Hitachi Press Conference: Inspire the Next?

CENTERPIECE:Hitachi rolls out a "1080" plasma display.

PRICETAG: $2500

BEST SPEC: Industry's first 1TB drive will retail for $399

RANDOM STAT: This is Hitachi's 51st year of cranking out TVs

WHAT THEY DIDN'T SAY: PR guy mentioned the company's "1080 strategy," making us think that leaving off the "i" or "p" after that 1080 number is an attempt to confuse already-bewildered consumers. What is this 1080, anyway? It's 1280x1080i.

SUBPLOT: DZHS500A hybrid camcorder with a 30GB hard drive and DVD recorder inside augments its brandmate, DZHS500A hybrid camcorder which has a smaller hard drive inside but is available now. The company is selling the convenience of shooting video and then putting that DVD in a player, for instant gratification. With its 30GB Hitachi microdrivein there, the consumer doesn't have to choose between DVD and HDD. No PC is necessary, that footage can be dubbed to DVD with one button push. Ships in April.

WHAT'S MISSING? The "p" after 1080

SNAP JUDGMENT: "The simplest solution is truly the best solution," intones the voice-over announcer, but that explanation of why 1080 technology is supposedly so great was nothing but simple and will make buying an HDTV even more complicated. But then it will be cheaper, a 50-inch "HDTV" for $2500.

GRADE: C+