LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV - LG Infinia 50PK790

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

LG has done a great job in recent years of providing its TVs with exceptionally comprehensive set up tools, which here results in endorsements - and picture presets - from both the THX group and the Imaging Science Foundation.

The sort of tools available to these professional - and you amateur! - calibrators include an extensive colour management system, as well as gamma adjustments, and all manner of switchable small-fry picture processors such as dynamic contrast and colour boosters.

While this all has the potential to make the 50PK790 quite complicated to use, in fact it’s a breeze, thanks to a superb GUI that’s easy to follow and careful to make sure you only need to delve into its options as deeply as you feel comfortable with. There’s even a little Picture Wizard feature that generates a few test patterns and guides you through how to use them to make your picture look better.

Aside from the 50PK790’s use of a 600Hz sub-field drive engine similar to that sported by Panasonic plasma TVs, the only other, slightly curious feature worth mentioning is a small collection of ultra-basic games tucked away on internal memory. Though to be honest, these games are so ultra-basic that it’s hard to imagine anyone older than three actually playing them for more than five seconds.

The 50PK790’s picture quality is for the most part a big improvement over the slightly disappointing efforts of many of its previous plasma generation.

Especially impressive is how much deeper blacks manage to get when the TV is showing dark scenes. There’s only the faintest trace left of the quite pronounced greyness I’d noted on last year’s models, leaving dark scenes looking natural, layered, detailed and dynamic.

It should be said that the 50PK790’s black levels don’t quite keep up with those of Panasonic’s recently reviewed TX-P42G20B, but that doesn’t stop them from rating as excellent by affordable flat TV standards.

I also found the 50PK790’s colours to be far superior to those of LG’s previous plasmas, since this time they combine LG’s trademark punchiness and vibrancy with much more accurate and subtly differentiated tones. These tones hold up markedly better than they did on last year’s models, too, when you switch to a standard definition feed - though there’s still room for improvement here.

Next, the 50PK790’s pictures are phenomenally sharp with HD sources, especially since the accuracy with which proceedings are mapped to the screen’s Full HD pixel count isn’t disturbed by any significant motion blur. There’s only the tiniest trace of judder, too - and what judder there is actually looks pretty natural to my eyes.

There seem to be less obvious processing side-effects to the set’s motion processing as well, making it an easier choice to leave the ‘Film Mode’ on more or less permanently.

davidcrofter

May 1, 2010, 4:55 am

Shame that as I was expecting LG to start solving IR in 2010 ... probably it will only be a problem in one or two sets perhaps??





Also not sure how you go about getting to that OVERALL score:


9/10


9/10


7/10


8/10


8/10





and OVERALL which I guess most people will use to purchase or not 7/10.


How does that work exactly??

Mitch

May 2, 2010, 4:48 pm

I must agree - the overall score is 8.2/10





It is illogical to give high scores when the overall score is not reflective.





'Tis a shame indeed.

Ed

May 2, 2010, 6:48 pm

Quite simply, our overall scores are not a summation of the other scores, though more often than not they do correlate. Admitedly this is an extreme example but there is still logic to it: image quality is the most important aspect of a TV so the overall score is weighted to reflect this. Another example is if an iPod dock looks great, is easy to use, is competitively priced, but sounds rubbish, it's going to have a poor overall score.

davidcrofter

May 2, 2010, 10:11 pm

Ah that it explains it a bit better ...


But I am guessing if it was not for the Image Retention issues on this particular TV (have seen other LG 2010 reviews and IR has not been a problem) it would Score a 9 on Image Quality and the same in the Overall scheme of things.





Does that sound about right??

Mitch

May 3, 2010, 10:39 pm

Ed, with all due respect, I disagree with your usage of the word overall. Is it not supposed to reflect all factors, not just the ones you believe are the most important?


In your iPod dock example, if all other scores were say, less than 5/10, but the sound reproduction scored a 10/10, you would give it 9/10 or higher?


You could of course not give any scoring at all for the features, design etc - but just give an overall score and let the reviewer pass or fail the various factors in the written review.


This would make more sense as the reviewers comments are generally well written at TR and typically consider factors that other sites skim over.


I appreciate it is difficult when considering what final mark to give something, and it must be even harder when a 9/10 today could be a 8/10 tomorrow as new technologies and models enter the market, skewing the figures somewhat, however I feel this is an area worth consideration.

Ed

May 4, 2010, 1:39 pm

@davidcroft: That does indeed sound about right.





@Mitch: You're kind of missing the point. I'm not talking about dismissing other factors entirely, just giving them more emphasis. Also, this isn't subjective weighting here, this is cold hard consideration of the fact that the image quality of a TV is the most important element. There's just no two ways around that.





As for a single score, let's just say we're thinking about it.

paul

May 5, 2010, 2:45 am

I am really worried now i have a LG pk590 coming any day now,cnet have tested it and no mention of ir,maybe because its a different range from the infinia, hopefully it will be ok or its going straight back.

Richard 27

May 6, 2010, 12:20 am

I was thinking about getting one too but after reading this I'm not too sure...so what would be a better alternative, for a 50" that offers all of the 790s spec costing approx 1k but without the IR prob? thanks

Cookie

June 14, 2010, 9:08 pm

Hi,


yeah I was thinking about getting a LG 50PK590, will that share the same IR problems as both the 790 and the 990, or will it not necesarily be so bad, considering it is not part of the "infinia" series.





@paul how did you find it? did you end up sending it back, or did it turn out ok?





I have heard very good things about the 550 and no one has mentioned anything about serious image retention problems.





Thanks in advance, Cook.

paul

June 22, 2010, 4:52 am

cookie,sorry took so long to answer,i love the lg pk590,cant say ive seen any image retention,great hd picture sd pretty good depends what channel your watching ,quite slim with a slim frame,played cod 4 on it fantastic colours and no motion blur,


of course there are better tvs but for around £712 i cant see a better buy at the moment.


Amazon are selling it £718 and rgb direct £712 both free delivery.

Cookie

July 5, 2010, 10:14 pm

Thanks a lot paul; probably gonna pick a pk590 up fairly soon then.


It seems like a much better deal than the 790 or 990, i don't know why TR don't review the "pick of the bunch".

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