Hitachi UT42MX70 review

Breathtaking design, breathtaking pictures, but not actually a TV...

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Our Verdict

A sublime TV - from the head-turning design to the excellent hi-def pictures

For

  • Natural pictures, especially with HD
  • Gorgeous thin design
  • Good with standard-def too

Against

  • No tuner or speakers and only limited built-in connectivity

The UT prefix of the Hitachi UT42MX70 stands for Ultra Thin.

And, unlike similar descriptive monikers from certain other brands, in this case Ultra Thin really means something – the UT42MX70 is a mere 35mm deep/thin.

This is barely a third of the depth of your typical 'flat' TV, and immediately gives it an aesthetic head start.

Slimmed-down spec

Hitachi has conjured up a series of innovations to achieve this skinniness, including making the LCD layers more compact, massively shrinking the internal power supply, reworking the ventilation system to improve heat dissipation, and cramming separate components onto single chipsets.

Plus it has taken the TV tuner out. No, really. Tuners are chunky things, apparently, and squeezing one into the UT42MX70 would have compromised its svelteness. So clearly it had to go! Along with any built-in speakers...

This clearly isn't great news for people with no external TV receiver, such as a Sky HD or Freeview box. And the UT42MX70's provision of just one HDMI input for HD video use doesn't exactly improve matters.

This is why the UT42MX70 is currently targeted at the AV install market, where it will become the screen part of a wider AV system. Though it's worth noting that Hitachi has rolled out an external multimedia AV switchbox to accompany the UT screens'.

Superb HD performance

The UT42MX70's internal specs are far less controversial. There's a Full HD pixel count, 100Hz processing, 1080p24 support, picture tweaks galore, and, best of all, the latest version of Hitachi's Picture Master HD processing, which includes 16bit colour processing and multiple noise reduction routines.

Thankfully the Ultra Thindesign hasn't compromised the UT42MX70's picture quality at all. In fact, I'd rate this the best flat TV picture Hitachi has ever produced, leaving the impressive HD picture quality of Sweeney Todd on Blu-ray shining through. LCD motion blur? Gone. Grain and dot crawl? Nowhere. Processing side effects from the 100Hz and Picture Master routines? None that I could spot. Colour crosstalk? AWOL. Edge shimmer or ghosting? Don't be silly.

Adding to such hi-def purity are some vibrant colour tones, including rich, credible reds so often rendered orange by rival screens. Fine detail reproduction and viewing angle is excellent, too.

Shadowy star

With standard-def pictures also looking clean and crisp, the only thing fetching the UT42MX70 up agonisingly short of LCD superstardom is its black level response and slightly limited shadow detail. As Sweeney arrives in London at the film's start, the night sky looks a touch too grey for comfort.

But don't panic – only rarely does this issue come between you and the enjoyment of what might just
be the most divinely natural pictures I've yet seen from an LCD panel. Talk about a tough act to follow!