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You've got to hand it to those Koreans: they sure know a thing or two about TV design. Samsung and LG have both been leading lights in TV aesthetics for a couple of generations now, and if LG's sumptuous-looking new 50PG6000 plasma TV is anything to go by, their uncanny designer knack is showing no sign of diminishing.
Immediately it catches your eye in just the right way with its reflective black bezel, gracefully curved-back bottom edge and lovely little crescent to the bottom right housing the power light. What's more, closer inspection reveals the design to be as innovative as it is elegant, for as well as the whole huge screen sitting on a swivelling mount, its front appears entirely ‘frameless'. By which I mean that unlike most TVs, the screen isn't recessed back from the bezel, but seems to sit pretty much flush with it, with a glass-like finishing ‘cover' over the lot.
This delightful design element isn't just for show, either. For it's actually LG's alternative solution to its old ‘film filter' technology, whereby the thick two-level glass panel at the front of most plasma TVs was replaced by a single colour filter to remove plasma's image ghosting phenomenon (when viewing off-axis) and improve contrast by reducing onscreen reflections. The new design solves the old colour filter problem of the screen being rather weak, and apparently also introduces further brightness and contrast benefits. All in all, it's not hard to see how the 50PG6000 won an Innovation award at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Turning our attentions reluctantly away from the 50PG6000's gorgeous fascia, we find a further treat or two amid its connections - particularly the provision of no less than four HDMI inputs. What's more, all these HDMIs are built to the latest v1.3 specification, and can take in all video formats including 1080p/24fps. Other highlights include a component video input, an optical digital audio output, a dedicated D-Sub PC port, and even a USB 2.0 port that can accept JPEG and MP3 files.
An investigation of the 50PG6000's inner specifications uncovers a remarkably high claimed contrast ratio of 30,000:1 (delivered via a combination of the new Frameless Design and improvements to LG's image processing), a promisingly high brightness level of 1,500cd/m2, and a native resolution of 1,366 x 768.