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LG 50PX990 - More Features, and First Picture Impressions

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The 50PX990’s endorsements don’t end with THX, either. For it also sports a couple of preset picture slots designed for use by the Imaging Science Foundation - a result of the ISF having been satisfied that the 50PX990 has sufficient calibration tools to be professionally adjusted by one of its engineers.

Among these tools are a pretty full colour management system and a series of gamma controls, all of which can yield definite improvements to the TV’s picture quality.

Other potentially important tools in the 50PX990’s arsenal include ‘600Hz’ sub-field drive technology for reducing judder, and the inclusion within the plasma panel of one of LG’s TruBlack filters. These filters distinguish LG’s flagship plasmas from models one step down the range, and are designed to reduce ambient reflections and boost contrast.

There are two more things to note about the 50PX990 before we start checking out its pictures, one good, one bad. The good thing is how superbly easy to use it is, thanks to a superbly presented and well-organised onscreen menu system. The bad news is that LG’s NetCast online system continues to severely underwhelm, with mere YouTube, Picasa and AccuWeather support. Hopefully LG will deliver on its promises of a much-improved online platform for 2011.

Kicking off our assessment of the 50PK990’s picture quality with those THX-endorsed 3D images, we immediately scanned our 3D sources for evidence of crosstalk noise. And two things become quickly apparent.

First, the 50PK990 suffers markedly less with crosstalk than any of LG’s other, non-plasma 3D TVs bar the non-HD, passive 3D model, the 47LD950. It also suffers less with crosstalk than LCD TVs from other brands. This immediately makes its 3D images look more credible and more detailed. Even better, it means you can watch 3D for long enough stretches to actually enjoy a 3D film from start to finish without a break/Nurofen. Handy.

However, before you get too carried away, it’s also clear that the 50PX990’s 3D pictures aren’t as completely crosstalk-free as those of Panasonic’s 3D plasma sets - a fact which is enough in itself to justify the higher price of Panasonic’s 3D sets.

The 50PX990 is more of an unqualified success with the brightness and colour of its 3D pictures. In both these respects it actually outperforms the Panasonic 3D class leaders. The extra brightness in the LG’s 3D pictures means, too, that there’s a bit more shadow detail in dark scenes than you get with the Panasonic sets.

The 50PX990’s 3D pictures are similar in terms of crosstalk levels to Samsung’s recently reviewed PS50C6900, but the LG feels slightly richer than that model when it comes to black level response.

It’s now become pretty much de rigueur to include 2D to 3D conversion processing on 3D TVs (unless you’re Philips). Personally we’re not fans of these systems, since no matter how well they work, they’re no match for a true ‘3D from source’ experience. But if you really do fancy watching EastEnders in slightly odd 3D, then the LG converter does as solid a job as most systems.

All in all, while not perfect, the 50PX990’s 3D pictures can be classed as very good indeed for such an affordable 3D set.

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.

Enigma

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.

GoldenGuy

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?

Leo550

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?

cliche

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

Enigma

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 :)

GoldenGuy

December 11, 2010, 10:06 pm

@Geoff





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.

Enigma

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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