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LG plasma claims improved black levels

The LG PK750 series of plasma TVs incorporates a new filter that the company says contributes to much deeper black levels.

LG's PK750 series of plasmas incorporates a new filter that the company says contributes to much deeper black levels. LG

It's pretty amazing that, given the relentless march of technology designed to improve picture quality, no HDTV has defeated the overall mark set by the Pioneer Kuro plasmas way back in 2008. The secret of the Kuro's success is deep black levels, and while Panasonic and Samsung have made big strides in this department with their plasmas, LG has lagged behind, as evinced by models like the PS80 series from 2009.

Now LG aims to close the gap with a new TrueBlack filter, and the least-expensive LG plasma to feature this enhancement is the PK750 series. According to the company, "The incorporation of the TruBlack Filter reduces ambient light reflection, providing consumers with better black levels and improving contrast for a sharper and more detailed picture in a bright room." When we asked for more detail, LG's spokesman also claimed overall black level improvements in all lighting environments. We don't expect the PK750 to equal the picture quality of the vaunted Pioneer, but perhaps it can narrow the black level gap with the other two plasma makers. We're looking forward to a comparison review.

The PK750 also includes THX display certification, which might appeal to people who want a quick calibration. Our experience with the PS80, however, yielded better results after tweaking LG's extensive user-menu settings as opposed to using THX mode, and unlike that mode on Panasonic plasmas, the LG's THX settings can't be adjusted at all.

This TV also incorporates the company's Netcast suite of interactive features, first seen on the LG LH50 from 2009. It can access streaming video courtesy of Netflix, Vudu and YouTube, and also offers a range of Yahoo Widgets. New for 2010 Netcast also adds access to Napster's catalog of streaming music, as well as the ability to make video and voice calls using Skype (camera module required, estimated to be $99). You can also stream photos, videos and music from a home network using the TV's DLNA capability, or access such content stored on USB. An optional dongle is available if you'd like to connect the TV using wi-fi ($89 estimated).

Speaking of wireless options, all Netcast LG sets in 2010 can also work with an optional "Wireless Media Hub." When you connect your external sources, such as a Blu-ray player or a cable box, to the hub, it can send the signals to a special receiver wirelessly, which then connects to the TV. LG says the system has enough bandwidth for full 1080p and a range up to 98 feet. The hub and receiver are sold separately as a package, which we're told will retail for an estimated $399.

LG is also touting the 2-inch depth of these plasmas, which makes them lighter as well. The 60-inch model is 40 percent lighter, for example, at 95 pounds. We also appreciate the "single-layer" design, a carryover from the PS80 models that places a single panel of glass over the entire panel for a sleek look.

LG PK750 series features:

  • TruBlack filter
  • THX certification
  • Netcast Interactive feature suite with Netflix, Vudu, Skype, Napster, YouTube, DivX, AccuWeather and Yahoo Widgets
  • DLNA compatible for music, photos and video
  • Optional "Wireless Media Hub" interface
  • Optional wi-fi connection
  • single-layer design

LG PK750 series models:

  • LG 60PK750: 60-inch, price TBD, availability March 2010
  • LG 50PK750: 50-inch, price TBD, availability March 2010