Where 3D is concerned, we found ourselves less than impressed with the single set of active shutter glasses that ship with the 50PZ950. They cover an adequate amount of your field of vision, but their curved lenses prove rather good at trapping reflections of any light sources that might be around.
Also where 3D is concerned, there’s evidence of crosstalk ghosting noise when watching dark 3D scenes. However, the 50PZ950’s 3D performance also kickstarts our positive findings about its picture quality, for crosstalk is practically non-existent during bright scenes (a million miles, then, from the crosstalk horrors of LG’s entry level 50PW950T). What’s more, the 50PZ950’s 3D pictures look slightly brighter and more colourful than those of LG’s plasma rivals - especially Panasonic.
Depth levels are natural but dynamic too, and 3D motion is handled well, with good levels of clarity and minimal judder. It’s great, too, to be able to see the full HD resolution of 3D Blu-ray discs on this active TV compared with the slight reduction in resolution noted with LG’s passive sets.
The 50PZ950 also delivers some excellent colours after a little calibration work, with a striking combination of respectable vibrancy levels and natural tones - with the possible exception of some fractionally orangey reds. There could, perhaps, be a little more subtlety in the 50PZ950’s handling of colour blends, as there’s a slightly patchy look to skin tones while watching standard definition. But it’s not a major problem, and HD colour blends look immaculate.
HD footage looks crisp and detailed too, especially as there’s no sign of the motion blurring that affects so many LCD TVs. Standard definition pictures don’t enjoy the highest levels of sharpness we’ve seen, but the level of softness is by no means unwatchably bad, and also helps the TV ‘hide’ the sort of MPEG compression and grain noise that can affect standard definition images on big-screen TVs.
The 50PZ950’s pictures are quite bright by plasma standards too - despite LG’s protestations that plasma doesn’t support the passive 3D format because it’s not bright enough. Finally, as usual with plasma TVs, you can watch the 50PZ950’s pictures from almost as wide an angle as you like without images losing contrast or colour saturation - a handy trick you don’t get with LCD TVs.
Keeping the 50PZ950’s pictures company, meanwhile, is a pretty robust audio performance. The set’s speakers are able to go louder without losing dynamic range or clarity than those stuffed into most flat TVs, and there’s even a little bit of bass on hand to flesh out explosions. Vocals - especially male ones - can sound a little thick and ‘buzzy’ at times, but overall the 50PZ950’s audio is perfectly respectable.
While the 50PZ950 talks a good talk in feature terms and its pictures certainly have their moments, overall its image quality doesn’t keep up with the high plasma pace set by Samsung and Panasonic this year. LG also needs to get to grips with its input lag issues if it’s going to start satisfying TrustedReviews’ gaming obsessions...