LG Infinia PX950 review: LG Infinia PX950

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Produces relatively deep black levels; accurate color overall; correctly handles 1080p/24 sources; solid 3D performance; plenty of streaming and interactive features; extensive picture controls; sleek styling with single-plane design and 2-inch-deep panel; Magic Wand remote works well.

The Bad Lighter black levels than some flagship plasma TVs; blue oversaturated slightly; ineffective 2D-to-3D conversion; fewer apps and services than many other interactive models have; exhibits some temporary image retention; inefficient power use; Magic Wand remote feels like a gimmick.

The Bottom Line With excellent performance showing either 2D or 3D material, the LG PX950 series stands among the best plasma TVs this year.

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When we reviewed LG's former flagship plasma in July, the PK950 series, we called it the best the company had ever produced and a worthy contender to Panasonic and Samsung. Its new boss at the top of LG's totem pole, the PX950, is basically the same TV plus 3D. LG differentiates the PX from the 3D competition by endowing it with the first THX Display certification for 3D sources, and THX assured us that said certification process is no walk in the park. The end result, according to our subjective comparison, is very good 3D picture quality indeed, albeit not significantly better than other makers' top 3D plasma TVs. Add to that the PX950's laudable 2D performance, as well as LG's sleek external styling, and you have one of the most appealing HDTVs available yet.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 50-inch LG 50PX950, but this review also applies to the 60-inch version. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

Models in series (details)
LG 50PX950 (reviewed) 50 inches
LG 60PX950 60 inches

Design


The LG PX950's blue-edged bezel is flush with the screen for a cleaner look.

Design highlights
Panel depth 2.1 inches Bezel width 1.5 inches
Single-plane face Yes Swivel stand Yes
Other: Transparent edge and stand stalk

LG is the only current plasma maker to offer the sleekness of a single-pane face--where the picture and the frame are both fronted by the same pane of glass--and the PX950 looks almost exactly like the PK950 from the outside. There's a transparent stand stalk and transparent edges (both originated by Samsung, but who's counting?), as well a glass-topped stand base. Overall we like the PX950's looks a lot--although not quite as much as the matte finish of Samsung plasmas like the

For what it's worth, the depth of the LG falls in the middle between the Panasonic (3.5 inches) and slim Samsung (1.4 inches) models.


A transparent stand stalk adds another sleek touch.

Remote control and menus
Remote size (LxW) 9.2 x 1.8 inches Remote screen N/A
Total keys 45 Backlit keys 38
Other IR devices controlled No RF control of TV No
Shortcut menu Yes Onscreen explanations Yes
Other: Secondary motion-sensitive remote control

One extra found in LG's flagship 2010 products like the PX950 is the "Magic Wand" remote, which behaves much like the Wiimote motion controller used on the Nintendo Wii. LG's little clicker fits well in the hand, and its few buttons are easy to find by feel, but you really only need two: Home and Select. The former calls up a simplified menu system and a big cursor control, and moving the remote itself to point the cursor activates menu items.

LG PX950 SERIES
LG's Magic Wand remote works like a Nintendo Wii controller, allowing you to manipulate menu items by waving the wand.

LG PX950 SERIES
The Wand summons a specialized, simplified menu system to ease accessibility via pointer.

The accuracy of the pointer was very good--better in our experience than even the Wiimote itself--and the jumbo icons help a lot, although annoyingly the wand didn't operate within apps like Netflix or Yahoo widgets. But soon the novelty of the system wore off and we ended up preferring the standard menu system and multibutton remote, which required only thumb movement. We can imagine some users intimidated by lots of menu selections might appreciate the Magic Wand, but for most others it's just a gimmick.

LG's standard clicker is a long, thin (thoroughly unmagical) wand with decent button differentiation and friendly, rubberized keys. We liked the bulge in the middle that corresponds with a convenient notch on the underside for your index finger; we missed direct infrared control of other devices. The main menus are basic and functional with plenty of ways to get around, including a nice Quick Menu of shortcuts. We would have liked to see explanations, however, especially for the more advanced picture setting functions.

Features

Key TV features
Display technology plasma LED backlight N/A
3D compatible Yes 3D glasses included No
Screen finish Glass Refresh rate(s) 60Hz, 96Hz
Dejudder (smooth) processing No 1080p/24 compatible Yes
Internet connection Yes Wireless HDMI/AV connection Optional
Other: Optional 3D glasses (model ; $169 list); TrueBlack filter; Optional Wi-Fi dongle (AN-WF100, $70); Optional wireless media box (AN-WL100W, $350)

The main difference between the PK950, LG's former 2010 flagship plasma, and PX950 is the latter's ability to display 3D content. It doesn't come with the requisite 3D glasses, however, so you'll have to shell out extra for those. LG is the only maker we've tested so far whose proprietary glasses have rechargeable batteries--the USB charger is included. Unlike the company's LX9500 3D-compatible LCD, the PX950 does offer a 2D-to-3D conversion system and the aforementioned THX certification for both 2D and 3D.

Like the PK950, the screen of the PX includes a "TrueBlack" filter designed to improve image quality in brighter rooms, and the PX handled 1080p/24 sources properly. See Performance for details.

Other notables on the PX950 include the external "LG Wireless Media Box" option that enables you to connect HDMI and other gear wirelessly, which can really help custom installations. We'd like to see built-in Wi-Fi for the Internet features, but you'll have to either buy the dongle or get a third-party wireless bridge. We tested LG's dongle, which worked well, but we didn't test the media box by press time.


THX certification for 3D is the PX950's claim to fame.

Streaming media
Netflix Yes YouTube Yes
Amazon Video on Demand No Rhapsody No
Vudu video Yes Pandora No
CinemaNow No DLNA compliant Photo/Music/Video
Blockbuster No USB Photo/Music/Video

LG's 2009 models were among the first to include Netflix, but since that service is now available on most Internet TVs, the company's Netcast array of streaming partners is now pretty pedestrian. There are no major missing links, however, aside from any kind of audio service like Pandora or Slacker radio.

In our tests Vudu and Netflix performed as advertised, delivering the video quality we expect from both services via both Ethernet and Wi-Fi from LG's dongle. A solid selection of picture settings was available, but you don't get THX, Expert modes, or 2D-to-3D conversion options with the streaming video services. We didn't test DLNA or USB streaming.


The content selection on LG's Netcast is a step behind other makers' streaming offerings.

Internet apps
Yahoo widgets Yes Skype Yes
Vudu apps No Weather Yes
Facebook No News Yes
Twitter Yes Sports Yes
Photos Picasa/Flickr Stocks Yes
Other: 10 custom games, world clock, calendar; Skype requires speakerphone accessory (AN-VC100, $110)

Most of the nonstreaming apps, with the exception of Picasa, a clock for time zones around the world, an onscreen calendar and a few games, come courtesy of Yahoo widgets. At the time of this writing the PX950 has access to eighteen widgets--but still no Facebook, which both Samsung and Vizio do have.

Yahoo's platform is more usable than last year on LG, albeit not as snappy as on the LX9500, with useable responses to button presses and faster load times for individual widgets. In comparison, however, the apps platforms of Samsung and Vizio still felt a good deal faster than LG's widgets, and content selection was wider on Samsung, Vizio and Sony.

LG's games platform, not to be confused with the games included with Yahoo widgets, includes extremely basic custom titles, for example Sudoku and Whack a Mole. Of course you'll need to buy the external speakerphone kit to use Skype. It (still) hasn't been released yet, so we didn't test it for this review.


Yahoo Widgets provide the main nonstreaming Apps on LG.

Picture settings
Adjustable picture modes 6 Independent memories per input Yes
Dejudder presets 0 Fine dejudder control N/A
Aspect ratio modes -- HD 6 Aspect ratio modes -- SD 5
Color temperature presets 3 Fine color temperature control 20 points
Gamma presets 3 Color management system Yes
Other: Two THX modes for 2D and one for 3D; 2-point and 20-point IRE systems available; Auto Power Save mode; guided "Picture Wizard" setup tool

With the addition of its nonadjustable "THX 3D Cinema" mode, as well as the ability to adjust four other picture modes while in 3D, the PX950 trounces the completely nonadjustable 3D of LG LX9500. Those four modes don't offer any of the 3D-specific tweaks of Samsung, but at least you can adjust basic picture settings like contrast, brightness and color.

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Where to Buy

LG Infinia 50PX950

Part Number: 50PX950/US Released: Sep. 15, 2010

MSRP: $1,699.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep. 15, 2010
  • Enhanced Refresh Rate 600 Hz
  • 3D Yes
  • Display Format 1080p
  • Diagonal Size 50 in
  • Type Plasma TV
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