Elsewhere you’ll find separate user adjustments for flesh-, green- and blue-tones in the picture; MPEG noise reduction options to smooth away the blocking noise generated by many digital broadcasts and a few low-rent DVDs; a black level booster for making dark picture areas look richer; and picture in picture tools. And still we’ve only really covered the tip of the feature iceberg.
So far it’s nearly impossible to ratify the 50PC1D’s £1,280 price tag with the design prowess, connectivity and features it has to offer. But sadly the one place where the lowly price perhaps does find an expression is in the TV’s picture quality.
The first things to make a negative impression on us are the TV’s colours. Sure, there’s a rare intensity and vibrancy by plasma standards to the way the set presents such colour-rich fare as Viva Pinata on the Xbox 360 or Superman Returns on HD DVD. But this richness is sadly seemingly only achieved at the expense of colour tones that look far more unnatural – gaudy, even – than we’re remotely comfortable with. Skin tones are particularly hard hit by the 50PC1D’s colour problems, frequently looking almost disturbingly over-ripe and flushed.
To be fair, if you push the set’s colour setting down right to around a third of its maximum setting, some of the problems we’re describing become considerably reduced. But they never completely go away – and with colours desaturated to this extent, the picture also starts to lose its vibrancy and sense of solidity.
Fighting hard to distract your attention away from the colour failings, though, is another howler in the shape of some really pretty excessive video noise. And we’re not just talking about one type of noise either; in fact, the set suffers with MPEG blocking from digital sources (including its own digital tuner); grain (especially with analogue sources); and motion noise in the form of fizzing dots over objects moving horizontally across the screen.