Design and Connections
The DVD player is on the right hand side as you face the screen and it uses a slot mechanism for loading discs. There are only three controls on the entire TV and the first two are the play/pause and stop/eject buttons for the DVD player itself. The other control is at the rear of the chassis on the left hand side, where the side connections are positioned. This control is a toggle switch that can be used to turn the display on and off, move up and down and select the various modes. The rear of the chassis is made of matte black plastic, with ventilation grilles at the top and downward firing speakers at the bottom. There is a hard wired power cable that is 1.7m long.
The Hitachi has a basic set of connections at the rear, comprising a single HDMI input, a SCART connector, a VGA input, an aerial socket and SPDIF coaxial digital output. At the side, 11cm in from the edge, there is a headphone socket, a component video input, a USB port and a CI (Common Interface) slot.
If you hit the Source button on the remote then, depending on what’s connected, you can choose between TV, SCART, Side AV, SCART-S, DVD, HDMI1, YPbPr and VGA. If you press the Menu button then you will see a series of icons across the centre of the screen, the options are Picture, Sound, Settings, Install & Retune, Channel List and Media Browser. The Install & Retune sub-menu can be used to setup the Freeview tuner, although you are given the option to do that when you first turn the TV on, and the Channel List allows you to organise the channels in the EPG.
The Media Browser sub-menu allows you to watch movies, view photos or listen to music from a connected USB thumb drive. You can use the control buttons on the remote for watching movies or listening to music via a connected USB drive. In terms of file support you can watch movies using MPEG, DAT,VOB and AVI files, you can listen to music using MP3 files and look at photos using JPEG and BMP files.
In the Settings sub-menu you can select Conditional Access settings if you are using the CI slot, you can configure the Language settings, you can configure the Parental settings, set the Timers, set the Date/Time, enable and disable the different sources and various Other Settings.
The Picture Settings menu allows you to choose the Picture Mode (Cinema, Natural, Game and Dynamic), as well as set all the usual controls such as Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness and Colour. There is also a Backlight control with four settings - minimum, medium and maximum or auto, a Power Save Mode and a Noise Reduction feature with options for low, medium, high or off.
Finally there is an Advanced Settings sub-menu and in here you can select the Colour Temperature (Normal, Warm or Cool). You can also turn on the Film Mode for correct cadence detection, select the Picture Zoom (aspect ratio), set HDMI True Black on or off and select the Colour Shift, which appears to be a tint control. As you will notice there are no other controls, not even a basic two point white balance control, so calibration will be challenging.
Aside from the usual picture controls, the Hitachi has no other calibration settings, not even a two point White Balance, which makes further calibration impossible. This is a shame, as all three primary colours are tracking in straight lines, so if there was a white balance control, it would be easy to calibrate the greyscale accurately. We tried to improve the colour performance by adjusting the Colour and Colour Shift controls but were unable to make any real improvements. Therefore the out-of-the-box measurements shown above represent the Hitachi's final calibrated performance.
The Hitachi performed reasonably well in our video processing tests, although it obviously benefits from a much smaller screen size. The scaling of standard definition content shows a little softness, so DVDs might not look the best but it can be of benefit with some broadcast TV. The Hitachi did well in the cadence tests and with the Film Mode engaged it is able to pick up the PAL 2:2 cadence. Video deinterlacing is also good with jaggies only appearing when the line was at an acute angle in the first test and slight jaggies appearing on the bottom of the three moving bars in the second. The Hitachi also has no problems showing details up to video level 255 and down to video level 16, which means that you are getting all the details in shadows and peak whites. Motion handling is also very good for a LCD TV at this price point and the Hitachi is able to handle 24p content quite well.
We measured the Hitachi's input lag at 35ms in Game mode, which is actually quite good and would certainly make it a reasonable second screen for gaming, especially as the smaller screen size would allow the TV to fit comfortably into a bedroom.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box Natural Mode: 21W
- Calibrated User Mode: 21W
- Using the built-in DVD player: 22W
The Hitachi has a 1080p panel and there is a single HDMI input if you wish to take full advantage of this but it's unlikely most users will be hooking up a Blu-ray player and unfortunately the Freeview tuner doesn't support HD. This is a shame because the Hitachi is a capable high definition performer, rendering content well, even on such a small screen. In fact the increased resolution was immediately obvious; images were nicely reproduced and highly detailed with no dead pixels. Motion handling was also reasonable and the Hitachi accepted a 24p signal without any obvious issues, so if you do decide to use the Hitachi for high definition content you might be surprised at how effective it is.
- 1080p images looked good
- Decent motion handling
- Good video processing
- Easy to use menus
- Good backlight uniformity
- Very low energy usage
- Good input lag
- DVD player works well
- No real calibration controls
- Remote control is badly designed
- Colour gamut could be more accurate
- Greyscale could be more accurate
Hitachi (L22DG07U) 22 Inch LED LCD DVD Combi TV Review
The Hitachi's chassis uses an all plastic construction, with a glossy plastic bezel and a matching oval stand which can't be swivelled. At the rear is a basic set of connections that should be sufficient but the included remote control could do with a re-think in terms of ergonomic design. The menu system is basic and uninspired but it's simple to navigate and informative, making setup easy.
Whilst the greyscale and gamma performance could be better, with careful setup the Hitachi is capable of a reasonable picture, despite the absence of calibration controls. The video processing is very good which is important, as most of the content that will be watched on it will be standard definition. However if you do take advantage of the 1080p panel, then the high definition performance is also very capable, with good detail and motion handling. The dynamic range is limited but the backlight is uniform and the Hitachi has enough brightness to deliver a pleasing picture in most environments.
The audio performance is as expected of a screen this small but it's listenable and manages to avoid sounding too harsh or contained. The DVD player is competent and whilst slightly slow to load discs, it's reasonably fast and effective to navigate once loaded and suitably quiet in operation. The energy efficiency is excellent, using a mere 22W, even when playing a disc, and the input lag is reasonably low at 35ms, making the Hitachi a good choice for a second gaming display. There are no real smart features but you can playback movies, photos and music via the USB port.
The Hitachi 22" LED TV/DVD Combi is a perfectly adequate performer but given you can buy the exact same TV for £30, unless you really want a glossy bezel, you'd be better off picking up the Bush instead.
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