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LG 50PX950 review: LG 50PX950

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The Good LG's best TV in some time. Smart, no-nonsense looks. Accurate colours, deep blacks. IPTV platform is useful.

The Bad 3D could still be better. Some tweaking needed to get best picture.

The Bottom Line The gold quality standard of televisions continues to rise and the LG 50PX950 shows the company can keep up, but 3D could still use tweaking.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.4 Overall

LG is an ambitious brand. After claiming the number one spot in the US for mobile phones the company is focusing its attention on TVs: it wants number one there too. And it hopes to achieve this by offering TVs like the PX950 plasma and the forthcoming LEX8 LCD.

Design

LG has had a couple of distinct design properties in the last couple of years, with the most obvious being borderless, and a secondary aesthetic based around what we'll call "stained glass". The new 50PX950 combines both of these.

With the PX950 you get a flush screen with a "hidden" bezel similar to the LX9500 LCD, but at the edges it continues the blue theme of previous plasma ranges — and though not entirely successful, it's subtle. On close inspection the fit and finish isn't as premium as televisions from rivals.

The 50PX950 is a plasma TV and therefore it's not supermodel thin, but noticeably slimmer than its Panasonic competition. It's all held upright by a tempered glass base and a see-through plastic pedestal.

The remote control? It's a good one — in fact, one of our favourites. The buttons are large, the feel ergonomically sound and easy to operate without looking at. Our only small bugbear is that you need to press a button in the top right corner to operate the backlight.

Features

If you've been following the coverage on CNET Australia you'll be across both IPTV and 3D, and will either be bemused or excited about the fact that it caters for both. For us, the money has always been on internet TV but it's a lot less "sexy" than 3D. Regardless, the LG is still the only television at the time of writing to offer BigPond Movie and TV downloads.

But it's 3D that LG wants to sell to you, and in a bit of a coup it has picked up the first THX 3D certification which aims to improve the quality of 3D pictures. The TV will also convert material to 3D and back again, and the set ships with a single set of glasses.

The panel itself is a 1920x1080-pixel plasma, which features a TruBlack Filter that promises better blacks and less reflections. To us this is important, as a TV like the LG 47LE7500 is distractingly reflective in a lit room.

The TV is well connected and features networking on both Ethernet and wireless (via an included USB dongle). In addition, you get four HDMI ports (but no Audio Return Channel support) and two component inputs. If you want to hear the sound of content on-board the TV you can channel that to your receiver via digital optical out. A VGA input is also supplied.

Performance

3D performance
While the industry is still jumping up and down about 3D the general public isn't as excited by it. But could this television change all that? As the "world's first THX 3D-certified TV from LG" — see what they did with the quantifiers there? — we were curious to see how this TV performed in what has been a pretty appalling turnout this year.

What does the THX 3D certification do? Well, LG has a history of working with THX to ensure "accurate" pictures and sound. This is evidenced in the plethora of professional-yet-simple set-up options available on its TVs. The THX 3D mode aims to extend this by offering reduced crosstalk and better pictures.

In testing, we found it did work as advertised. Switching between "Standard" mode and "THX Mode" we noted the colour palette was less hyperactive and more "natural" on the Monsters vs. Aliens 3D Blu-ray and ghostly crosstalk was diminished. Unfortunately, there were still traces of crosstalk in the guide wires of the Golden Gate bridge, which the Panasonic and Sony systems were able to reproduce this scene better.

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