For those investing in a screen to take them into the high-definition future, it boils down to a choice between sets with either an HDMI or a DVI connection - but this new monster screen from Fujitsu is one of very few plasmas equipped with both. The company's reputation for producing high-end screens means that it is yet to make its mark on the mass market, but that could be about to change.
While it wouldn't look out of place in a living room, the screen's basic silver frame is hardly a style statement. Another problem is its lack of tuner and Scarts, but Fujitsu do provide a RGB Scart-to-VGA adaptor for those who haven't yet moved on to digital inputs.
Talking of which, this screen comes complete with the requisite inputs and screen resolution to make it HD-ready. Its 1,366 x 768 native resolution is back-up by an HDMI input and a DVI input. The latter is PC-only, however, and not capable of carrying the copyright-protection tags known as HDCP that most high-def TV broadcasts will carry - but that scarcely matters considering its HDMI talents.
Those with a HDMI-equipped DVD player can look forward to watching DVDs in an all-digital domain. There are also two component video inputs, a composite video input, S-video input, 15-pin D-Sub (PC) input, three stereo audio inputs and stereo speaker connections.
The set is equally loaded with features. The second version of Fujitsu's Advanced Video Movement picture processing is designed to rid images of MPEG blocking noise, mosquito noise and smooth jagged edges. There's also Natural Colour Tuning, to make colours both saturated and more suited to skin tones, Image Adaptive Processing, which displays graphics (logos and text) more clearly, and a Natural Light Sensor to adjust the screen's brightness and contrast to match ambient light in a room.
Endowed with a billion colour-strong palette and a claimed contrast ratio of 3,000:1, there's no better way of testing this HD-ready beast than with a high-def diet...
Best in show
Aside from very occasional colour banding, images are solid and coherent, vividly colourful and noiseless - this is plasma at its best. There's no evidence that HD footage is creating the grainy image we're used to on many screens. The credit goes to the picture processing, which extracts much detail from very deep blacks.
The story is also good with normal DVDs, with the pink wig of Natalie Portman's Alice in our test DVD Closer looking vivid in an noise-free, contrast-rich picture.
Despite this screen's appetite for high-def and DVDs, it's also surprisingly partial to straight TV pictures through the RGB Scart adaptor, with that massive contrast range again showing its worth.
Speakers are optional (at £250) and provide a decent soundstage easily wide enough to handle TV and all but the most demanding of DVDs.
That there's no tuner or Scarts might concern some, but this screen is ready for HD, and great with DVDs and TV. It is Fujitsu's top effort to date, and one of the best-performing screens we've seen.