LG 50PS70FD review: LG 50PS70FD

  • 1

The Good Excellent image processing. Able to choose your own hard drive to add PVR functionality. Ability to add extra storage if needed. USB playback support is unsurpassed.

The Bad Blacks can tend towards brown in lit rooms. Colour gradations could be better handled. Only one USB, so it's record or playback and not both.

The Bottom Line The LG 50PS70FD "Time Machine" plasma is a very good all-rounder, which also doubles as a useful DVR — as long as you don't expect too much from it.

Visit for details.

8.1 Overall

Editor's note: the LG 50PS70FD and 50PS80FD are virtually identical, with the main difference being that this model lacks on-board Time Machine recording. However, you can still attach an external hard drive and receive the same functionality. As a result, our findings are very similar to the previous review.

You're looking for a TV, and you're not sure what features to look for. Is 100Hz or even 200Hz important? What about these LED TVs you've been hearing about? Well, if you ask us, none of that stuff really matters — especially when plasma is such a good technology. Instead of trying to sell you gimmicks, LG has once again bundled a video recorder into its top-end plasmas, and we think it could be a winner.

Design

After much snickering at the "love hole" television, LG has pulled back on the design reigns a little bit for its new range of TVs. We were fortunate enough to meet the designer of the 70 and 80 series, and he said the inspirations behind the new screens were things like "walking on clouds" and speech bubbles. There's certainly an element of sky-ness about the two screens, because while the bezel is predominantly piano black there is a strip of blue along the bottom. There are two different wave patterns depending on which one you get — the PS70 is probably the most subtle of the two. We especially like the brushed aluminium stand — reassuringly weighty and very classy.

The remote control is relatively comprehensive, and features the leather-like finish we've seen before. It's not too crammed with buttons, though, and fairly easy to use.

Features

While its competitors are pushing less "practical" features like a different way of lighting the screen or extra Hertz, LG is selling something that is actually more beneficial: a USB port to record programs onto an external drive. LG has dubbed this the "Time Machine Link" and it has most of the important features of competitors: pause and rewind live TV, EPG recording etc. It features twin tuners so you can record one channel while watching/recording another. While it does lack more advanced tools like remote recording and show suggestions, it's a great value-add.

Unlike the 42-inch LG we reviewed in May, the LG 50PS70FD is a full 1920x1080-pixel resolution and boasts a screen size of 50 inches. It has a good deal of connectivity too, with four HDMI ports, two component inputs, a PC input and two AV-in ports. For audio, the TV offers the company's Invisible Speaker system (where the bezel is the speaker), or the option of an optical output.

The LG is one of a new crop of plasmas that has started printing the "sub-field drive" figures on its specs list. We describe what sub-field drive is here, but unlike 100Hz, the 600Hz sub-field drive is actually integral to the way a plasma works. If we could use an analogy, a sub-field drive is akin to putting more baseballs into an automatic pitcher — it can only fire one at a time, but there's less slowdown as the pitcher doesn't have to wait for more balls to be put in. Only here, substitute balls for frames. According to LG Australia, some of last year's models had a 600Hz drive as well (the norm is 400 – 480) but it wasn't publicised.

The television features an "Intelligent Sensor", which adjusts to the light levels in your room and promises to boost picture quality (potentially) and reduce power usage (in dark rooms). In concert with this are the two dedicated ISF user modes, and ISF set-up routine which are used to get the best possible picture out of the TV. The Picture Wizard is actually very easy to use, and accessible from the main menu. The results you can get are quite impressive as well. We wish more manufacturers would use this.