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LG 50PC1D review

Is this flat TV as much of a bargain as it seems?

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Our Verdict

If budget and size is everything, this set is just about worth considering

For

  • Cheap

Against

  • Picture noise

To find the 50PC1D's main raison d'etre you need look no further than its price tag. Under two grand for a 50in flat TV is bargain territory by anyone's standards. The question is, can LG actually offer any real quality for that sum?

Connections rate as well as many of the costlier sets featured here with twin HDMIs, component video inputs, a PC port, Scarts and a digital audio output.

A CI slot, too, reveals another pleasant surprise for the money: a built-in digital tuner. And the surprises continue to roll in as we spot the latest version of LG's XD Engine processing.

Considering the price, it comes as no great surprise that the 50PC1D is the weakest picture performer in our big-screen roundup. But just how weak is it?

Well, the problems are numerous. Unquestionably the hardest to tolerate is how noisy the picture looks. For starters, the set's aggressive presentation tends to emphasise MPEG noise in digital sources, so that the players on a football pitch look fizzy and blocky in standard definition, while the pitch looks strangely grainy even in high definition.

To make matters worse, as the camera pans across the pitch you can clearly see the sort of dithering, dotty noise over edges, not to mention the skin tone peaks that used to commonly affect plasma technology, but is not something we expect to see nowadays.

Bright strips

Some of the highly colourful strips worn by the cricket teams during the World Cup, meanwhile, look a touch over the top in the bright West Indies sun, becoming almost cartoonish, while the skin tones of the players can sometimes looks slightly unnatural.

If this all sounds like a damning indictment of the 50PC1D, we must say it's certainly not unremittingly bad. Black levels are actually excellent, with extreme depth and good detail subtlety and, when they're not going too far, colours can be appealingly rich. There's quite a bit of detail on show too, at least while viewing HD sources.

Also on the plus side, we have to mention the speakers that do a sterling job at producing a decently fulsome and clean soundstage.