Another issue is that while better than those of most LCD TVs, the 50PS8000’s black levels aren’t as profound as the best we’ve seen from Panasonic, Samsung and, of course, Pioneer. There’s definitely a slight grey-green undercast to the blackness of a night sky or dark suit that you don’t get with the best plasma offerings.
Next, while the 600Hz operation doesn’t generate many nasty side effects, nor does it have a particularly positive impact on picture quality. Maybe there’s a little less blur around than you’d normally see, but the picture still judders a touch when watching films – or, at least, 1080p/24 Blu-ray films.
To be fair, the impact of this judder is much less pronounced than it is on, say, the cheap 37in Panasonic plasma we tested last week. And in fact I suspect some, possibly many, cinephiles will prefer the slightly film-like stutter visible with films to complete and utter fluidity. But if you were expecting a number as high as 600 to at least deliver the option of complete fluidity, you’re out of luck.
Next, no matter what picture preset mode I used (even the THX one), I occasionally felt as if pictures had a tiny orange or green undertone to them.
Finally, I have to say that the 50PS8000 really isn’t a very hot standard definition performer at all. The slight colour issues mentioned earlier occur more often, especially where skin tones are concerned. Standard def skin also tends to look very plasticky thanks to a lack of sharpness, detailing and colour nuancing. And finally pictures generally look rather soft, even with the noise reduction processing only set to low. You can try and improve things using the TV’s edge enhancement and sharpness tools, but both of these really just make the picture look more inconsistent and noisy – especially the edge enhancement system, which generally creates a nasty glowing halo effect around any edge it sharpens.
The 50PS8000’s sound comes courtesy of LG’s Invisible Speaker system, where the TV’s whole bezel effectively acts as a speaker. And with plenty of bezel to work with, the system works very well. Trebles are particularly well handled, with effects being propelled beyond the screen’s boundaries with accuracy and without harshness. The mid-range also sounds attractively open and powerful, ensuring that even action movie scenes don’t sound cramped. Bass is the set’s ‘weakest link’ sonically speaking, but while no great depths of bass are achieved, what there is sounds punchy enough to add drama without overwhelming the mid-range.
How much you like the 50PS8000 is directly connected to how much money you’ve got to spend and how much HD you’ve got to watch. If you’re feeling the pinch, getting 50in of bright, colourful, good-with-HD pictures, a nice design and bags of connections and features for £1,200 probably sounds too good to be true. However, even the 50PS8000’s reams of features can’t make its pictures as good overall as those found on the best Samsung, Pioneer and Panasonic plasmas, especially if you spend most of your time watching standard definition.