LG PS80 plasma TV series streams Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, local media, kitchen sink

Despite image quality a notch or two below competing plasmas, the LG PS80 series will win over shoppers who prioritize built-in video streaming.

The media-rich LG PS80 is also one of the most stylish plasmas we've seen this year. Sarah Tew/CNET

When LG announced its LG PS80 series of plasma TVs at CES 2009, the series earned one of our three nominations for Best of CES in the TV category. We've already reviewed the other two nominees--Panasonic's G10 plasmas and Vizio's VF551XVT LED-based LCD--and both scored higher than the PS80. It's not that we're disappointed in the interactive features that originally caused us to nominate the LG. Those include built-in Netflix streaming, which is still an LG exclusive (at least until Sony turns its own version on , or Samsung or Vizio step up), Yahoo Widgets, and YouTube capability. Since then LG has also added the high-definition eye candy of Vudu's on-demand video rental service. Those interactive add-ons work great, and combined with LG's picture adjustment prowess they comprise the most impressive features list seen on any plasma this year.

Unfortunately for the PS80, its picture quality impressed us less. Its lighter black levels are the main culprit, abetted by it below-par video processing and even minor image retention--all areas that other plasma TVs outperform the LG. On the other hand its color accuracy is still very good, and of course it enjoys the off-angle fidelity of plasma that easily trounces any LCD. Armed with superb style and that stellar features list, the LG PS80 might still appeal to people willing to focus less on picture quality than on built-in content options.

Read the full review of the LG PS80 series.

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

 

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