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LG 50PX990 - 2D Pictures and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Happily its 2D imaging is no slouch, either. The black level advantage over the Samsung PS50C6900 becomes more pronounced with 2D fare, for instance, and leaves dark scenes feel engaging and credible.

We also noted more clearly with 2D just how impeccably sharp and detailed the 50PX990 is when showing HD material - and it achieves this without generating unhealthy amounts of noise or grain.

Motion is clear and reasonably fluid with careful/conservative use of the set’s motion processing tools, too, and colours are extremely fully saturated for a plasma TV.

Actually, at times colours during 2D viewing can look a bit over-wrought, especially where reds and some skin tones are concerned. In fact, we have a sneaky suspicion that the 50PX990’s colours have been calibrated to best suit 3D viewing rather than 2D viewing. But it doesn’t take too much time playing with the various colour management tools to make things much better.

We also need to qualify the set’s black level response, though. For while it certainly plummets deeper blacks than the Samsung PS50C6900, it falls short of Panasonic’s black level prowess, as well as the black level efforts of one or two of the best direct LED TVs.

The 50PX990‘s most aggravating picture flaw, though, is image retention. This once common plasma flaw has been more or less dealt with by other plasma brands, but we’ve found it a problem on all LG plasma TVs we’ve seen this year.

To be fair, the effect - which finds ghostly traces of bright image elements lingering for some moments over subsequent dark footage - isn’t as pronounced on the 50PX990 as it has been on LG plasma sets without the TruBlack filter. And we’d like to think that the retention issue would diminish over time, until eventually it could disappear altogether. But we can’t guarantee this will be the case.

In any case, though, we really don’t see why anyone should have to put up with such a potentially distracting problem even in the short term when other plasma brands have pretty much eliminated it.

The last picture comment to make is that our measurements suggest a little more input lag with the 50PX990 than we would ideally like - around 60ms or so. This could be just enough to fractionally reduce a really competitive gamer’s edge - though to be honest, it had little if any impact on our merely fair to middling Call of Duty skills.

Wrapping up the 50PX990’s performance with its sound, it performs exactly as we would expect a thin modern TV to perform. Which is to say that while it’s not bad with high-pitched sounds and spot effects, and can make voices sound pretty well-rounded for most of the time, it doesn’t have the raw power to avoid sounding compressed when the soundstage gets dense. There’s really not much bass around, either.


The generally very likeable 50PX990 provides yet more proof that the first battle in the 3D war has been won by plasma technology. For while its 3D pictures certainly aren’t completely crosstalk-free, they are much more watchable over a long period of time than those of any LCD TV bar, possibly, Philips’ vastly more expensive PFL9000 series.

The 50PX990 is a generally good 2D performer too, with its only really significant problems being a weak online service and distracting image retention - the latter of which bothered us enough to nudge the set’s overall mark down to an 8 from what would otherwise have been a comfortable 9.

Nikola Runev

December 9, 2010, 6:33 pm

This TV has quite a few more programs in the NetCast menu. You just need to upgrade the firmware. It is automatic if the TV is on the net.


December 9, 2010, 7:51 pm

Why is it that "2D Picture Quality" are often lower than 3D?

Why oh why do manufactures consistently produce tvs with high scores for picture quality but with sound quality scores just above average? Is the sound technology soooo difficult to master? In this day an age it should easily be 9/10 scores.

Good price point given the scores. 50inch 3D tv is equivalent to 40inch tv - in my humble opinion. So well done to LG.


December 9, 2010, 11:54 pm

Well done on quoting input lag figures, guys. In my admittedly limited gaming experience, you may be understating the problem at 60ms and IMHO, ideally you don't really wanna go past 40ms for any FPS, but especially for a music game. I assume that was with a gaming mode turned on which is pretty bad, so how much worse was it with it left off, and all the processing bells and whistles slowing it down?


December 10, 2010, 4:14 pm

How come this TV is the only one accredited with THX cerification where one of the criteria is the crosstalk issue and at the same time you find that the issue of crosstalk of other uncertified products is much less than this TV.

Are there different standards for different reviewers?


December 11, 2010, 1:42 am

wohoo input lag figures ! I bought my Samsung 120hz 2233 because of low input lag. Nearly 40 and still doing well on twitch gaming - kept my old Sony CRT Trinitron exclusively for that reason alone


December 11, 2010, 5:34 am

Furthermore, why even bother with two puny speakers for 46inch and larger tvs?

"Traditional stereo speakers setups have one shortcoming above all others: to hear the left and right channels in the correct balance you have to sit in a rather particular position, or sweet spot. Stray too far left or right and the spatiality is lost. Not so with the Orbitsound T12 v2 Soundbar; using a nifty technology it dubs 'spatial stereo' the Orbitsound T12 v2 radiates stereo sound the full stereo effect of which is experienced no matter where you place yourself in relation to it." from here http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Why not leave out the speakers and start supplying as standard a sound bar instead? This is the 21st century! It's even more imperative with 3D tvs.

I bet a decent sound bar doesn't cost any more or much more than the standard stereo speakers.

Geoff Richards

December 11, 2010, 3:35 pm

@Enigma: I know what you mean, but I can't see it ever happening en mass, for several reasons.

Primarily, cost. With soundbars retailing for £150-300, I can't see how that would be comparable to a couple of small in-built TV which are surely included for £20.

The counter argument is that these are "premium" models so you could absorb the extra cost of the soundbar. Fair point, but sadly one of the modern marketing-led sales point is "slimness" and having a 50" hanging unobtrusively on the wall above the fireplace is the appeal for some. Having an external soundbar adds bulk and additional cabling.

I'm sure enthusiasts would love a super-slim bezel by ditching the on-board speakers that all of us never use because we run beefy 7.1 Onkyo receivers but I can also see that some people would say "I'm spending £1,000 on a flatscreen - what's all this other crap? I don't want this mess - why can't they just build it in?"

Tell you what - I'll see if I can get some official comments from manufacturers on this very topic in a couple of weeks when we're at CES reporting on all the 2011 models :)


December 11, 2010, 10:06 pm


I quite like Enigma's suggestion about manufacturers essentially offering a TV/soundbar bundle, but it's still very depressing to me that the consensus seems to be for TVs to just give up on the sound component of the experience. I've commented here many times before that televisions should be delivering on the promise of one complete aural-visual experience given how much of that experience is down to sound, in everything we consume - drama, gaming, even the rapturous cheering during the footy. Just turning TVs into over-sized computer monitors, and telling us to sod off and sort the audio side our properly ourselves, sort of breaks the contract with the consumer (or at least this consumer).

Having said that, the tide doesn't seem to be turning, what with the gimmicks of thinness and 3D ruling the roost, so I'd very much like for you to get round to reviewing that Yamaha virtual 7.1 TV stand solution, featured in your news items not that long ago. Seems to perfectly deal with the dreaded mess you refer to, and while it'll never rival an actual speaker and sub setup, I have high hopes for it's sound quality given Yamaha's pedigree.


December 12, 2010, 2:29 am

@Geoff - Thanks for you comments.

The thing is if the retail price of a bar is £150-300 then I bet the factory-gate price is about £20-50!!!

It would be interesting to ask what the factory price of the 46-52inch 3D tvs.

""slimness" and having a 50" hanging unobtrusively on the wall above the fireplace is the appeal for some. Having an external soundbar adds bulk and additional cabling."

Anyone buying a large tv is most likely to ALSO want a sound system. In any case what about wireless soundbars?

I look forward to your reports.

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