LG 50PZ950 Review

50" Infinia Plasma 3D TV

Picture and Viewing Feaures

LG's top end plasma offering offers 3D compatibility and has gone the extra mile to get the THX certification on the 3D portion of the TV. Whether the THX certification is worth the extra cost to LG is a matter of debate. THX makes the following claim regarding the company's certification of 3D, "THX engineers perform more than 400 laboratory tests to evaluate color, cross-talk, viewing angles and video processing performance for both Left and Right eye images. This testing ensures that every THX Certified Display presents consistent stereoscopic images, which is critical for maintaining the 3D effect and minimizing sources of viewer fatigue. "

Sounds impressive, but does it truly add value? We have not been particularly impressed with THX preset picture settings on some 2010 TV models. The THX picture renderings in our opinion were too dark.

Black levels should be very impressive on the 50PZ950 with its continuation of the TruBlack feature. There is understandably a lot of focus put on black levels with these higher end plasma 3D TVs. Plasma technology is generally better for displaying 3D content. The plasma panel is clear and with exceptional viewing angles. On screen glare will be something we pay particular attention to.

One other area of intrigue is the 2D to 3D conversion feature which was also present on the predecessor 50PX950. We must assume this feature has been improved after initially mediocre performance.

Appearance

LG Infinia Plasma TV models always contain the seamless glass appearance that we consider a nice design element. The front glass panel extends all the way to the ends of the bezel framing to give the "Infinia" its name and good looks.

Internet Applications and Connectivity

LG is renaming its Internet Apps this year from "Netcast Entertainment" to "SmartTV." There is a simple dashboard contained on the TV menu screen allowing for selection of TV Live, Premium Content, TV Apps, and a Launch Bar. The LG 50PZ950 series has LGs new Smart TV Internet TV features meaning that will be able to access all of LG's Internet Apps. Some of the highlighted Internet TV providers are Netflix, Vudu, Cinema Now, You Tube, Hulu Plus. But in addition this year it looks like there will be several partners in the sports industry to stream live sports programming, allowing viewers to follow their favorite teams, stream in HD quality broadcasts, and generally be able to tailor their sports viewing more to their own preferences. More options equal more satisfaction right?

Standout Features

LG's new SmartTV feature looks promising. It contains a web browser so that users can access the Internet directly through the TV. The browser is not the Google TV chrome browser you have probably read about. This is a web kit browser, but still I like having access to the Internet. THX certification while we are not fans does at least vie for a quality picture capability. We would not base a rating on it though.

Another new feature is for the 50PZ950 is the ability to share information from a PC or Laptop via the wireless Smart Share system. Wireless is the key operative here, making displaying information from your Laptop so much easier.

Another innovative feature this year is the motion controlled "Mobile Remote". This new remote feature offers a motion controlled cursor which follows hand movement. Once the cursor is on the wanted selection click the remote to select that option. It's a convenient point and click system.

There is no keyboard needed for the system, but there is a QWERTY keyboard option available for download to iPhones or Android application smart phones.

Connections

4 or more HDMI inputs should be plenty on any TV. 1 Component video input should be sufficient for your favorite older DVD player. USB 2.0 for access to digital music and photos (MP3, JPEG)

Value

This new 3D TV Plasma sells for around $1500 and is at the top end of the plasma price spectrum for 2011. The unit appears to have good pricing and value when compared to top end LED TV 3Ds.

Specifications

  • 50" screen class (49.9" diagonal screen size)
  • 16:9 native aspect ratio with 5 aspect correction modes
  • THX 3D certified display
  • 4 HDMI v1.4a inputs with Deep Color and ARC
  • 2 component video + L/R audio inputs; 2 composite AV inputs; PC input; 2 USB 2.0 inputs; RF in
  • Dolby Digital decoder; Infinite Sound system with Clear Voice II, Auto Volume Leveler II and 5 sound modes
  • Built in 1-way 10W + 10W (@10% THD) speaker system
  • ±20° tabletop swivel stand included; 400mm x 400mm VESA compliant
  • Magic Motion 5-button remote; LAN, RS-232c, Remote Control, and Wireless IR inputs
  • 3D-ready (requires additional equipment); Capable of 2D to artificial 3D upconversion
  • 600Hz max sub-field drive
  • DLNA-certified
  • NetCast Entertainment Access
  • Wi-Fi ready with included adapter
  • Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution
  • Picture Wizard II (Easy Picture Calibration)
  • Dual XD Engine with XD Color (active color management)
  • 10 picture modes and 3 color temperature control modes
  • ISFccc ready
  • 3 Image Sticking Minimization modes
  • 24p Real Cinema mode (3:3 pulldown)
  • x.v.Color
  • Smart Energy Saving with On, Off, and Sleep timers and Auto Off/Auto Sleep without signal
  • Input labeling
  • Parental Control with V-Chip
  • SimpLink (HDMI-CEC)
  • Digital optical audio output
  • 143W average consumption; 0.2W in standby
  • Dimensions (with/without stand): 46.7"/46.7" W x 30.8"/28.3" H x 12.5"/2.0" D
  • Weight (with/without stand): 62.2 lbs/70.1 lbs