Review Price £449.00
Shadow detail in dark image areas is stronger on the 50PA650T than it is on cheap LCD TVs too, thanks to the way its plasma technology allows it to deliver light on a pixel by pixel basis, rather than having to adapt an 'external' light source to find the best compromise to the suit the image as a whole, as LCD TVs have to.
For the same reason, there's a pleasing and natural dynamism to the 50PA650T's handling of shots that contain a mixture of dark and light content, even though, as we'll cover in a moment, pictures aren't very bright overall.
More excellent news concerns the 50PA650T's handling of motion, as it suffers scarcely a trace of the sort of resolution loss over moving objects that plagues (especially ultra-affordable) rival LCD TVs. Judder is less of a problem than might have been expected too, thanks to the '600Hz' sub-field driving.
We were further pleased while studying motion to find less of the fizzing, posterisation noise over moving skintones than you tend to see even on Panasonic's (otherwise immaculate) high-end plasmas.
This impressive motion handling plays a significant part in helping the 50PA650T's HD pictures look pleasingly (if not earth-shatteringly) sharp and detailed. Do make sure you always turn off the set's noise reduction systems with HD, though, as these these can noticeably soften things up.
When it comes to colours, the 50PA650T again surpasses all expectations raised by its price. Tones across the board tend to look superbly natural - even when the set is asked to handle such tricky fare as the dark tones and deliberately washed out skin tones in Prometheus and Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt II.
A touch of colour banding over backdrops from time to time shows that the set doesn't have enough colour processing power to resolve quite as many colour gradations as the best tellies. But the same can be said of plasmas costing much more. And in any case, for most of the time we wouldn't describe the banding as a major issue, as it very seldom affects foreground objects or skin tones.
Another surprisingly credible part of the 50PA650T's picture make up is its highly presentable upscaling of standard definition sources. Provided you deactivate the noise-inducing Edge Enhancement system, LG's upscaling makes standard definition look sharper without adding undue amounts of noise or losing its touch with colours.
Of course, no sub-£450 plasma TV is going to come without its fair share of performance compromises. With the 50PA650T, these kick off with some pretty noticeable image retention, whereby the most ‘active’ pixels in the image can leave a shadowy trace of that activity behind for a moment or two. For instance, bright logos or the menus can leave shadowy outlines behind even after you've cancelled them, and you can clearly see where the main image had appeared within the black bars to top and bottom after you've been watching a 2.35:1-ratio presentation.
The good news is that actually you don't tend to see these temporary retention artefacts very often under normal viewing situations. Even better, experience suggests that the problem will reduce over time, likely not being much of an issue at all after 100 hours or so of use.
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