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
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.
BOX COPY 1
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
BOX COPY 2
Product design 8
Build quality 7
Electronics quality 9
Ease of installation 9
Set-up functions 10
Manufacturer’s support 9
Ease of use 9
Image quality 8
Ó R. Maybury 1996 2307