Hitachi’s slick HIT19WDVB is definitely different: at 19in, it’s the smallest HD-Ready television we’ve tested. And do you really need high-definition support in a portable telly? Maybe not – but it’s certainly a cool feature to have, especially if you fancy using your set for gaming.
The Hitachi also boasts the most extensive array of inputs we’ve seen on such a small screen. You get an RGB Scart in, component, composite and S-Video ins, a PC input and, of course, an HDMI socket. It even offers a digital audio output for connection to a home cinema system, although a side-mounted headphone input is perhaps of more relevance in a portable telly.
Feels well worth the money
Style, fit and finish are perfectly acceptable for the price – a notch up on most supermarket specials, but not quite as lavish as the best kit from Samsung or Sony.
Set-up is simple enough, thanks to a neat remote handset and clear on-screen graphics, and there’s a surprising range of options available for picture adjustment.
Having said that, picture performance is pretty impressive straight out of the box. Unlike many portable sets, the viewing arc is pretty wide, so even if you’re sitting off-axis (or lying in bed) you can make out what’s going on. And even with Freeview content, the Hitachi’s picture is assured and stable: it’s a little noisy, and struggles a little to contain smearing with very fast motion, but the natural colour balance and reasonable black depth help deliver an involving image nonetheless.
Sound quality’s not bad, either: it’s pretty clear and mercifully free of top-end harshness, although don't expect much in the way of bass.
More pixels, better picture quality
Of course, switching to DVD is more rewarding. Scale your DVDs up to 720p via a decent DVD player, and foreground details snap into focus, edges lose their slight traces of noise and shimmer, and the image acquires a welcome sense of sheen and polish.
Put in proper hi-def – 1080i from a Sky HD box, for example – and things sharpen up a little more, while colours and black blocks of picture become more dense and consistent. True, sit at any reasonable viewing distance from the screen, and you’d struggle to say that the high-definition content looks miles better than lower-resolution DVD images, but it is better, and that’s the main thing.