CPX1498MS COLOUR MONITOR
WHAT OUR EXPERTS SAY...
It says Hitachi on the front panel but a fair number of key components inside
the CPX1498 colour monitor, including the picture tube and principle video
processing microchips, are actually made by Philips. Whilst weíre on the
subject of deceptive appearances, the picture on the front of the instruction
booklet clearly shows a monitor with an up to date FST type display tube
whereas the CRT used is actually an older style device with rounded corners and
a curved faceplate. Itís fine when showing a single image but the corners tend
to encroach quite noticeably on quad or multi-screen displays, possibly cutting
off on-screen displays and camera idents.
The CRT in question is a 14-inch type with a visible diagonal viewing
distance of 13-inches, itís housed in a grey-coloured metal shrouded cabinet
measuring 370 x 355 x 385mm, for the record it weighs in at a fairly modest
8.8kg. The claimed maximum resolution on an S-Video/YC feed is 500-lines, it
operates on PAL/NTSC video inputs and has a built-in speaker. The monitor has
three independent video inputs, each of which can be displayed in sequence
using a built-in switcher with a variable dwell time of between 5 and 300
seconds. The on-screen display system can assign an ident or title (1 line of
16 characters) to each of the monitorís video inputs.
On the back panel there are four BNC sockets carrying the composite video
inputs and associated output or loop-throughs. Both composite video inputs have
independent audio inputs and outputs via phono sockets. The S-Video channel is
input only, using a mini DIN socket and it also has itís own audio input (but
Build quality is satisfactory, it gets a couple of extra brownie points
for the inset carry handles though the steel case and plastic back panel do not
look or feel especially rugged and itís probably not a good idea to put too
much weight on top of it. Inside the standard of construction on the single
printed circuit board and wiring is good with all of the parts neatly laid out
and easily accessible, should it require attention.
A tiny elliptical speaker is mounted behind a grille on the left side of
the lower front panel and next to that there is a row of one large and five
small buttons. The large one is the mains on/off switch the other four are used
to move around the menu-driven on-screen displays, make and change settings,
select inputs and adjust the volume. A LED indicator next to the on/off button
glows dimly when the monitor is on, it blinks brightly when any of the control
buttons are pressed and it will flash on and off if a fault condition develops.
SETUP AND OPERATION
The OSD main menu presents the user with five selections: number one is
Input Select (manual or auto), number two is a secondary volume adjustment,
menu item three covers picture setup (brightness, contrast, colour, hue,
sharpness and OSD background). Menu four, Options, deals with AV input
selection, switcher dwell time, input ident and OSD mode (off, auto or
permanent). The fifth menu selects the on-screen display language/style
(English, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian and graphic symbols).
Unfortunately the control system is not particularly intuitive; the
instructions are densely written, a few more illustrations would have helped.
The bottom line is that itís unnecessarily difficult to use; Hitachi would have
done well to consult its consumer division, which does a splendid job of
designing easy to use on-screen displays (OSDs) for its range of vastly more
complicated televisions and video recorders
Itís a shame Hitachi didnít use an FST picture tube because they
generally have much lower screen reflectivity, as it is the one used in the
CPX1498MS suffers quite badly from reflections and this might cause a problem
in locations with nearby windows or bright lighting. Nevertheless, actual image
quality is very good and resolution isnít far adrift from the manufacturerís
specification. Picture alignment and geometry on our sample was spot on, focus
was pin sharp to the edges, colours look natural and picture noise is
negligible. The little speaker does its best and itís adequate for monitoring
in reasonably peaceful surroundings.
It works well and Hitachi has struck a good balance between features and
price but it has one or two rough edges. Picture tubes with coarsely rounded
edges are not well suited to quad and multi-screen displays, and the screen
could have done with a more efficient anti-reflective coating. The controls are
okay once you get used to them but it could have been better thought out and
why are there no video and audio loop-throughs for the S-Video channel? Fine
for general-purpose single image display applications and some of the special
functions, like the 3-channel switcher -- could prove very useful but be aware
of its potential shortcomings.
Design and design features ****
Circuitry and components *****
Ease of installation and wiring *****
Range and variety of functions ****
Accompanying instructions ***
Technical advice and backup ??
Value for money ****
„ R. Maybury