With all the shiny new 2011 TV models waiting in the wings, there are some remarkable bargains to be had on 2010's ranges if you’re willing to sniff them out. But no other potential bargain we’ve seen quite compares with LG’s 50PJ350.
For this 50in plasma TV can currently be yours for just £516.34. Yes, that’s £516.34. Good grief. If things carry on like this, you’ll soon be able to get a 15in LG TV for tuppence.
With a price as low as this, it probably doesn’t matter if the 50PJ350 is actually any good or not. There will surely be plenty of people out there unable to resist the simple screen size/cost equation, no matter how iffy the TV’s performance standards might turn out to be.
If you’re taking the time to read this review, however, chances are you’re a bit more discerning than your average impulse bargain buyer. So while we must always have the 50PJ350’s truly remarkable price in the forefront of our mind throughout this review, we will certainly be keeping a sharp eye out for the inevitable compromises LG must have made in order to put together the set so cheaply.
Probably the single most glaring ‘compromise’ of the 50PJ350 is its use of an HD Ready 1,366 x 768 resolution rather than the full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixel count we now expect of almost every TV we see.
It's also no surprise that the 50PJ350 doesn’t sport a Freeview HD tuner - just a standard definition Freeview one. Furthermore, the set only boasts two HDMIs, and doesn’t go nearly as big a bundle on multimedia features as most LG sets; there are no online services, and the only files a single provided USB port can handle are JPEGs and MP3s. Video playback from USB is not on the menu.
There is one area where the 50PJ350 is impressively well specified, though: picture setup tools. In fact, the set carries a couple of ISF picture preset slots - where ISF stands for, of course, the independent Imaging Science Foundation, which only lends its name to TVs it deems flexible enough to be professionally calibrated by one of its trained engineers.