The 50-inch LG 50PZ950T plasma TV looks great and produces excellent 2D and 3D images. Its Internet features are pretty smashing too. If only its audio quality were better.
The 50PZ950T is the flagship TV in LG's current plasma range. Not only does it offer 3D support and a new filter to improve black levels, but it also features LG's Smart TV platform, which provides access to a range of Internet services, including BBC iPlayer. This 50-inch, 1080p set doesn't come cheap, though. It will set you back around £1,100.
The 50LZ950T is easy on the eye. The front of the TV seems to be made from a single sheet of glass that runs from edge to edge. At 49mm deep, it's relatively slim for such a large plasma model, and we reckon it'll look the business in any lounge.
The TV offers plenty of connectivity options. Alongside four HDMI ports, there are a set of component inputs, a single full-sized Scart socket, along with another half-sized one, and a VGA port for hooking up computer equipment.
For Internet connectivity and digital media playback, LG has included two USB ports, as well as an Ethernet socket. LG also bundles a USB Wi-Fi dongle, but it's a shame Wi-Fi isn't just built directly into the set.
As with most of the latest TVs on the market, this one has a Freeview HD tuner, giving you free access to high-definition services from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 via a standard terrestrial aerial.
The telly uses LG's new Smart TV system, which features apps for a number of online services, including BBC iPlayer, the Acetrax movie-rental service, YouTube and Facebook, as well as many more. In fact, the line-up is among the best you'll find on any TV. There's even an app store with a range of additional games and other content that you can download.
The TV's settings menu has now been integrated into the Smart TV home screen, so this is the place you need to go to access the comprehensive and well laid out picture and sound controls.
We love the fact that this TV includes comprehensive media-streaming capabilities. For example, it played back a range of Xvid, DivX and MKV movies in HD without any problems, both from our network-attached storage drive and locally from a USB-connected hard drive.
The TV ships with two remote controls. The first is the standard button remote, while the second is LG's wand remote. The latter acts rather like the Nintendo Wii's motion controller, in that you wave it around in the air to move a cursor on the screen. It's an interesting idea, but we didn't find it all that useful in practice -- it can be tricky to point it accurately at the menu items you want to select.
LG may be pushing its passive 3D system on its LCD TVs, but the company has always opted for active-shutter technology for its plasma sets. The 50PZ950T ships with one pair of active-shutter glasses, which are fairly light and comfortable to wear.
The set produces clean 3D images with very little ghosting around the edges of objects. You really have to look for it to notice it. The glasses reduce the apparent brightness of the image, but opting for the THX-certified 3D preset does a good job of compensating for this.
This TV is no slouch when it comes to 2D images. It boasts the usual strengths of plasma technology, with fast and fluid motion handling, as well as extremely deep black levels, helped along by LG's impressive 'TruBlack' filter. This not only cuts down on screen glare, but also improves the apparent depth of black levels.
The set's colour palette also delivers excellent purity and dynamism across a range of inputs, from movies on Blu-ray right through to standard-definition Freeview channels.
Sound quality isn't one of this set's strong points. In fact, the 50PZ950T is slightly worse in this regard than even LG's previous generation of tellies. This is a shame, given that other manufacturers, such as Panasonic, are starting to take audio quality more seriously.
The LG 50PZ950T is an impressive telly. It looks smart, produces delicate and nuanced 2D and 3D pictures, and offers good Internet and media-streaming features. It's just a shame it's let down slightly by its less-than-impressive audio quality.
Edited by Charles Kloet