One of the hottest topics of conversation in the AV world these days is the prospect of rising prices brought about by the plummeting value of the pound. Apparently, though, nobody has thought to tell LG about this situation. For hot on the heels of its decently affordable 42LF7700 Freesat TV last week, the Korean brand has raised our eyebrows even higher with the 50PS8000: a 50in plasma TV going for just £1,200.
What's more, this is no stripped down, basics-only model. For starters, it actually steals a march over upcoming Panasonic TVs by being the first TV to claim 600Hz processing. Given that Sony has only recently delivered 200Hz processing to the accompaniment of much fanfare, getting 600Hz on the 50PS8000 seems like a pretty remarkable feat. So how's it done?
Keeping things as simple as possible, the 600Hz figure is arrived at by introducing to the frame-counting ‘equation' plasma's Sub-field driving specification. In other words, for every second of footage the 50PS8000 delivers the 50fps demanded by the PAL video standard multiplied by 12 extra sub-fields/frames added by the TV's processors. Fifty x 12 being, of course, 600Hz.
Given that many plasma brands have long been adding extra frames of video information to their pictures, the 50PS8000's 600Hz claim could be described merely as a new numbers game used to undermine Sony's 200Hz successes. But I guess this doesn't really matter if putting a number on things makes things easier for end buyers to understand.
Another ‘premium' thing about the ultra-affordable 50PS8000 is its design. For it's one of LG's ‘single-layer' jobs, where the screen and its bezel present one totally smooth face to the world, rather than the screen being recessed back from the bezel as is usually the case.
There's some interesting stuff going on with the 50PS8000's connections, too. Four HDMIs will win it fans among the serious AV community, while a DivX-capable USB port and some Bluetooth wireless connectivity are on hand for portable gadget hounds.
This latter feature allows the TV to be used with a Bluetooth headset, or for receiving photos and music via a suitable Bluetooth external device - most likely a mobile phone.
Old fart that I am, I'm still not entirely convinced that these Bluetooth shenanigans are really all that worthwhile. But hey - it's not as if LG seems to be making you pay for them, so I guess they can be seen as just a handy bonus rather than a key feature that makes or breaks the TV.