So not the most illustrious start for the 50PW450T but before writing is of completely, there are a few positives to note. For a start it has a built-in Freeview HD tuner – an excellent surprise to find on such a cheap big-screen TV. What’s more, LG even somehow manages to chuck in a single pair of its active shutter 3D glasses for free as well. This makes the lack of any pairs with other much more expensive 3D sets we’ve tested recently seem all the more stingy.
The 50PW450T also provides enough picture calibration tools, including most notably a colour management system, to have secured the backing of the Imaging Science Foundation. There are thus two ISF slots among the picture preset memories, and actually you first have to choose one of these if you want to access the more in-depth calibration tools like the colour management system.
The 50PW450T even delivers a modicum of multimedia support, as a USB port proves able to handle music, photo and (h.264/DivX HD) video formats. The set doesn’t carry LG’s Smart TV system, though, and nor does it let you access files on a networked DLNA PC. And finally – in what could be another deal breaker for some of our readers – the screen isn’t full HD, instead using one of those old 1024×768 resolutions we used to see on plasma TVs of yesteryear.
Some – though certainly not all – of the features we’ve just been through have started to rescue the 50PW450T a bit from the hole dug for it by its 3D images. But its biggest saving grace by far is its 2D HD picture quality, as it makes Blu-rays and Freeview HD broadcasts actually look quite good.
There are three main elements to the 50PW450T’s 2D HD success. First, the pictures look surprisingly sharp for such a large screen that doesn’t have a full HD resolution. Second, while the set’s black level response isn’t nearly as good as that of the best new plasma screens from Panasonic and Samsung, compared with most LCD TVs it is rich, consistent and reasonably good at retaining shadow detail. Finally, although colours lack finesse (which we’ll go into more in a moment), they are quite vivid for a plasma TV, and so join with the decent black level response in helping HD pictures look agreeably dynamic.
It’s worth adding too, of course, that the 50PW450T’s use of plasma means it’s free from the viewing angle limitations associated with LCD TVs, and also suffers with practically no motion blur at all.