Honeywell's Altura MLX, a budget 42-inch LCD TV with a 120Hz refresh rate, looks promising on paper but doesn't quite live up to the promise in person.
This is one of the least-expensive TVs with 120Hz, and it even includes the smoothing processing, aka dejudder, that the kids seem to like these days. But we're generally not big fans of the effect, so we like to have the capability to actually turn off dejudder. One problem with the Altura is that it doesn't have that capability. Inexplicably, with this set it's dejudder or bust.
We liked the Honeywell's styling, but couldn't find much to like about its picture quality. Lighter black levels and less-accurate color are big culprits, as is a very dark gamma that makes the whole picture appear too dull regardless of any adjustments we tried. In case you're still interested, there's plenty more detail after the jump.
Check out the full review of the Honeywell Altura MLX.… Read more
Ah, 120Hz. Like many features used by TV manufacturers to induce people to spend more money on step-up models (see also 1080p, HDMI 3.0), its visible impact on picture quality is often difficult to discern. In test patterns, 120Hz can reduce blurring, and when paired with a 1080p/24 source it can make film-based sources appear a bit smoother, but for the average viewer, and in many cases even experienced reviewers like me, the differences appear slight.
It's easy to confuse 120Hz with dejudder processing, which can have a significant visible impact on picture quality--not all of it good, but that's another story. The confusion increases because many manufacturers market 120Hz and dejudder in the same breath, and, in fact, nearly every 120Hz LCD also features dejudder. The Sharp LC-46D85U we just reviewed is one exception.
Catering to those sensitive souls for whom the smoothness imparted by 120Hz LCD HDTVs is still too rough, Sony will introduce the first HDTV with a 240Hz refresh rate this December. Dubbed the KDL-52XBR7 (price TBD), this 52-inch model is the only one in the XBR7 series to boast the faster refresh rate.
According to Sony's press release, the main advantage of 240Hz compared with 120Hz is the "exceptional motion detail in movies, sports, and video games." Whereas standard 120Hz TVs in Sony's lineup interpolate an extra frame between the real frames, the 240Hz model interpolates three.
Vizio isn't known for high-end HDTVs. The by-now-ubiquitous flat-panel HDTV name made its hay selling cut-rate LCDs and plasmas at Costco and then Wal-Mart, avoiding the big-box electronics specialty chains like Best Buy to focus on reaching out the the bargain-hunting masses. The strategy paid off with sales strong enough to challenge heavyweights like Samsung and Sony.
Based on my price range and the reviews I've read, including yours, I'm very interested in the Samsung PN50A550 and the Panasonic TH-PZ85U series. However, when I went to see them in the shop, I was very impressed with the video quality of the Sony KDL-XBR4 and the Samsung LN-T4671F. The first two are plasmas and the second two are LCDs, but I was most impressed with the smoothness of the latter two. You commented on that smoothness in your reviews and made it seem like it's a feature that can be turned on/off. Anyhow, I was just wondering if that feature is available in the plasmas I was interested in. You seemed to comment how it can be unnerving at times and it seems like a feature than can be adjusted. There isn't much of a mention of it in the Samsung A550 review and I just wanted to know if that smoothness can be turned off/on in the plasmas. Thanks, Jon
That smoothness I mentioned in my reviews is the result of a de-judder video processing mode. Pioneer put a similar mode on its 2007 plasmas, including the PDP-5080HD (pictured), but it's not as smoothing and it introduces a lot more artifacts compared with the LCDs I've tested, so we preferred to leave it turned off. More recent reviews of de-judder-equipped LCDs include the Samsung LN52A650 and LG 47LG60. To answer your original question, I don't know of any plasma TVs available now aside from Pioneer's models that have de-judder processing.… Read more
Anyone who's purchased an HDTV is aware that manufacturers are always trying to persuade buyers to purchase the higher-end models. The most popular step-up feature over the past few years has been 1080p resolution--despite the fact that it's not much better than 720p--but now that 1080p has become passe, 120Hz refresh rate is one of the newest buzz terms. Not to be left out of the feature wars, Vizio has announced a new line of 1080p LCDs featuring 120Hz technology, called the "Black Tie" series, which includes the 42-inch SV42LF and the 47-inch SV47LF.
On … Read more
Having already debuted its line of ultraslim, flat-panel LCD-based HDTVs in Singapore and Japan, Hitachi finally announced its availability stateside at CES. The models, which comprise three separate series of three screen sizes each, all have a depth of 1.5 inches, which is the thinnest we've seen from any flat-panel LCD. The closest competitor among announced (non-concept) models is LG's 42LGX Super Slim (1.75 inches), which joins the Hitachis in trumping JVC's "world's thinnest" (2.9 inches) models and the current champ, Sharp's LC-D64U series (3.25 inches). Personally, we don't see much use in making current inches-thin flat-panel displays a couple inches thinner, but there's no denying that trend, embodied in extreme by models like Sony's OLED (3mm) and Pioneer's concept plasma (9mm).
Hitachi packed a passel of features into its slim LCDs. The 37- and 42-inch models from each series include 1080p resolution as well as the company's version of 120Hz technology with de-judder, which Hitachi calls "Reel20." We've reviewed similar technology in models from Sony, Toshiba and Samsung, for example, and we're curious to see how the Hitachi version stacks up.… Read more