Black level and picture noise
Plasmas are well known for two attributes. The first is their good black levels, particularly when compared to CCFL-backlit LCD TVs. The second, less positive, characteristic is that they can often have 'sparkling' pixels.
During our testing, we noticed that the 50PS6000 does have a mild case of pixel noise. It doesn't affect the picture when you're sitting a normal distance away, but it is visible when you get slightly closer. We find it quite interesting that this noise is present -- Samsung and Panasonic seem to have eradicated it, for the most part.
We also noticed that, even after we'd configured the TV, the black levels still weren't as good as those of other plasmas from Samsung and Panasonic. During scenes where the TV was showing black, and the ambient light was very low, we could see the TV had a grey tinge to it. This didn't, however, bother us when we watched either TV or movies, and we don't think it's likely to bother the target audience for this TV either.
Connections and DivX
The 50PS6000 has all the inputs you would expect on a TV of its size. There are three HDMI inputs -- two on the back and one on the side. You'll also find VGA in, component in and composite inputs for camcorders and the like.
As is often the case with modern TVs, the 50PS6000 has a USB socket via which you can listen to music, look at photos or watch DivX-encoded video. Sadly, the DivX support doesn't extend to MKV or any sort of MPEG-4 hi-def files, but it's still a good feature to have.
Speakers should be heard and not seen
LG claims its 'hidden speaker' system not only keeps the 50PS6000 looking attractive but also improves the sound quality. The company says this is the case because the sound emanates from several points on the TV, creating a more immersive sound field, no matter where you sit in the room.
To be fair, we found the 50PS6000's sound perfectly fine. We didn't notice a massive amount of immersive sound, but it wasn't woolly or muffled either, which is great news. This set can certainly manage the audio of standard TV broadcasts perfectly well. The only time we think you'll feel disappointed is when watching action movies. Of course, no TV in the history of mankind has ever produced excellent sound from tiny built-in speakers, so this is hardly a problem that's exclusive to the 50PS6000.
If you mostly watch Freeview, but have an interest in gaming and HD movies on Blu-ray, the LG 50PS6000 is worth considering. Its Freeview picture quality is very good indeed, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching HD movies on it too.
The competition at this size is virtually non-existent. We're certain you won't get a better price than the one asked by LG for this screen. It's a competent machine and one that we think will put a smile on the face of anyone who buys it.
Edited by Charles Kloet