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LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

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LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV
  • LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV
  • LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV
  • LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV
  • LG Infinia 50PK790 50in Plasma TV
  • INFINIA 50PK750 50" Plasma TV (ATSC - NTSC - HDTV 1080p - 16:9 - 1920 x 1080 - 1080p - Dolby, Surround)

Summary

Our Score:

7

LG has been threatening to make a great plasma TV for quite a few generations now. And the 50in 50PK790 is in most ways the closest the brand has ever come to achieving this greatness. Yet frustratingly, it still doesn’t quite get there, due to one really strange flaw.

We could tell you about this flaw right away, of course. But this would be a bit unfair. For the TV also gets a lot of things right, and so once you know about all the good stuff, it’s possible the flaw I’m talking about might not put you off at least considering buying a 50PK790. Especially as the flaw might not actually be permanent.

Right, this is all getting far too mysterious and cryptic. So let’s get down to the more straightforward reviewing business.

The 50PK790 gets off to a great start by doing what the Korean brands seem to do better than anyone else: looking great. For starters, it sticks out a mere 53mm or so round the back - startlingly slim for a 50in plasma TV. Plus it boasts a sleek finish, bold lines, and the single-layer fascia (where the bezel and screen exist in the same plane) that’s now become a trademark of LG’s ‘posher’ televisions.

One little concern I’d have about this design is the way the top sheet sticks out beyond the main bezel edges, making the TV a little uncomfortable to hold and easily breakable during installation. But of course, these issues only apply when you first get the TV home. Once it’s up and running, you won’t have to worry about them again.

Given how slim and thus wall-friendly the 50PK790 is, it might have been nice if LG had positioned all of its connections with a sideways orientation, a la Samsung’s UE50C8000, rather than having them sticking straight out of the TV’s rear. But at least the connections provided are impressively plentiful.

Four HDMIs get the ball rolling in fairly predictable fashion, but it’s the various multimedia options that really catch my eye. There’s an Ethernet port, for instance, which can do triple duty as 1) the means to use future interactive services delivered by Freeview HD (for yes, it’s another LG TV with a built-in Freeview HD tuner); 2) a means to access files on a DLNA PC; and 3) a connection to LG’s burgeoning new online NetCast service.

I might as well say here that NetCast is currently a limited affair, with just the Picasa online photo album site, YouTube and AccuWeather sites available at the time of writing. But hopefully services such as Skype and maybe a few more video streaming sources will be added to the platform - via free downloaded updates - soon.

The 50PK790 has a USB port to its name, too, through which you can play JPEG photos, MP3 music files and even DivX HD video. Or else use it to make the TV 'wireless' via an optional USB Wi-Fi dongle.

The 50PK790’s most innovative connection, though, is one you can’t actually see: Bluetooth. This lets the TV wirelessly stream in photos and music from Bluetooth enabled phones, or send audio wirelessly to a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

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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