televisions

LG 50PZ950 Review

50 in.

This 1080p plasma television with internet and 3D capabilities is purportedly the best LG has to offer.

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Science Introduction

To say we were disappointed in the PZ950's performance might seem confusing. On a whole, its performance—while totally lackluster—was not that bad. It tested with a decent contrast ratio and acceptable color performance, but both of sets of tests revealed performance problems not befitting a flagship model. This kind of performance would garner a more lenient response from us were the PZ950 an entry-level or even mid-range plasma, but considering that it's LG's flagship for 2011, we were expecting much more impressive results.

Contrast Ratio

The PZ950's black level and peak brightness illustrate a contrast ratio that is not necessarily bad, but is still unimpressive.

Contrast ratio is the measure of a television's light output range, which enables a particular flexibility in its performance. Both the TV's greyscale (black to white) and color performance can be negatively impacted by a contrast ratio that is too narrow. The PZ950's result of 3594:1 is acceptable, but caused problems in it's color curve presentation.

To determine contrast ratio, we divide a television's peak brightness by its black level. The PZ950 tested with a peak brightness of 143.74 cd/m 2, which is fairly dim, though not terrible. Its black level of 0.04 cd/m 2 is okay, except that we typically expect plasmas to have darker black levels. It's dark enough—and yet we've seen LCDs that could produce this dim level of luminosity as well. What's most memorable about the PZ950's contrast performance? How forgettable it is.

Color

The PZ950's color curves started out on the right path, but were quickly scattering and hiccuping.

Color and greyscale curves reveal this TV's ability—or inability—to produce an even and well-represented spectrum of hues/shades. The PZ950's curves start out smoothly, meaning that the first handful of shadow tones in colors will possess a rich quality of detail and no one color will "outshine" the others. This is when things start to get a little messy.

The PZ950's color curves begin to get bumpy, which shows an uneven leveling of their luminosity. In order words, shades and hues that should be brighter will suddenly get darker, then brighter, then darker. This causes banding and uneven transition to and from one hue to the next, which goes a long way towards destroying the PZ950's color integrity, and ruining your ability to be convinced by content attempting realism. This is unacceptable, especially for a flagship, and can ruin the experience in some instances.

Other Tests

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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