LG 50PK950 Review
In the past, LG didn’t succeed to impress with the levels of blacks on its plasma models, but 2010 is the year of change for the famous manufacturer (more famous until now for its LCD TV series rather than for its plasmas). On LG Infinia 50PK950, image quality is much improved, although some reflections, due to the glass sheet covering the screen, mar a performance that is otherwise very good for a product that is priced less than its direct competition. Connectivity is good, although you need to buy an extra dongle to take advantage of the Wi-Fi functions of the LG Infinia 50PK950. The design is what catches the eye, when you take the first look at this LG plasma TV model, as the manufacturer is aiming at creating very sleek designs that will fit on any wall.
- Excellent black levels
- Great extra functionality, like DLNA and online streaming
- Decent price
- Reflections when watched in a brightly lit room
- Wi-Fi functionalities need an extra dongle (bought separately)
- Not on par with the best plasma TV models when it comes to high definition content
As the flagship model of LG’s 2010 line of plasma TVs, LG Infinia 50PK950 does not disappoint, and it comes fully packed with some pretty extras, that you cannot find on just any other 50 inch plasma TV model. This LG plasma TV has access to NetCast, an entertainment service, from which you can access different options, such as YouTube, or Picasa. For information on weather, you can access AccuWeather, which can prove quite useful for consumers. Skype is also available, and the DLNA functionalities are nothing to sneeze at. VUDU, Napster, and Netflix are also great add-ons and a guarantee that you will not get bored when sitting in front of the television. Yahoo!Widgets, for those that find them useful, are also readily available. Among other features that make LG Infinia 50PK950 a very good plasma model, you will also find the TruBlack filter – on direct competition with the Real Black filter found on Samsung PN50C8000 and Samsung PN50C7000. The fact that LG Infinia 50PK950 is THX certified makes us think that LG did it better than the competition in this respect.
The borderless design is the first thing that you will notice, after throwing just one look at LG Infinia 50PK950. The bezel is almost non existent and the panel looks like an integrated piece of glass. The stand, also made of glass, offers you the possibility to swivel the HDTV around, and adjust it anyway you like it. The model is also slim, but it does not stand a chance against the sleek figures exhibited by Samsung PN50C8000 or Samsung PN50C7000.
The connectivity options on LG Infinia 50PK950 are well rounded, and you can access the Wi-Fi capabilities of the model, if you pay extra for an USB dongle and connect it to the plasma TV through one of the two USB inputs present. This is just an add-on to the mandatory Ethernet jack that is also present to make your life easier. Multi-media playback is almost a must these days, and LG Infinia 50PK950 performs beautifully, being able to play any type of content from an USB device. This is where Panasonic TC-P50G20, often used as term of comparison with this non 3D HDTV, falls behind, and where LG Infinia 50PK950 can boast about its capabilities. An interesting connectivity feature you will discover on this 50 inch plasma TV is the Wireless Media Hub, which allows you to connect other devices to the HDTV, without the need for cables.
As for any other plasma TV, picture quality is what truly makes or breaks a purchase. Investing in the TruBlack technology has proved beneficial for LG, since, indeed, the level of blacks on LG Infinia 50PK950 really show that the manufacturer – better known for its LCD TVs – is in the game, and intends to stay. Color accuracy is pretty amazing, as well, and, since this LG plasma TV is THX certified, it must mean that the manufacturer did something right with this particular series. Some glare issues – caused by the one sheet of glass design – mar somehow this otherwise great performance, and standard definition performance, while still not the best, is accurate enough to avoid disappointment.
LG makes some new promises and takes a vow with the TruBlack filter technology, as it intends to improve the quality of its blacks tremendously. So far, it seems to be making real progress, and LG Infinia 50PK950 is the living proof. Black levels are accurate and inky, and as black as seen on Panasonic TC-P50G20, which represents direct competition for this non 3D plasma TV. If it weren’t for the reflection issues that prevent the blacks to be preserved well, one could say that LG really succeeded in making a well rounded product, with more than decent blacks. Shadow detail is quite good, as well, but it is far from being perfect, as the grayscale on LG Infinia 50PK950 is not perfect, either, but it is not that noticeable if you do not watch television as a consumer electronics critic.
Color reproduction is very good on LG Infinia 50PK950, but there is a little issue present, even if you engage the THX mode, and that is a slight tint of yellow that can be quickly addressed with some calibration. Color intensity is well preserved, even when watched from extreme angles, which is a big plus for even the best plasma TV models. The lifelike colors delivered by the LG model are a pleasure to watch, even though they do tend to become washed out, because of the glare produced by environment light.
High definition content looks quite detailed and good on LG Infinia 50PK950, which really counts if you plan on making a decision regarding what HDTV to choose for your home this year. The motion resolution also does pretty well, and you will not be able to notice any kind of motion lag or blur when you watch fast paced sequences, such as sports. Although high definition reproduction looks so good, you still need to put LG Infinia 50PK950 next to other plasma TV models, as you may notice differences that will incline the balance towards one or another.
Unfortunately, LG Infinia 50PK950 does not make a good impression as far as its anti-glare capabilities are concerned. Because of its sheet of glass design, it is incapable of fighting glare and reflections efficiently. While a good plasma TV as a whole, it fails to convince, since it does not employ an efficient filter to keep the colors accurate, and the black levels as black as they should be, in case you decide to watch TV in a room that is well lit.
Standard definition performance for this LG plasma TV is quite good. While not the best, still provides something to watch at, without the need to storm off the room, as it happens with other models, like Samsung PN50C6500. The image presents enough detail, and color reproduction looks really amazing, despite the device being fed regular broadcasting or DVD content.
LG Infinia 50PK950 is a very elegant 50 inch plasma TV that, by its looks alone, is sure to impress. However, if you want to take a closer look at its performance, you may find a few things that will not be entirely to your liking. For instance, exactly the elegant design is what determines a major flaw, the appearance of glare and reflections when you watch television under bright light conditions. The THX certification was not awarded in vain, though, and you will get to see some of the beautiful colors to be watched on 2010’s plasma TV models. Details, such as response time and eliminating phosphor trailing, are handled well. Features come by the dozen, and connectivity options are very good. However, if you are still undecided whether to go for this LG plasma TV or not, you might take a look at other models, as well.
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