide section. There are options to set reminders for specific programmes as I believe most Freeview payers have. It picks up all the digital channels that are available and it is top up TV compatible and has the card slot if indeed needed (this however is not something I would be interested in as I had previously signed up when first getting a set top box and found the whole experience a total nightmare and not worth the hassle that it was.)
There is also the option to have subtitles on the TV and this is done by selecting from the menu. This is easy to find and to activate and we will use this option rather a lot because of a certain noisy little man! The menu option also offers a variety of different settings to choose from and I spent a good few hours going through all of the various picture options and sound choices there were and setting the ones I found most fitting for our use. Again these are fairly easy to change and understand even without referring to the user manual.
There are a fair few of additional features that the TV has to offer and one that really sold it for me was the fact that it runs by using less power than most other TVs when on standby. I can't stand having so many little red lights on around the place but this really seems inevitable nowadays. I see them as little bits of money burning away costing me hundreds each year with all of them combined! This TV states that it uses 0.9 watts when in standby mode but I can't say that I knew how much our previous TV used in comparison. However I think because of this feature, the manufactures thought that it would be acceptable to put the manual "On/Off" switch in a really awkward and hard to reach place at the bottom back of the TV. I can just about reach it when standing right next to the screen and reaching over. The amount of times I have knocked off the wii sensor though has started to really get on my nerves now and I can't understand why they have put it in such a silly place, it is as though they don't want you to keep it off standby!
Other additional features include a sleep times which I think Himself has used a fair few times when planning a Sunday afternoon snooze when I have been out. This will turn the TV onto standby in a selected time amount meaning that if you think you'll be asleep in 20 minutes you can set it for this and it will automatically turn off when 20 minutes are up. This is easy to select and works well. There is of course a teletext and a fastext which I have used about once but it is always nice to have even if it is not used regularly.
The TV is not overly heavy and at 13.6kg can easily be wall mounted although does come with a small stand which allows it to be freestanding on top of a unit. I will also say that at the same time as buying this TV we purchased a new TV unit in black glass and chrome also from Argos. It did state in the information for this stand that it was only suitable for TVs up to a 32" but on checking the weight out it seemed the stand would be able to take the weight. Setting it up proved right and that it was sturdy enough and that there wasn't too much overhang of the TV and I would say it looked far better than it would have done being on the correct size unit.
The last thing I think is the remote control and this is again very good. It does have a fair few different buttons but not an excessive amount and the ones it does have are all clearly labelled and have a good use. I have found with the TV in our kitchen that there are far too many buttons which seem to have no use and a silly picture above supposedly to indicate what they are for but I still have not got the hang of it. With this TV remote control however it is very clear which one is for what use and all are positioned in a good way and conform to a lot of other remotes meaning it doesn't confuse me too much!
Oh I don't think I mentioned the manual that much but I have to confess to being my usual self in the manner that I have not even properly looked at it. It is a rather large booklet that I have flicked through just for this review purpose and it does seem like clear information given. Himself has of course read it all and it able to tell me anything I need to know but I will keep it together with the receipt for future reference as there appears to be a rather helpful "Troubleshooting" section which is always handy when or if things go wrong. I do however think that even the most un-technical of people would be able to set the TV up and get it ready for use with only consulting the quick guide leaflet and like me not even looking at the manual.
Well I think I have gone over all aspects of the TV and the outcome is a pretty good one. I feel that there is really only one downside when purchasing this TV and that has got to be the on/off switch position but this is only a minor design fault and doesn't affect the important parts of the TV viewing. I do feel that I got a good TV at a good price. It really does look very smart in my front room and both the picture and sound are of a very good quality. The 37" screen the TV has is really a great size and it makes full use of every inch.
Overall I think this TV is well worth a score of 4 out of 5 stars and a high recommendation. It is a good price for a good TV and hopefully will last me a good while too!
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.