LG 50PW450 review

A keenly priced plasma that is fatally undermined by truly dreadful 3D performance

LG 50PW450
The 3D performance of this TV is one of the worst we have seen

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LG 50pw450

The 50PW450T's 3D pictures are a blurry, nausea-inducing disaster. Almost every shot is riddled with obvious, aggressive and consistent crosstalk interference, with glaring 'double ghosts' to either side of objects. Supposedly detailed backgrounds such as those in the forest in Tangled are completely out of focus, with hardly any sense of depth and zero sense of the sort of sharpness that active 3D was designed to deliver.

Although the crosstalk isn't as bad when watching side-by-side broadcasts (as opposed to alternate frame Blu-rays), it's still very much apparent, which means the 50PW450T is about as bad as Sony's EX723 series and that's saying something.

The 50PW450T does achieve a reasonable degree of brightness and colour richness for such an affordable 3D screen, but this counts for nothing when crosstalk ruins every shot.

Also, a slightly toned down version of the Vivid preset for 3D viewing (there is 3D preset as such) occasionally produces some obvious jumps in brightness even with dynamic contrast turned off.

The 50PW450T acquits itself better with standard-def 2D material, but colours look a bit muted and display striping and patching, rather than immaculately smooth blends. The lack of finesse can also leave skin tones looking plasticky and smooth.

The general tone of colours during standard-def viewing looks slightly unbalanced, too, with reds tending to dominate and the rest of the palette lacking dynamism.

Tinkering with the 50PW450T's colour management facilities improves things to a degree, but never to the point where they look spot-on.

Another issue is noise. It's common for plasma screens to look a bit 'fizzy', especially if you get up close to them, but the noise seems a little more aggressive than usual on the 50PW450T - especially over skin tones during camera pans. There's also a trace of shimmering noise over fine detailing during standard-def viewing and, while the 50PW450T is decent at keeping standard-def images looking sharp as they're upscaled to the screen's HD ready resolution, it's not particularly good at filtering out source noise.

Black level response is solid. While there's more greyness over black shades than you'll see on the best plasmas the 50PW450T delivers dark scenes more convincingly than the vast majority of LCD TVs. There's more shadow detailing, and plasma's self-emissive nature precludes the sort of light level inconsistencies that plague edge LED-backlit screens.

It's also very refreshing to find that, unlike an LCD TV, the set's contrast and colour saturation doesn't reduce in the slightest if viewed from a wide angle. On the down side, the hard-finished plasma panel reflects more light than a typical liquid crystal display.

The 50PW450T is a very enjoyable watch where hi-def 2D content is concerned. With Blu-ray films, for instance, colours are more accurate, vibrant and subtly rendered, dot noise levels drop off and you really start to appreciate the screen's lack of motion blur (versus LCD) and film-friendly contrast range.
Pictures, while not quite as sharp as those you'd see on a good quality full HD screen, are crisper and more detailed than expected.

There's a little judder with 24p Blu-ray playback and this can be exaggerated by momentary traces of the dotting noise during panning shots. There's also a slightly imprecise look to areas of very fine detail that's probably a result of the downscaling the screen has to apply to full HD sources, but the 50PW450T is a thoroughly enjoyable HD watch overall.

A final negative point is that input lag comes in at a depressingly high figure of 100ms, which is enough to compromise gaming performance.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.