NEWS: Hitachi monitors go super-slim for 2008
There are flatscreen TVs, and there are flatscreen TVs. Hitachi's oddly-named Wooo range (well, that's what they call them in Japan) are said to be 60 per cent thinner and 50 per cent lighter than your regular LCD screen.
If that sounds like an unlikely boast, consider this: all three models in the range – 32, 37 and 42in – are just 3.5cm deep, and even the 42in weighs in at a very reasonable 18Kg. We've seen them, and believe us, they're thin.
What's more, you'll be able to buy them in black or pearlescent white finishes, and Hitachi is also considering introducing snazzy blue and red versions (see picture).
The UT32MH70 HD-ready model will be on sale from April for around £1100, and two Full HD models, the UT37MX70 and UT42MX70, will be available from May/June for around £1800 and £2200 respectively.
So, are you wondering how they made them so thin? Well, here's the thing: they are in fact all monitors, and none have a built-in TV tuner. A separate media box (see below), with twin Freeview tuners, 250GB hard disk drive, three HDMI sockets and a USB connection will be available separately from September for around £370. A Freesat option may be offered in the future.
Given those prices, it's obvious Hitachi is targeting the premium sector of the market. "Industrial design has really changed the way we live, and products need to be simpler, lighter and thinner," says David Oldroyd, CEO of Hitachi Europe's Digital Media Group. "With these new screens, we want to dominate the high-end visual sector."
One of the key challenges in creating such slim screens was to reduce the size of the power supply, traditionally the biggest component in a flatscreen. Hitachi claims its power supply in the Wooo range is one third the size and weight of that in its previous models.
The company has also developed a new diffuser that can be positioned much closer to the screen's backlight, and a fanless cooling system.
And next year Hitachi's screens will get even thinner: it's set itself a target of reducing the depth of its screens to 1.9cm in 2009, and a mere 1.5cm by 2010.