Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Well priced, lots of adjustable options, sharp image, 1080p
- A fair amount of noise in HD, contrast issues, blown out highlights
NEC's 40FHD100 is an adequate 1080p LCD TV; however, it has some image quality issues with both noise and contrast which make it hard to recommend over the competition.
Price$ 2,699.00 (AUD)
Somewhat late entrants into the 1080p TV space, NEC has finally come to the market with two full high-definition models. We recently got the chance to look at the smaller of the two, the 40in NLT-40FHD100. While it comes competitively priced it has a number of image quality issues that doesn't quite compete with some of the better screens elsewhere unless you're really strapped for cash.
We started the testing, as we always do, using our Xbox 360 to play a variety of different types of high-definition content through the display. On the whole its performance was adequate but nothing more. The most obvious issue was a high level of noise. One of our favourite tests is an HD-DVD copy of Transformers. This film is beautifully mastered with a great variety of motion, colour and detail.
When playing this back, the 40FHD100 exhibited some noticeable noise and graininess. It wasn't constant nor extremely prominent but it was definitely noticeable. Transformers has a slight amount of noise in the film to begin with, but this panel definitely rendered it with considerably more grain than we've seen on other 1080p units.
There were also some contrast issues. This display has a quoted contrast ratio of 5000:1 which is fairly good but this didn't translate to a great picture. There was noticeable detail loss in dark areas and a generally poor translation from light to dark. This also resulted in highlights blowing out at times.
Colours came out vividly with a slightly warm tone, although this can be adjusted in the settings and the image was sharp and crisp with good levels of detail. However we did really feel the absence of advanced motion technologies such as 24p playback and 100Hz. Both of these features are becoming standard on new panels by competing companies and it seems like NEC is a little behind the times in this regard. With that in mind while fast motion was still rendered very well it wasn't quite as smooth as on panels with these features.
Standard definition was rendered quite well. As usual we used our Matrix test DVD which was recreated nicely. As with any 1080p panel the 40FHD100 was never going to perfectly handle standard-definition content due to massive amounts of scaling but it did a good job. There was a reasonable amount of noise but nothing over the top and the picture was sharp with no scaling artefacts. At times there was an overabundance of green, which is a problem we have seen before when viewing this film.
PC input was problematic. Despite being 1080p this unit could not output at a resolution past 1650x1080 via VGA. When running at 1920x1080 the desktop was chopped off and floating halfway up the screen, which could not be corrected. All the usual flickering and sharpness issues associated with VGA were also present. We strongly recommend using an HDMI-DVI conversion cable if you want to run a PC through this panel.
A good array of ports are on offer including three HDMI and a standard combination of component, composite and optical. Aesthetically the 40FHD100 is fairly plain with a gloss black bezel and silver trim. It is a good size at 40in, although many users will be hard pressed to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p on a panel this size.
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