Hitachi Australia is now trying to defend its position over the definition of what consitutes Full HD. In an attack on SmartHouse, it has resorted to rolling out claims from a TV station that transmits HD content as 1080i.

Hitachi Australia has this afternoon issued a statement responding to the recent SmartHouse story on Hitachi selling 1080i TVs as Full HD when in fact they are only 1080i TV panels. It has chosen not to issue a statement to SmartHouse instead it has chosen to issue a statement to other media organisations despite the fact that SmartHouse contacted the company directly to put t its point of view.

In a conversation with Hitachi on Thursday we presented our allegations and asked them to respond. We also asked them to nominate a spokesperson to explain their actions and position regarding the use of the Full HD claim in their advertising. We also asked them to comment on the letter that Harvey Norman had sent to vendors on the issue of the definition of HD DVD. They chose not to. 

 

This is a company which earlier this week was identified by the US Consumer Report organisation as having one of the least reliable LCD TV brands. The study was based on the magazine’s National Research Centres Annual Product Reliability Survey which covered almost 93,000 sets bought between 2004 and 2007. See Consumer Report Press Release at:
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,216164.shtml

They don’t believe that we should be reporting this fact.

They are also an organisation that has lost nearly a billion dollars competing in the flat panel TV market.

They claim the SmartHouse story was “unethical, unacceptable and misleading journalism”. This is despite the following facts being 100% accurate.

Hitachi are presenting their 1080i 50″ Plasma as being Full HD when they are not Full HD 1080p systems.

Harvey Norman has raised the issue with Hitachi on the basis that Harvey Norman believes that Full HD is 1080p.

Harvey Norman has also said that TV vendors have a legal and moral obligation to present accurate information on HD TVs.

Hitachi is blatantly marketing their 1080i TVs as being Full HD and are now trying to defend this position.

The recent statement by Hitachi demonstrates clearly that Hitachi Australia executives do not understand the difference between 1080i and 1080p. For example, they refer to Channel Ten as an authority on high definition. They are broadcast experts, but not when it comes to Full HD.

 

HD signals broadcast by TV stations are 1080i which is an interlaced signal, not a 1080p progressive signal that is sent out from a Blu-ray or HD DVD player. It does not deliver the same HD signal quality as a 1080p signal from a HD player running Blu-ray or HD DVD content

In fact it delivers an inferior signal which begs the question that if 1080i is Full HD, then what is 1080p. It also begs the question that if a HD signals sent out by broadcasters is Full HD why do we need Blu-ray or HD DVD?

1080i and 1080p are both High Definition display formats for HDTVs. 1080i and 1080p signals actually contain the same information. Both 1080i and 1080p represent a 1920×1080 pixel resolution (1,920 pixels across the screen by 1,080 pixels down the screen). The difference between 1080i and 1080p is in the way the signal is sent from a source component or displayed on an HDTV screen.

In 1080i each frame of video is sent or displayed in alternative fields. The fields in 1080i are composed of 540 rows of pixels or lines of pixels running from the top to the bottom of the screen, with the odd fields displayed first and the even fields displayed second. Together, both fields create a full frame, made up of all 1,080 pixel rows or lines, every 30th of a second.

In 1080p, each frame of video is sent or displayed progressively. This means that both the odd and even fields (all 1,080 pixel rows or pixel lines) that make up the full frame are displayed together. This results in a smoother looking image, with less motion artefacts and jagged edges.

 

The Full HD difference is clearer with larger screens. To say that 1080i is Full HD is wrong. Channel 10 is wrong and so is Hitachi.

With both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, the actual information on the disc itself is in the 1080p/24 format. Players, such as the Sony and Samsung Blu-ray players and the Toshiba HD DVD players have the ability to output 1080p/24 direct from the disc to its output (if the TV is also capable of displaying a 1080p picture).

Since most current HDTVs other that new models that are just being released cannot display 1080p/24, when you connect the Blu-ray and HD DVD HD content the signal is downgraded.  HDTV that does not have 1080p/24 input and display capability but only has 1080p/60/30 or 1080i input capability, the HD DVD and Blu ray players automatically sends its 1080p/24 signal from the disc to its own video processor which then outputs a 1080i/60 signal.

In a statement on the Current web site Hitachi is quoted as saying  “Hitachi Australia has, and still is, at all times 100% consistent regarding the definition of Full HD. Hitachi Australia have only ever used the term to describe devices that can display, capture or record 1920 x 1080 pixels. Hitachi Australia have never stated or claimed in any way whatsoever that Full HD is purely limited to the 1080i or 1080p standard. The P50X01 television has a 1920 x1080 panel that utilizes the interlacing scan method and as such it is clearly a Full HD television.

 

The statement continued: “Hitachi also wishes to advise that it has been in full consultation with the industry and our retail partners on this matter to full clarify what has been stated above.

“It is clear from the varying definitions of Full HD from TV manufacturers and broadcasters, and the clarification of statements made by Mr Richards’s sources, that this article is based on facts that are simply not correct, is misleading on the part of Mr Richards and clearly not in evidence.

SmartHouse stands by the comments we have made about Hitachi and the quotations from their company representative Ms Celine Herit.

What Hitachi has taken exception to is that SmartHouse during the past nine months has progressively reported the problems that Hitachi is facing in the flat panel market.

In July 2007 we wrote a story under the headline “Hitachi Set To Bleed As The Plasma Battle Heats Up”
We were told bluntly by Hitachi Australia lawyers that it was inappropriate for us to even suggest this. We were also told in writing that we were to stop trying to “Bash Hitachi”.

The facts are:
In June Hitachi posted a net loss of $111 million for the three months ended 30 June, compared with a net loss of $179 million for the 2006 comparable quarter.

In October the Hitachi consumer division had 4 percent lower revenue to $6.33 billion for its fiscal first half, which ended Sept. 30. The segment’s operating loss was $442 million, $141.7 million more than the previous fiscal year’s first half. (All in US dollars).

They have also forecast forward losses  of up to $700 million. These results speak for themselves.

In moves to cut costs Hitachi has during the past two weeks pulled out of the PC market in various markets of the world as well as pulled out of the rear projection market.

These are not the actions of a successful company. These are the actions of a company which while successful in several other markets is not cutting it in the consumer electronic market.

We have not created the losses we have merely reported on them.

We did not decide that they had one of the Industry’s “least reliable LCD TV brands” it was the credible Consumer Report organisation in the US who not only have extensive testing labs but test hundreds of TV panels every year under the most testing of conditions.  See http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm

Please let me know what you think about 1080i and 1080p. Should Hitachi be allowed to market 1080i as being Full HD?

Send me an email to dwr@4squaremedia.com


 

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