Given LG’s aggressive promotion of Cinema 3D LED in models like the LG 42KW650T it’s perhaps easy to overlook the brand’s plasma offerings. This would be a mistake. Topping the 2011 range is the LG P50PZ950T. This impressively specified Active Shutter 3D screen has a Freeview HD tuner, DLNA media streaming and offers access to the brand’s shiny new Smart TV portal.
LG P50PZ950T: Build and features
The P50PZ950T is a classic big screen plasma. Unlike its stablemate LEDs, the P50PZ950T has glassy heft, weighing just shy of 30kg. It sports the company’s slick Infinia design – a smooth sheet of glass which runs undisturbed from edge to edge.
Connectivity is extensive. The rear jack pack comprises two HDMIs, SCART, PC 15-pin DIN, Ethernet LAN, RS232 control port, component video, stereo phonos and a digital optical audio output. To the side of the jack pack (but not on the side of the screen itself) are two more HDMIs, a pair of USB inputs, AV phonos and a CI card slot.
The TV ships with the LG Magic Motion remote control, in addition to a standard zapper. This simplified six-button RF-based wand allows you to point and click with an onscreen cursor. It’s clearly cute, and fine for general use, but has its limits. Trying to navigate YouTube with it is a bit like fishing with a stick. Also included in the box is a Wi-Fi dongle to get online, if you don’t have a wired connection available.
Once networked, the set opens the LG Smart TV portal. Not only does this allow you to trawl through YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Picasa and Facebook, there’s a rapidly populating apps store to explore as well. Here you’ll find everything from colour blindness and sight tests, to Tarot cards and a unit converter. The screen’s also adept at media streaming, playing back AVI, MKV, AVCHD and H.264 video files across the network and from USB. Music playback is confined to MP3s
LG P50PZ950T: 3D picture quality
LG may like to harp on about Passive ‘Cinema 3D’, but the Active Shutter 3D performance of this plasma is a class above. Stereoscopic images are full resolution and entice with tangible depth. While LG’s 3D glasses rob the screen of some brightness, the THX certified 3D mode compensates well. While we were aware of some crosstalk double imaging, we didn’t rate it as intrusive. Even notoriously difficult 3D discs such as Monsters Vs Aliens provided a relatively clean and enjoyable stereoscopic experience.
LG P50PZ950T: 2D picture quality and audio
The PZ950T is capable of sharp, deep hi-def pictures. However to get the best from the screen you will need to navigate past a slew of Eco settings clearly designed to save the planet at the expense of quality viewing. Our advice is turn off the APS Powersave mode and Energy Saving Intelligent Sensor, and then ensure Dynamic Contrast is Off. This done, the image can be tuned to a high level. Pictures from BBC One HD sing from the screen and HD Blu-rays look superb. This is a great TV for sport and action content: motion resolution is a full 1080 lines.
Audio quality is also robust. The P50PZ950T is capable of a decent stereo imaging and doesn’t sound paper thin. With five DSP modes (Standard, Music, Cinema, Sport, Game), and a take-it-or-leave-it faux Infinite 3D Surround mode, there are plenty of sonic toys to play with.
Overall, we rate the P50PZ950T as an accomplished performer. Given LG’s reputation for value we would fully expect this model to undercut rival screens from Panasonic in swift order, which could make it a genuine big-screen steal.
LG P50PZ950T launch date: Out TBC, link LG
LG P50PZ950T price: Around £1300