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There are no surprise twists to the design on the , but it's still a good looking set. The bezel is thin on the sides and in profile. The stand is unobtrusive, supportive, and sleek. It looks like the flat screen TV you recognize, but somehow it's attractive. Like a well made suit, this design will never go out of style.

Front Tour Image
Back Tour Image
Sides Tour Image

The stand is a thin plastic affair that does not offend the eyes. It swivels about 20º in each direction to better facilitate port connections.

Stand Photo

The controls are located on the front on the bottom right corner of the screen. We have never been fans of these touch controls (as opposed to actual buttons). Good luck finding them in the dark. You'll find them with the lights on, though – it'll be the area with a cluster of fingerprints.

Controls Photo

The remote for the is a powerful device, controlling all aspects of this many featured television, while also being programmable for external devices. The shape of the remote keeps it firmly in hand, the groove in the back fits most index fingers perfectly. Though you may not be able to reach all of the buttons from the resting position, there is a backlight button at the top of the remote that will light up all the buttons in the dark. The buttons themselves have excellent tactile feedback, so you know the degree to which you are affecting the TV.

Secondarily, there is the LG Wand remote. Similar to a Wiimote, you can point the wand at the options you would like to select on the TV, rather than using the directional pad to slowly go up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, select, enter to get what you need.

Remote Control Photo

Inside the voluminous cardboard box, we found two remotes, the LG wand and a more normal remote, batteries for both, a USB wireless adapter, a paper as well as digital manual, a cleaning cloth, some cable clips and warranty documents.

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People looking for a plasma television are often afficionados of rich and deep black levels. The does not give you that virtually pure black screen you hope to get from plasma technology. A reading of 0.04 cd/m2 is strong, but you can see this on some of the best LCD screens. The two comparable plasma screens in the chart, the Samsung and the Panasonic, produce those low luminance blacks that are out of reach for LCD displays. The difference is seemingly miniscule to the point of unimportant, but cd/m2 is a logarithmic scale, and each minor change in black level has a significant impact on perceptible light levels. More on how we test black level.

Black Level Chart

This chart is a good demonstration of the difference between LCD and plasma screens. The Sony at the top is an LCD television, and it shows brightest whites at a luminance two to three times brighter than the two plasma screens in the middle. Our uses plasma cells to make images, but it does not show the low luminance you tend to see, on either end of the spectrum. The brightest whites are well above average. For you, dear consumer, this means that you could watch this TV in most normal settings, not just in the darkest of cave-like environments. The gets bright enough to compete with medium levels of light in the room. More on how we test peak brightness.

Peak Brightness Chart

We applaud the contrast ratio of the . We were a little worried about the it being heavily affected by a less than spectacular black level. Black level is the divisor in the contrast ratio equation, and when you divide something by less than one, each incremental diminishing has a large effect on the outcome, such that a difference of 0.01 cd/m2 is quite significant.

However, the has a great peak brightness. This makes the range of possible lights and darks quite expansive, enough to show up the other plasma models in the comparison. With this strong contrast ratio, and a brightness that allows you to watch in low lighting, not just blacked out settings, we appreciate the middle ground this plasma has struck, without sacrificing quality. More on how we test contrast.

Contrast Chart

Plasma displays will change the brightness of the screen according to the images being shown. We test this by increasing the amount of screen displaying 100% black and recording the luminance at the center of the screen, which remains black throughout. You can see that the brightness at the center varied a little as these areas of black changed, but for a plasma screen, this is relatively insignificant. More on how we test tunnel contrast.

Tunnel Contrast Chart

Plasma screens will brighten areas of pure white when they get smaller. Plasma cells get very hot when they show bright colors. Each cell uses quite a bit of electricity to activate, and the color white requires full activation of a cell. If the screen is just a blanket of white, each cell is at full activation, and the heat produced at peak brightness may be too much to safely display the image without overheating the unit. Thus, plasma screens will generally show dimmer whites when the screen shows a dove flying through clouds in a blizzard, and brighter whites when a crescent moon stands alone in a starless, night sky (secretly, we are all poets here).

The chart below shows how the screen dims as white fills the screen from 5% to 100% area. More on how we test white falloff.

White Falloff Chart

A true strength of plasma screens is how evenly images are displayed. LCD screens use lighting elements to shine through colored filters on a display to show images, sometimes LED lights, sometimes florescent tube lights. There is no way to arrange these lights such that they shine through evenly, and you will see blotchy patches from the lack of uniformity.

Plasma cells, on the other hand, are the size of individual pixels and active separately according to the input signal. They tend to be as uniform as the number of pixels on the display. On the , there are 1920 lighting cells across and 1080 going down in a matrix that shows a perfectly smooth picture with both all-black and all-white pictures. More on how we test white falloff.

The black and white performance of the has been great to this point. Unfortunately, this greyscale chart looks awful. This graph indicates how well a television transitions from one value to another along a 255 value scale from black to white. Ideally, the line would be straight, sloping at 2.15, with no trembling.

What we see here is regrettably different. The smoothness is not terrible, there are little bumps in the line which show that certain values are skipped, so the great range we talked about earlier isn't fully employed. Instead of being straight, this line appears to grow in three waves. Often, we see an exaggerated version of this pattern when a contrast enhancement feature is turned on (and then we have to retest again, blast!), but all such functions were off. This shows us that the is managing images in clusters: darks, middle grays, and whites. Each of these clusters has its own range of luminance.

We put up a greyscale gradient on the screen of the and saw these deficiencies in action. The three clusters of luminance were readily evident. There was a hard grey line down the center of the gradient where the middle wave peaks in the graph. We noticed a hard black line and a hard white line in the dark and bright parts respectively, where the apex of these waves in the graph occur. Values in between these lines advanced in brightness in irregular blocks that were often too dim or too bright for their position along the gradient.

We are looking at a wash of grays, with only three areas that will stand out: Black, grey, and white, but not much in between. Detail and multitudes of values in the greys are needed to create a 3D image on a 2D plane. Without these qualities, you will see banding, loss of detail, and a flat picture. More on how we test greyscale gamma.

Greyscale Gamma Chart

Color temperature varied throughout the spectrum from dark to light, but stayed mostly within the limits of human perception. You probably won't notice the slight blue tint to pictures in mid range luminance. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Temperature Chart

For top-of-the-line, we were really hoping for better. In fact, we tested the colors three different times, with different calibrations (a process that takes several hours each time), because we have so much faith in LG products, specifically in color performance. Throughout the year, LG televisions have wowed us. Their color accuracy, the use of the entire spectrum, and the smooth transitions rarely matched by other brands. We even tested using the THX Cinema settings, which supposedly go through a host of testing at the factory, to optimize the images for cinema quality. The results were worse than what you see below.

If you compare the beginning of these three graphs with the end, you see the difference between perfect and confoundingly terrible. The three colors start smoothly, sloping in a nice curve, and all colors are in line with each other showing consistency in transition and with the other colors. And then the bumps start, where some values are skipped, or produced incorrectly according to the input signal. Then, the lines begin to separate. Green takes off a little, becoming oversaturated. More bumps, red becomes too shallow, or undersaturated, just before blue explodes into way too bright and maxes out before the brightest possible signal intensity. While blue can get no brighter after a certain point, red and green jumble around, vacillating between too bright and too dim. Red peaks, and then drops before peaking early again. These colors are all over the place.

Similar to the greyscale tests, we put the three colors in gradients on the 's screen. The peaking in the blue was immediately noticeable. Three quarters of the way from darkest to brightest, there was a block of unbreakable blue extending to the brightest end of the gradient. There was banding all over the place, but these bands did not seem to correspond to the correct areas of the gradient. Some bands were very bright, followed by a dim band, followed by another very bright band, when ideally we should have seen a smooth transition from dark to light with no banding at all.

Given that the is LG's flagship model for 2011, we are surprised. Color accuracy requires expensive hardware and the best software engineering. Usually we assume that the higher end models make you pay for these extra efforts. This outcome has left us a bit dumbfounded. It's like we caught our honor roll student smoking meth: the contrast of what is supposed to be and what actually is makes this so confusing that there is nothing to say. We're not angry, we're just disappointed. More on how we test RGB curves.

RGB Curves Chart

The strips below are visual representations of the RGB curves above. What should be a smooth gradient, showing every value of brightness from darkest to brightest, instead displays quite a bit of banding, where colors block together and jump suddenly to the next value. Also notice that some of these banded lines are brighter than they should be, then get slightly dimmer and then back to bright. This is not right.

We checked, there were no extra processing features that helped the perform on our motion tests. The settings "Edge Enhancer" and "Super Resolution" had no perceivable effect, so we left them off, but this TV did very well regardless.

With high frequency patterns in motion, we noticed minor jagged edges developing around the frame and within the patterns. High frequency images, like a series of tightly drawn lines, are the most difficult for a television to move smoothly. The had modest difficulty here. Pictures of people retained excellent detail, faces were completely recognizable, and fine lines stayed strongly separate.

One thing to note is the nature of plasma cells. When viewed closely, plasma cells can look like snow from a bad signal. From a proper viewing distance, they blend together beautifully and you would never notice the fuzz. Yet, when we moved objects back and forth across the screen for our motion tests, the pixel fluctuation was noticeable, but not wholly impairing. It's just that the picture rippled from plasma cell overactivity as it moved, but detail was retained. This fuzziness is much less noticeable with actual content. The occasional static object being pulled across the screen will have some mosquito crawl as it moves. All together, motion was well above average, especially in retention of detail.

More on how we test motion performance.

Film Mode reduced flicker to content produced at 24 frames per second, but it did not rid the picture of judder. A moving SMPTE pattern, or more roguishly referred to as an Indian Head Test Pattern (our pattern contains no such Native American head, but this is the most similar example we could find), wobbled slightly as it moved back and forth in 24fps with Film Mode on.

More likely, the Film Mode is a 3:2 pulldown mode, rather than a true 24fps mode. Instead of showing content at 24fps, the is converting 24fps to 30fps by interpolating half frames together. It works, but not as smoothly as outputting content in the manner it was recorded. Most Blueray content is output at 24fps, where a true 24fps mode is ideal. More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.

Resolution was one of the strongest points for the . Setting the aspect ratio to Just Scan made this TV versatile in every resolution we threw at it. Fine details are readily apparent. There was no overscan, except at 480p, where changing from 16:9 to 4:3 will cause some clipping no matter what. More on how we test resolution scaling.

480p

The 2% all around overscan did not affect any of the patterns we put on the screen. All the moire patterns were intricately displayed, the smallest fonts were clear, they would have been legible had they been smaller, and our highest frequency patterns were discernible with ease.

720p

Only the slightest banding was viewable in some of the moire patterns at this resolution. It was slight enough to lose only a quarter of a point. Everything else was beautiful: Fine detail, no problem; small text, a breeze.

1080p

Resolution testing at 1080p was stunning. The highest frequency patterns at this level are so intricate that most televisions have difficulty. It is why we do the test: An almost unfair challenge to see what the TV is really made of. We think our eyes were banding the highest frequency patterns more than the TV was. We took away a fraction of a point because we saw some of the motion of the plasma cells (described in the motion section above) in a couple of the moire patterns.

This LG uses active shutter glasses to show you 3D images. This is the more costly option for home 3D. The glasses are expensive (approximately $60 a pair). Many people claim to like active shutter 3D images more because there is no resolution loss like you get from passive 3D images. But, because the active shutter glasses are alternately blocking out one eye and then the other to create stereoscopy, you lose half the refresh rate and motion will not be as smooth. Either way, you lose half of something because you need to create two separate moving images from a single screen with limited resources.

Wearing the active glasses on, watching a 3D movie blasting in from our Blu-ray player, we noticed a hefty amount of cross talk that detracted from the 3D experience. Specifically, black and blue colors caused the most crossover between our two eyes, thus detracting from the separated images. The resulting picture was very flat and there were round-the-room headaches caused by our eyes trying to focus on two different depths at once: The plane of the TV screen, and the 3D images jumping out before us. Though 3D experience is a subjective test and hard to gauge scientifically, we can confidently say this was not the most immersive 3D imagery we have seen.

3D Menu Photo

When you watch 3D, you are watching television with a pair of sunglasses on. You would never do that normally, because it would dim the entire picture you paid so dearly to see. This dimming would destroy the contrast ratio, the selling point that really made you spend that extra money for a high quality television. The results in the chart below show you just how much damage 3D glasses do to an otherwise fantastic showing of lights and darks.

3D Contrast Chart

In 3D, there were a couple of bursts of color temperature variance that would be noticeable in the dark grays and brightest whites. However, given the vagaries of crosstalk and general discomfort created by 3D, color temperature will be far from your aching brain.

3D Color Temperature Chart

Like the 2D color curves, which were so bad as to be unbelievable at first, we retested these in 3D THX mode for supposed optimized cinema quality. The results you see below are better than 3D THX mode, and the best we could do with our own calibration.

There is clearly a massive amount of processing happening with these colors in 3D, but what the engineers are attempting is unclear. The green curve jumped several times in the brighter part of the spectrum. Peaks are often the result of trying to create more contrast, such that one brightness is significantly brighter than one just before it, making hard edges pop unrealistically. We can imagine this being helpful considering the extreme loss of contrast with the glasses on, but it only happened with the green values, and only half way through the spectrum.

The blue line was by far the most incorrect and baffling. There were two curves here, one lower and one higher. The higher one started as the brightest values begin, and curves in a reasonable fashion, until a giant valley, where it continued along the same curve as what started at the beginning of the chart. We checked these values to make sure that the didn't just turn off half way through testing, but there were recorded values well above 0 that followed the slope of the earlier part of the graph. The graph itself was so ugly it was deemed unplublishable. What to make of this, we do not know. Look, we just work here.

The color gamut from 2D to 3D did not change at all. This is actually well done, considering the compensation for whatever tint the glasses may have.

3D Color Gamut Chart

Crosstalk is when some part of an image intended for one eye ends up in the other. Stereoscopy, or 3D imagery, is achieved only by keeping two images separate in either eye. Therefore, anything going between both eyes will detract from the illusion of 3D. Crosstalk was a problem for the , showing some of the highest shift percentages of 3D televisions we have seen. The biggest issues were with blue images, worst when adjacent to white images, but when does that happen? Oh yeah, the sky, during the day, with clouds, hmm. Far and away the most crosstalk came with any black areas adjacent to any other colors. So as long as your 3D movie doesn't take place during the day or at night, you should be okay.

Despite providing sub par images, the glasses were excellently crafted. For active shutter eye wear, fashion accessories that use some serious technological hardware, they were feather-weighted. Frequently we put on pairs of 3D glasses that would seem to be burdensome for a two-hour, brain sodomizing extravaganza of wonky 3D images, but with these LG models, we could realistically wear and forget about.

The design was less geeksome than most as well. We make no claims to be other than techno dorks, but we understand feeling silly about wearing a colossal pair of nerd goggles around your house. These glasses are slightly less obtrusive, making for a more comfortable, though unsatisfying, viewing experience.

3D Glasses Photo

The is a 1080p television able to display all NTSC formats.

LCD screens produce images by shining lighting elements through a colored filter. The minute thickness of this filter causes the quality of light to change when viewing images off center, drastically diminishing the contrast ratio. We determine the angle at which a television loses 50% contrast and mark in the chart you see here. The Sony is the only LCD model in the comparison and you can see the narrow area where you will still have a strong picture. Plasma screens have individual cells that activate right beneath the glass surface of the screen and thereby are not affected by a filter, maintaining contrast ratio at wide angles.

This LG has a fantastic viewing angle, even for a plasma screen, besting the two other models in the chart.

Viewing Angle Chart

We shine lights at the televisions as a test to see if external light sources will distract from viewing content. On the , we noticed the reflected pattern of lights was quite diffuse. The white light was broken down into its component colors, meaning that there is some filter on the screen to prevent the light from being reflected at full strength. With a little added angle, the light was really not that noticeable. Pair this knowledge with the fact that this plasma screen gets rather bright for its class, this LG will be very suitable for a range of lighting environments in your home.

There are a pile of video processing modes on the . Depending on your environment, and your own personal preferences, you may like watching with some of these engaged. Just know that all of them affect the picture in a way that makes it inaccurate compared to how it was intended to be viewed.

We calibrate our televisions according to DisplayMate software, using a series standardized tests to achieve a consistent picture throughout the world of varying television technology. We ran tests after calibrating the , and the results were deplorable. This LG is THX Certified, and we ran the tests again using the THX Cinema settings. These settings are supposedly tested in a similar manner at the factory before the television is available for sale. THX settings should bring televisions as close to the exact set of colors and range of grays you will see in the movie theater, the ideal you try to recreate at home.

In the end, our calibration produced slightly better results in the tests, but we are still unsatisfied with the performance.

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DisplayMate_Logo.jpg

All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.

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There are many different calibrated video modes on the . The THX mode was different than what we expected, not providing the best settings for a cinematic picture as advertised.

Port connections are strong with this one. There are four HDMI ports, four analog connections (two composite, two component, neither adapted), two USB ports, one ready to take a whole hard drive of strictly legal content, right? There are two different computer connections, a standard PC VGA plug, with an accompanying PC audio in jack, as well as an RS-232C pin connector to run your TV from an external computer.

Connectivity Tour Image 1

There are two ways to put this TV on the internet. There is a LAN connection, and you can plug in the wireless adapter into one of the USB ports to connect with a router (we had much more success connecting from the LAN port). One little extra is the remote control in, where you can reroute a IR signal from another device into the .

Connectivity Tour Image 2
There are two sections of connections, one side cutout on the left of the display for quick access to the HDMI ports and the USB media ports. The rest of the connections are on the back, but they are easy to access thanks to a swiveling stand. The 10W speakers on either side of this TV are a standard feature of flat screen televisions. Across the board, we do not see speakers with more power than this. Companies generally expect you to shell out some extra money for a quality surround sound system with a sub woofer of about 500W. It would almost be wasteful for a company to put more speaker power into something that they think you will replace anyway. There is a 3D Surround mode built in to this television, attempting to simulate surround sound from the two speakers by bouncing waves off the walls before they get to your ears. This fake surround is not going to wow you into thinking that the Dolby 5.1 fairies magically setup surround speakers in your house, but it will enrich the sound for a more cinematic experience. This function is highly recommended for gun fights, a series of massive explosions, and all situations involving invading aliens. We are big fans of the LG menu system. Hitting "Home" on the remote brings you to a hub where you can access the inputs, settings, internet streaming videos and LG apps. Whatever video you may have been watching at the time continues in a scaled version in the top left of the screen.
Menu Main Photo

There are some traditional menus as well that you can access from the Home menu. By selecting settings from Home, you get a standard transparent overlay on a picture that now fills the screen. When you change individual settings, the menu changes into a small bar to let you see how you are affecting your picture without obscuring it.

LG is embracing the next generation of television with these menus, agreeing with the savvy public that a television is far more than just an idiot box these days. There are several layers of possible multimedia entertainment going on a television and LG has done a great job of collecting them here.

We will say that the whole system could use another round of streamlining. Having several different types of menus is at times visually confusing, but at least it's all there and easy enough to operate.

Menu 2 Photo

We have reviewed this manual before, as it is the same manual for 37 different LG televisions from a 32-inch LCD with no features to this 50-inch plasma with internet and 3D imaging. Some of the connections are not listed in the manual and it is hard to find many of the specifications for your individual model. We have run out of nasty things to say about this mass of paper that claims to be an instructional manual, so if you would like to read more, you can get a full tirade at the bottom of this page.

Instruction Manual Photo

By clicking on the "premium" section of the Home menu, you will be brought to this fun section of the internet interface. This is the best way to browse the multitude of options available. Each of the buttons can be exchanged for others of your choosing. You have your media link, web browser and apps at the bottom.

Internet Features 1 Photo

The premium content features all of the standard internet crazes: Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Facebook, YouTube and other pre-loaded brand names. You are more than welcome to put your own favorites here as well with minimal manipulation.

The app store resembles a tourist trap, selling knick knacks that litter your house until one day you wonder why you ever bought that miniature porcelain version of Chicago's Navy Pier and throw it out in a bout of spring cleaning. Most apps you download here will be fun for five to ten minutes, never to be revisited again.

Internet Features 2 Photo

You can access the full internet as well from the web browser. We always appreciate this option and do not understand the alternative. Why have online media, and no internet? LG stuck with the smart developers and gave its consumers the entire web. We did notice that it can be hard to browse without a full keyboard. You are stuck with the numbers on your remote to write out website URLs. It's doable, you just have to be persistent.

LG has a great media playback interface. The problems we often encounter with these USB media systems is that there are only a few files supported and the menus are so slow that you would probably never use them. This media system was responsive and intuitive.

Local Media Playback 1 Photo

The handled a long list of files for photos, music, and video, as follows: Video:MPG, MPEG, DAT, TS, TRP, TP, VOB, MP4, MOV, MKV, DivX, AVI, ASF, WMV, M4V; Music: MP3, a copy-protected file will not play; Photo: jpeg jpg jpe.

LG-50PZ950-Media-Pic-Options.jpg

The menus were responsive and visually well organized. You have options for controlling your slideshow in terms of speed, picture size and the music you would like to play along. You can also put your photos through filters like "Oil Painting" if you want to mess around.

Local Media Playback 2 Photo

Not the biggest consumer in our chart below, the is going to cost you almost $60 for an average year. It's not bad, but you may have to start adding yearly operation of this television to your budget.

Power Consumption Chart

These two sets are pretty equal in terms of cost (if you knock nine inches off the Samsung), black and white performance, internet, 3D, and connections.

It's the colors that make the distinction here. We rank color performance highly at TelevisionInfo.com because color goes a long way to create the immersive environment, and the parts to display color accurately are expensive. The Samsung produces an acceptable set of colors according to the HDTV standards, and its curves are plenty reasonable. The LG just couldn't get colors to a level that we can responsibly call decent. At this price point, the least we expect is the type of color performance you see on this high-end Samsung. For anything less, we recommend that you save your money.

The did not behave like a traditional plasma screen in the black and white category, with a shifted range of luminance higher than what you tend to see on something like this Samsung model. In summation, the Samsung has a deep black level, but it does not get as bright at the LG. The result of this match up is that the LG has a better contrast ratio by a significant margin.

Contrast Chart

The color temperature on the Samsung was a little more aberrant than the LG. But this is less important than having smoother RGB curves and a more accurate set of colors, where it lambasted the poor performing LG.

Motion was a boon for the LG, running through our tests with ease. The Samsung performed very well also, but not quite to the level of quality we saw on the LG.

Though this Samsung is a plasma model, the viewing angle was surprisingly narrow, like that of an LCD. Somehow, Samsung managed to nix one of the plasma advantages, making us think that an LCD would be a better choice. Compared to this widely viewable LG, this is no contest.

The connection options are very similar between these two. The LG has more analog connections and none of them are adapted which is always a plus. If you lose the adapter, you will have to buy a specialty piece of equipment before you can reconnect your device.

This is a hard choice. Each television in this comparison lacks something essential. The LG really couldn't cut it in the color category, an almost inexcusable detriment at the price consumers are expected to pay. The Panasonic gets no brighter than 70 cd/m2, when we usually look for something at 200 or above. You will have a hard time watching this TV in any situation other than a pitch black room. For hundreds of dollars less, the LG is the better choice, but we were disappointed with both of these high-enders.

This Panasonic had a black level so deep it was almost unmeasurable. Conversely, its peak brightness is poor. At just under 70 cd/m2, it would be hard to watch this television with any other light sources in the same room. The LG here has a better contrast ratio, with a less impressive black level, but a peak brightness that allows for watching in medium levels of light. You will be happier with the LG for its environmental versatility, that is unless you live in a bomb shelter.

Contrast Chart

Color was a drag on the LG. All of the comparison models are high-end, and from the money they expect out of us, we expect a certain level of performance. In the color category, the Panasonic is at or above that level, with really smooth RGB curves and a set of colors that is, if not wholly accurate, slightly oversaturated in blues and reds, the way people claim to like. The LG by comparison just can't shoot out a well-colored picture. The colors are inaccurate and the curves do not transition well. Where LG has succeeded so strongly throughout the year in color performance, they fall flat with their top-of-the-line model.

The LG was such a performer in motion that it would be hard to beat with all the motion processing features in the modern world. The Panasonic was strong in this category, but what is strong compared to unyieldingly powerful?

We saw one of the widest viewing angles on the LG as we did anywhere. The Panasonic is great in this category as well, but right around 70º off center, it falls short of the LG.

The Panasonic has fewer analog connections, only one component and one composite, but it ads an SD card slot reader to put photos directly from a camera onto this large screen. If you are a photog, this could be just the feature you want. Otherwise, the LG has a larger breadth and great accessibility to the ports.

The Sony Bravia KDL-55HX820 is one of the strongest performing televisions in the year 2011. We are hard on just about every brand and every model, but this is one of the few we will wholeheartedly recommend. There is a bit of a difference in price here, this Sony will be a few hundred more than the , but we think it is worth the price.

The LG we have reviewed here has difficulties producing colors, and we cannot support it at this price point. The technology between the two sets is different, going back to the age old discussion of plasma vs. LCD. If you look at the test results between these two specific TVs, you will see that this Sony LCD is better than the LG plasma from the review.

Yeah, this Sony is a beast in blacks and whites. For an LCD screen, getting this dark is mark of quality. Then, being able to blast the brightest values at more than 300 cd/m2 gives it a contrast ratio over 4000:1. Furthermore, if you look at the greyscale curve in the Sony Bravia KDL-55HX820 Full Review, you will see a smooth, evenly sloped line that shows us that practically every value in this range is used to describe beautiful pictures.

The LG has a great contrast ratio and a solidly deep black level, but it's not quite competing with this Sony.

Contrast Chart

Color accuracy does not get much better than this Sony. The curves are so smooth they could be liquid. The color gamut is almost dead on accurate with the HDTV Rec. 709 standard. Our extremely elevated sensibilities were finally satisfied with this model.

We have discussed the color problems with the . For your hard earned money, your eyes and brain deserve better quality.

The LG was a top performer in our motion tests, with only the slightest bit of fuzz from the motion in the plasma cells. The Sony was great also, but we noticed some jagged edges and shape distortion as the processor struggled to match the top of the picture with the bottom.

This comparison is the best example of the difference in viewing angles between LCD and plasma screens. The LG is has one of the widest viewing angles we have seen. The Sony is fairly average for an LCD.

The connections are about the same, the LG has more analog ports for older connections.

There are many of aspects to appreciate about the ($1,500 – much less than the original $2,000 MSRP). This behemoth plasma screen has features aplenty. Just by buying an LG with internet connectivity, you get one of the best user interfaces, with the Home menu acting as a central hub for all types of media possibilities. There are plenty of connections in the back for new and old devices, and you can watch 3D movies if you have the Blue-ray player to do so.

Talking strictly about performance, there is also plenty to like. The viewing angle, even for a plasma, was one of the best we've seen. A large gathering of viewers spread across the room PN59D8000 can watch an unadulterated picture at the same time. The contrast ratio is excellent, using a peak brightness that is hard for a plasma screen to achieve. This makes the versatile for watching in a range of lighting scenarios, instead of just a dark room like most plasmas. Further, the reflectance testing showed that lights are properly diffused and will not distract from your watching. In the motion tests, this LG retained detail at a level that bested all of the top line competition.

However, we cannot really recommend purchasing this television. This TV's ability to transition smoothly along a greyscale gradient or a color gradient was so bad that we assumed something was wrong with our testing. The gamma scale shows us that many values are not used and there is a lack of detail in shadows. You will see a good amount of banding in your images. The colors were just plain wrong, as you can see from our testing in the Color Section. When we retested, and had extremely similar outlying data at the exact same moments during the test, we concluded that this TV isn't that great. For the price, for the claims of being the best, we have to tell you to look elsewhere. Here are three LG televisions, the LG 42LV5500, the LG 47LK520, and the LG 47LW5600, all from this year, for less money, with far superior color and greyscale performance, one of which has 3D imaging and internet features. 'Nuff said.

These two televisions are large 1080p plasma screens. Models in the xxPZ950 series have internet features and 3D imaging capabilities. This series is advertised as the best in the LG line for the year 2011, but we beg to differ. There are better LGs out there from 2011 for less money.

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Christian Sherden

Christian Sherden

Staff Writer

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