If it was anyone else but us writing this review, you might be forgiven for thinking we’d royally cocked things up with the price at the top of the page. Surely, SURELY it’s not really possible to buy a 50in plasma TV for just £1,280, right? Wrong. The latest round of post-Christmas price-slashing on the high street has seen the already affordable original price tag of £1800 for LG’s 50in 50PC1D tumble right down to under £1300, making it far and away the cheapest 50in flat TV we’ve ever clapped eyes on.
Pity, then, that it doesn’t turn out to be quite the awesome bargain we’d hoped it would be…
There’s certainly nothing remotely cheap, though, about the face the 50PC1D presents to the world. Its high-gloss black bezel offset by a deep silver trim actually creates a more opulent impression than the designs of many way more expensive rivals.
There’s nothing about the 50PC1D’s connections that gives the budget game away, either. Its two HDMI inputs are in line with what most rivals are offering in the digital HD department these days, and they’re backed up by the component jacks demanded by the HD Ready spec list; a D-Sub PC input; a very healthy three Scarts; an RS 232C control/service jack; and even - remarkably for this money - two sockets that reveal the presence of a built-in digital tuner. These are a CI slot for adding subscription TV service cards, and a digital audio output for piping potential Dolby Digital broadcasts to a suitable receiver.
So far, so very good indeed. And the good times continue to roll with the discovery of a really strikingly long features list. We’ve already covered the set’s HD Readiness, digital tuner and PC compatibility. But also in its armoury is its use of LG’s proprietary XD Engine image processing system. This provides improvements for no less than six elements of the picture: colour saturations/tones, sharpness, contrast, brightness, colour gradations, and the handling of motion during action sequences.
The digital tuner is also well supported, thanks to a slickly designed 7-day electronic programme guide from which you can directly set timer recording events just by selecting desired shows from the listings.