Later, the superb transfer on the HD DVD of The Perfect Storm allowed me to really see how the HP handled colors. At the start of the film, when the doomed Andrea Gale pulls into port to unload its latest catch, the HP impressively captured the scene on the sunny dock, perfectly rendering the green of a John Deere cap worn by Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) and showing the bright orange of the fishermen's rubber jumpsuits without a hint of exaggeration. The 720p screen (actually, 1,366 x 768 pixels) also delivered oodles of delicious detail, like the netting on the back of Tyne's cap and the subtle shadings of grime on his crew's clothes after months at sea. If I were in the market for a 37-incher, I could easily live happily with this TV.
MEDIASMART FUNCTIONS Accessing digital content starts with hitting a dedicated Media button on the remote, a slim, contoured wand that follows the shape and general layout that I've grown fond of with HP's DLP sets. If it's not already done, you'll need to select the server you wish to access from a list; the TV can stream from just one network and one server at a time, though it can do multiple streams (such as photos and music) from individual servers. Striking the Media key then brings up the main media menu, from which you can select that server's Photos, Video, and Music files and a button marked Services. Photos in submenus come up as thumbnails, and music metadata is provided textually in menus to save load time, though album art is visible when playing. Behind the Services door you'll find access to a few subscription content providers via a dedicated HP portal that the company plans to expand over time. For now, partners include the Snapfish photo service, CinemaNow movie downloads, Live365 Internet radio, Zip.ca DVD rentals, and Rhapsody music. You'll need to set up accounts with HP and each service to initially gain access.
In the interest of space, I'll cut right to the chase: The media streaming on this TV was at once thrilling and frustrating. Thrilling because HP clearly saw a need I didn't know I had: to do something more with all those files sitting idle in my computer and to have my photos, videos, and songs quickly accessible in my living space right when the urge strikes. And thrilling because the onscreen interface and remote HP devised to manage this process are well thought-out and intuitive.