The LG PA4500's greatest achievement in terms of picture quality is color saturation; it's able to get rich colors out of source material and provide plenty of punch. Shadow detail is also a strength, providing a 3D-like depth to images.
On the other hand its black levels suffer from being relatively light, and so these same images lack oomph and solidity. Color accuracy is also a weak point, with a little too much red in the skin tones. Those negatives outweigh the positives when comparing the PA4500 with its peers.
Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV’s picture controls worked during calibration.
Black level: One of the best things about LG providing a 20-point scale is that it enables users to dial in better shadow detail, and I found this to be the case with the PA4500. There's not much you can do with black levels without affecting the overall brightness of the picture but I found that with tweaking the PA4500 had some of the best shadow detail in our lineup.
At the start of "Batman Begins," Bruce Wayne is languishing against a brick wall in solitary confinement while Ducard stands above him. On a TV with poor shadow detail the bricks above Ducard's head aren't visible, just a dark splodge; the sparse light illuminating the cell could become overblown as well. On the LG the outline of the bricks was discernable and gave more depth to the scene.
Black levels, on the other hand, aren't among the TV's better points. While it performed as well, and even better at times than the more expensive PA6500, it wasn't able to generate the solidity of the equally priced Samsung E450. As black level is the most important aspect of a TV's picture, the Samsung is a better choice for this reason alone.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Samsung PN51E550||51-inch plasma|
|Sony KDL-46EX640||46-inch, LCD|
|Panasonic TC-P50X5||50-inch plasma|
|Samsung PN51E450||51-inch plasma|
Color accuracy: In general, the LG's color was relatively good, with skin tones and reds more vibrant than the A6500's but more natural than some of the other TVs'. In comparison with the Samsung E550, though, the color wasn't as vivid nor as accurate.
Video processing: LG has traditionally been strong when it comes to video processing, and even on this "lowly" plasma, the company's strengths still shine through. The TV was able to ace both the 24p compliance test and also showed the fewest errors in the comparison during our 1080i scaling test.
On the flipside it also evinced more solarization, or false contouring, than the others. "The Tree of Life," one of our favorite test discs at the moment, caused those visible contours in what should appear as smooth gradations. At the 24:22 mark, for example, a sun rises over another planet, and in the fading light the LG showed a green band not apparent on any of the other TVs. The best TV in this roundup, the Samsung E450, showed smooth gradations of the light flare moving from white hot to the inkiness of deep space.
From a technical point of view, this TV wasn't very good at locking in the colors I spent hours locking in. Testing the TV again on three different occasions gave wildly different readings -- especially in terms of grayscale. Feel free to use the calibration settings, but know that these might change depending on the right ascension of Uranus or if the TV sees its own shadow.
Bright lighting: Of the assembled group of plasma TVs, the LG 42PA4500 was one of the better models for bright rooms, showing less browning and more punchiness than on some of the others. The screen is quite reflective, though; as a result it showed more of the "shiny" things in the room than a TV like the Samsung E450 would.
Power consumption: The LG is a power miser compared with higher-end plasma TVs. With their 1,024x764-pixel resolutions, both the LG and the Samsung E450 have less than half of the plasma cells of 1080p plasmas, so I wasn't surprised to see they used about half the power. Due to the smaller size (42 inches versus 51 inches), the LG used even less power, at 110W, than the Samsung, at 124W. Both TVs are quite power-efficient for plasmas, but they still use more juice than all but the largest LED TVs.
|LG 42PA4500||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||163.05||110.48||78.108|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.22||0.15||0.1|
|Cost per year||$35.84||$24.31||$17.22|
|Score (considering size)||Average|
|GEEK BOX: Test||Result||Score|
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0205||Poor|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.313/0.3342||Good|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3118/0.3135||Poor|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3133/0.3291||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||6516.9361||Good|
|After avg. color temp.||6510.6542||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||2.6775||Average|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||1.2275||Good|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||1.061||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.218/0.3177||Average|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3044/0.1396||Poor|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.412/0.519||Poor|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i Deinterlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||600||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|