Hi­tachi 50HY T62U £380

FOR It’s a big screen and it’s rea­son­ably priced AGAINST It’s lack­ing in most de­part­ments

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Televisions -

The world of TVS is not very big. That is, it’s usu­ally the same names that keep pop­ping up in our test­ing rooms. Imag­ine our sur­prise when we re­ceive a Hi­tachi for the first time since 2011. A dive into the ar­chives of whathifi.com re­veals a grand to­tal of two Hi­tachi TVS. They re­ally ought to visit more of­ten.

But first, let’s clear some­thing up – this isn’t Hi­tachi the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer. In the UK, the brand name is li­censed to Home Retail Group, which com­prises Ar­gos, Home­base and Habi­tat. That means they get to slap the Hi­tachi name on what­ever they choose, and in this case that is a tele­vi­sion made, like the Fin­lux, by the Turk­ish com­pany Ves­tel.

A 50in screen for £380?

Fin­lux has a de­cent track record, so we are hope­ful. Es­pe­cially when we look at the price tag. A 50in Full HD model for £380? Yes please. How­ever, those hopes are soon dashed. The Hi­tachi 50HYT62U (known at Ar­gos by the snappy ti­tle ‘Hi­tachi 50 Inch Full HD Freeview HD Smart TV 262/9881’) is not the tempt­ing propo­si­tion it first ap­pears to be.

First im­pres­sions are not great. There’s a lot of plas­tic, which was the norm a few years ago – but things have moved on now and a bit of metal would be nice. It’s not very well en­dowed in terms of fea­tures, ei­ther: two HDMI in­puts and two USB ports, and a fairly ba­sic smart in­ter­face whose only high­lights are Netflix, Youtube and BBC iplayer.

”The sound qual­ity dis­ap­points, or rather of­fends, be­cause it is shock­ingly bad. In fact, this may be the worst-sound­ing TV we’ve heard in years”

Un­nat­u­ral etch­ings

Nav­i­ga­tion isn’t a great ex­pe­ri­ence ei­ther. The re­mote con­trol fea­tures a bunch of icons, al­though be­cause it’s not im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous what they do, the re­sult is a fair amount of trial and er­ror. How­ever, the build qual­ity is solid enough, and of course, what re­ally mat­ters is that the per­for­mance is up to scratch.

But, sadly, it is not. It is a sharp pic­ture, it’s true – but ar­ti­fi­cially so. The pro­cess­ing seems a lit­tle too zeal­ous, re­sult­ing in an im­age that looks un­nat­u­rally etched. We find our­selves hav­ing to turn down the sharp­ness to com­pen­sate, but there’s only so far you can go be­fore you jump from ‘weirdly crisp’ to ‘kind of blurry’.

This Hi­tachi’s strong­est trait is its con­trast, which is ac­cept­able if not par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive. The dy­namic range is de­cent, and there is enough of a gap be­tween the bright­est and dark­est lev­els. That said, the whites don’t daz­zle and shadow de­tail is murky. Colour bal­ance, at least, is fairly con­vinc­ing.

And that’s the Blu-ray per­for­mance. Switch to DVD for stan­dard def­i­ni­tion and there’s the usual dip in def­i­ni­tion and rise in pic­ture noise, but we’ve seen ri­vals (such as its Fin­lux 43UT3E310B&T, sta­ble­mate) of­fer bet­ter up­scal­ing with less grain.

On the of­fen­sive

So it’s not the best pic­ture, but it is the sound that re­ally dis­ap­points. Or rather, it of­fends, be­cause it is shock­ingly bad. In fact, this may be the worst-sound­ing TV we’ve heard in years. There is no bass to speak of, and we’re not cer­tain there’s much in the way of midrange ei­ther. Mostly tre­ble, then, and it’s so harsh it bor­ders on shrill. If you plan on get­ting this TV, we rec­om­mend, nay de­mand, you in­vest in a soundbar.

Should you buy the Hi­tachi 50HYT62U? Only if pic­ture and sound qual­ity is less im­por­tant to you than that 50in screen size. You could do a lot bet­ter with your cash.

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