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LG 50PA650T review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 7

LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T
  • LG 50PA650T

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Unbelievably good value
  • Good all-round picture quality for its money
  • Good audio

Cons

  • No Smart or 3D features
  • Pictures aren't the brightest
  • Input lag slightly high

Key Features

  • 50in plasma TV
  • Full HD Resolution
  • Remarkably cheap price
  • 600Hz sub-field driving
  • ISF certified
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £449.00

Introduction

The post Christmas bargain frenzy continues. For hot on the heels of the crazily inexpensive Toshiba 40TL968B, today we’re faced with a 50in plasma TV from LG that amazingly undercuts even the 40in Toshiba’s £455 price. Yes, that’s right: at the time of writing the LG 50PA650T can be yours for the astonishing sum of £449.

LG 50PA650T - Features

Inevitably this price comes with strings attached in feature terms, so let’s cover the biggest of these right away. First, the set doesn’t have any form of 3D playback. Second and perhaps more alarmingly, the TV doesn’t provide access to LG’s increasingly excellent online Smart TV platform. You’re thus denied direct access to all the video streaming services LG’s Smart TV service carries, such as LoveFilm, Netflix, Acetrax and the BBC iPlayer.

LG 50PA650T

Next, the TV doesn’t support playback of multimedia files from networked DLNA PCs; the LAN port carried by the TV is there purely to support the set’s built-in Freeview HD tuner.

However, the Freeview HD tuner is itself arguably something you might not have expected to find for so small a price. And now we’re in a more positive frame of mind, let’s add to the ‘unexpected goodies’ list playback of multimedia content from USB devices, a Full HD native pixel count, a strikingly high claimed contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1, a surprisingly slim design - in both bezel width and rear depth terms - and 600Hz sub-field driving for enhanced motion clarity and fluidity.

The 50PA650T’s connections are fair too within the limitation that, as already noted, there’s no online or DLNA network support. There are three HDMIs, the inevitable component video port, a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232 control port, and a single USB slot.

LG 50PA650T - ISF support

Delving into the 50PA650T’s onscreen menus, there’s a surprise in the shape of two ISF picture presets. Designed to store adjustments made by engineers from the Imaging Science Foundation should you pay to get one round, these modes also alert you to the 50PA650’s carriage of a strong range of picture settings, including colour and gamma management. This sort of flexibility is highly unusual for a TV as ridiculously affordable as the 50PA650T.

LG 50PA650T

Also impressive is how good the 50PA650T’s presets are. The Cinema one, in particular, is a great ‘out of the box’ option for people not willing to explore the set’s calibration features.

LG 50PA650T - Picture Quality

Some of the plasmas from Samsung and Panasonic this year have reminded us of just what an AV force plasma continues to be, at least in performance terms. And in its own way, the 50PA650T follows the trend.

To be clear, we’re not implying that the 50PA650T is as good as Samsung and Panasonic’s star models. It isn’t. What it certainly is, though, is exceptionally - almost stupidly - good for a 50in TV that can be yours for under £450.

For instance, while the 50PA650T's black levels don’t get close to those of the best Samsung and Panasonic TVs, looking much greyer, they're still deeper than those of most if not all similarly affordable LCD TVs. Furthermore, dark scenes also look evenly lit from corner to corner, with no patchy light clouding of the sort seen with many edge LED TVs.

Pbryanw

January 22, 2013, 11:46 am

I would put "No Smart or 3D features" in the pro column myself. I just want a TV to act as a dumb terminal with any console, cable/sky box and blu-ray machine used to get content onto it.

With my current TV I've used the Smart feature once or twice, and the 3D only when I bought it, before the novelty wore off.

Chris Beach

January 22, 2013, 12:13 pm

I got last years equivalent, and that was a most excellent bargain and that was £500!

Didn't need Smart features, its connected to a HTPC and a Google TV box, didn't really want 3d as its pretty pointless!

DarthDave

January 25, 2013, 9:59 pm

I'd guess a cheap tablet with HDMI-out would get around the lack of Smart-TV features.

The Spark

September 1, 2013, 7:53 am

LG TVs do not include DTS audio codecs. My 50PA4500 Plasma can't play mkv files encoded with H264 and DTS audio - which makes it pointless seeing as that is the most common way of encoding these days.

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