Also troubling are some of the colour tones. During the Mines of Morir sequence in The Fellowship of the Ring, for instance, the skin tones on show often look decidedly odd, making Gandalf look more like a tramp who’s necked a few too many beers than a prodigiously powerful arch-wizard.
The 50PB65’s standard definition pictures also tend to look slightly grainier and noisier than we’d like, while its high definition pictures don’t look quite as crisp and detailed as we know they could.
Finally in the negative column, our 50PB65 suffered quite markedly with image retention, where residuals of particularly bright image elements stay ‘live’ on screen for a good number of seconds after they’re supposed to have disappeared. It’s possible this problem will reduce over extended use, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying in these days where practically every other plasma TV around has largely eradicated the problem.
The 50PB65 is not unremittingly bad. In its favour is the sheer aggressiveness of its picture presentation, achieved by a retina-singeing combination of extremely high brightness (by plasma standards) and remarkably full-on colour saturations.
The 50PB65 also achieves its colour vibrancy without succumbing to the sort of ‘striping’ of colour blends still sometimes seen in the plasma world, and it portrays moving objects without plasma’s common dithering noise problems. Moving objects enjoy plenty of clarity, stability and smoothness too, making us wonder if using 100Hz on a plasma TV isn’t as crackpot an idea as we thought.
Furthermore, a meaty soundtrack, such as the gloriously OTT effort which accompanies Con Air on Blu-ray, reveals that this LG makes good use of its chassis bulk in reproducing a wide, powerful, dynamic and clear soundstage.
With its tiny price, reasonably glam looks and spicy features count, we really, really wanted to love this LG TV. But ultimately no amount of clever marketing, competitive pricing or aggressive picture traits can hide the fact that when it comes to all-round picture quality, there are plenty of rivals out there that do it considerably better.