LG 50PK950 REVIEWS
The good: Produces relatively deep black levels; accurate color overall; correctly handles 1080p/24 sources; plenty of streaming and interactive features; extensive picture controls; sleek styling with single-plane design and 2-inch-deep panel; Magic Wand remote works well.
The bad: Near-black areas tinged bluish; less-accurate yellow and cyan; fewer apps and services than many other interactive models have; exhibits some temporary image retention; inefficient power use; Magic Wand remote feels like a gimmick.
The bottom line: LG's PK950 series plasma TV competes well against the picture quality of flagship models from other manufacturers.
Many home theater fans will give plasma the nod over LCD and LED-based flat-panel displays, if only because plasma TVs nearly always exhibits perfect uniformity and off-angle viewing characteristics, and often have better black levels than LCDs do. Those same fans may also dismiss LG and focus on Samsung and Panasonic, the other two plasma makers left in the market, but in the case of LG's PK950 series, they'd be overlooking a gem.
LG's best plasma TV for 2010 is also the company's best ever, and while it lacks 3D and some of the interactive options found on the competition, it also costs less than other makers' top panels. Its black levels are deeper than those of previous LGs, its color is mostly accurate and it handles 1080p/24 Blu-ray sources correctly, unlike many competing plasmas. Add to that a sleek, single-pane look, and the LG PK950 presents a combination to tempt image quality sticklers and style mavens alike.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 50-inch LG 50PK950, but this review also applies to the 60-inch LG 60PK950. Both have identical specifications and, according to the manufacturer, should provide very similar picture quality.
Panasonic abandoned the sleek, flush, single-pane look on its 2010 plasma line, but LG kept it intact with both the PK750 and the PK950. The latter is differentiated from the former by virtue of a transparent stand stalk and slightly narrower transparent edge along the bottom of the panel (both originated by Samsung, but who's counting?), as well as by the glass-topped stand base. Otherwise, the two LGs appear very similar, and we like their looks a lot--although not quite as much as the matte finish of the Samsung PNC7000 plasma.
For what it's worth, the 2.1-inch depth of the PK950 also falls in the middle between the Panasonic (3.5 inches) and slim Samsung (1.4 inches) plasmas.
One of the big step-up features in LG's flagship 2010 products, including the PK950 and the LX9500 LCD, is the "Magic Wand" remote, which behaves much like the Wiimote motion controller used on the Nintendo Wii. LG's little clicker fits well in the hand and its few buttons are easy to find by feel, but you really only need two: Home and Select. The former calls up a simplified menu system and a big cursor control, and moving the remote itself to point the cursor activates menu items.