So far the 50PS7000 has done nothing but add to the sense that its price is almost absurdly low. And wouldn’t you just know it, this theme continues into its onscreen menus.
For starters, I must stick both thumbs up for the superb presentation of the 50PS7000’s onscreen menus. Once a weakness of LG’s TVs, the new, gorgeously graphics-heavy and intuitively organised HD menus now rate as possibly the best in the TV world.
The set is keen to reinforce its obvious user-friendly credentials, moreover, via a Picture Wizard tool. This, as its name suggests, helps you calibrate the set’s picture quality with the assistance of a little selection of basic but mostly effective built-in test patterns.
The way that the Picture Wizard encourages even technophobic AV novices to at least have a go at improving the set’s picture quality is really pleasing – especially given the generally poor state of play regarding many flat TVs’ factory presets.
Not that the 50PS7000 is only out to cater for novices, mind you. For starters, a couple of preset memory slots are provided for engineers from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), should you want to employ one to come and professionally calibrate pictures to suit your particular room environment.
Also, as I’d expect of any TV with ISF approval, the 50PS7000 really does go the extra mile in terms of the number of picture tweaks it puts at your disposal. Among the options provided is a degree of colour management – always a favourite with professional installers. But you also get a wide colour gamut option; the ability to adjust the set’s core gamma setting over quite a wide range, optional dynamic colour and contrast processors, and an actually eminently avoidable (as it makes the picture too noisy) edge enhancement feature.
And so we finally get to the moment of truth. Will the 50PS7000 restore my faith in LG’s plasma talents? Sadly, not really. Though things are perhaps marginally better than they are on the 42PQ6000.
As a show of good faith, let’s focus on the TV’s good points first. Which start with the fact that it’s an excellent purveyor of HD detail and clarity, getting maximum impact out of its native Full HD resolution. Just remember that as noted a moment ago, you can actually push the set’s sharpness too far if you forget to turn off the Edge Enhancement tool. Also, at the other extreme, you can over-soften things if you forget to turn off the noise reduction routines – routines which, of course, you should actually never use with HD material.
It’s worth adding here that some of the HD clarity I’m talking about can be laid at the door of the set’s 600Hz frame interpolation processing (something I’ve just realised I forgot to mention when talking about features earlier!). For while not as effective as Panasonic’s 600Hz system, the way it reduces dithering, increases the sense of image solidity and, to my eyes at least, reduces the appearance of judder make it a worthwhile addition to the spec sheet.