At first glance, LG appears to have a definite winner on its hands with the 50PK790.
It's extremely easy on the eye, it's got more than enough connections to satisfy even a very sophisticated, extensive AV system, it's got lots of helpful features (including reams of multimedia support), and it produces what are for the most part seriously likeable pictures. All for a pretty reasonable price, too.
In fact, in the long term there's likely to be very little to stop you buying and loving a 50PK790. The problem lies in the short term, where the 50PK790's curious and outmoded susceptibility to plasma's once-common but now largely eliminated image retention issue can cause some really pretty distracting image artefacts.
As noted in the main review, we couldn't say for sure if there's a worry about this retention becoming permanent if you kept a bright, colourful image element 'frozen' in the same place on the screen for a really prolonged time.
Our suspicion is that the image retention probably would always fade over time. But it's a bit disappointing to even have to talk about this issue on a screen that's so cutting edge in other ways.
Given what a large presence the 50-inch 50PK790 will be in your room, it's great to find it sporting a seriously pretty chassis design. It's got more than enough connections to cope with a modern, ambitious home cinema system too, and aside from a currently rather limited online service, it's on the money with its multimedia support too.
It's brilliantly easy to use, too, and best of all, its pictures frequently look quite superb.
The TV's rendition of dark scenes is certainly a step forward from previous LG TVs, but it still doesn't deliver black colours that are quite as rich as those of some rival plasma brands. A much bigger concern, though, is the amount of image retention, at least during the first few dozen hours of use.
It will be nice if the NetCast online service bags a few extra services sooner rather than later, too.
It's great to see LG still putting so much effort into the supposedly 'unsexy' plasma format, and achieving some extremely likeable results in the process. Provided you can put up with some image retention problems for what we presume will only be the first few days of the TV's life, then the 50PK790 is well worth checking out.
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