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HITACHI CPM 2104 21-inch monitor



Not all video monitors are cream or grey-coloured boxes. The 21-inch Hitachi CPM-2104 is a good-looking,  go-anywhere design, that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb...



Video monitors are one of the most hard-working and hence critical components in a surveillance system, yet they seem to arouse little interest in installers and end-users, except of course when they go wrong. Fortunately that's a comparatively rare occurrence these days, thanks in part to the considerable crossover in technologies between the domestic TV and professional monitor markets. This trait is particularly noticeable in companies who produce both video monitors and televisions. They are able to call upon the latest advances in TV display and manufacturing technology, most of which are highly relevant to monitor design. The monitor side of the business benefits from the expertise and economies of scale involved in volume TV production, plus the huge amount of technical data and feedback, gleaned from customer research and service personelle.


Many of those points are clearly visible on the Hitachi CPM 2104 21-inch monitor, and its 14-inch stablemate, the CPM-1404. To begin with they look a lot like domestic TV receivers, rather than the more familiar cream-coloured, cube-shaped metal-boxes we've become used to. That's largely due to the fact that both the 1404 and 2104 are housed inside cabinets originally designed for their TV range.


The 2104 monitor uses a 51cm (21-inch) FST picture tube, that's also similar to the one's used on their regular TVs. The only significant external differences between the monitor and the TV on which it is based, is the layout of the controls, and the lack of an aerial socket on the back panel.


There are just four front-panel adjustments, grouped together next to what would have been the channel display and infra-red remote control receptor window. They are, from left to right: brightness, contrast, colour saturation and volume. Next to that there’s the main on/off button; the display window has a single illuminated segment, to show it is switched on. The loudspeaker is situated behind a grille on the left side of the fascia.


All of the input and output sockets are located on the back panel. The monitor can handle composite, component and RGB configured video signals. A pair of BNC sockets carry composite video in and out for VCR loop-through; a second video input is available on a 21-pin SCART (aka Euroconnector) socket. This is also used for RGB formatted video signals. The component video (Y/C) input is a 4-pin mini DIN (S-Video) socket. Two phono sockets are used for the audio input and output.


The use of a plastic case has good and bad points. From a cosmetic standpoint the CPM 2104 looks less intrusive, and a lot less bulky than a conventional metal cased monitor. It's lighter too, that puts less of a strain on overhead mounting brackets,  and is ideally suited to a retail environment, as a spot monitor for example. The dark grey colouration will stay looking cleaner, longer than a traditional cream-coloured case. However, the plastic case is not especially sturdy and it needs to be installed in an area where it won't be subject to knocks or mechanical stress. The shape of the cabinet prevents it from being stacked under or on top of other components.


Inside, the standard of construction is very good, though there's not much to see. The power supply, EHT, scanning and video processing circuitry is all mounted on a single small PC board in the bottom of the case. This appears to be closely related to the main PC boards used in Hitachi TVs. The use of an integrated one-piece PCB cuts down on the number of connections and cables, so in addition to it looking neat, serviceability is good and it should be reliable. 



Hitachi have stuck to a relatively straightforward specification, based around many of the components and mechanical hardware used in their television receivers. Video performance is good and our sample was able to resolve in excess of 430 lines without any difficulty on a Y/C formatted feed. Picture noise levels are very low, and this is clearly apparent on component video signals, which look very clean indeed. Colour registration and accuracy were both good; the display is bright and the screen has a wide dynamic range, with a good solid black and linear grey sale. The flat, low-reflectivity face-plate is well suited to brightly-lit areas.


The built-in amplifier and loudspeaker have a clean, largely uncoloured response with good treble coverage, so it's fine for monitoring speech and incidental sounds. The amplifier output is quite modest, though it has sufficient volume to make itself heard in a noisy location.



There's comparatively little variation in current monitor design, particularly on smaller models in the 14 to 20 inch range, so the CPM 2104 makes a welcome change. Hitachi have clearly recognised the need for a simple, general-purpose monitor, that will not look out of place in retail and commercial sites. The range of input socketry, and facility to handle component, composite and RGB video signals means it is unusually flexible. The case is a lightweight design, which makes it suitable for overhead mounting, though it may not be able to withstand too much harsh treatment. Image and sound quality are both good.




Video system                PAL colour, CCIR black and white

Video level:                    1.0 volt p-p, 75 ohms (composite)

Video in/out                   composite, component Y/C or RGB


Connections                  composite video in/out (BNC), composite video & RGB input (SCART), Y/C, S-Video in (mini DIN), audio in/out (phono)

Power requirements            110/2410 VAC 50/60Hz, 50 watts

Dimensions                   508 x 478 x 481mm

Weight              22kg






Product design              8

Build quality                              7

Electronics quality               9



Ease of installation                     9

Set-up functions             10

Instructions                               7

Manufacturer’s support 9



Functions                                  7

Ease of use                               9



Image quality                             8



Ó R. Maybury 1996 2307




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