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.