DisplayMate & HQV Tests
DisplayMate is an application which generates a sequence of test patterns to determine the capabilities of imaging devices, like color and gray-scale accuracies for example. For our tests, we've hooked up the PZ950 to our display test-bed PC via its HDMI connection. To be fair across the board, we have also disabled all visual enhancements on the TV in order to reduce the variables involved.
We used three test patterns (red, blue and green) with different tints to test the PZ950's uniformity. As expected from a plasma panel, results were exemplary with all three colors, and especially so for the brighter tones. However, noise levels became more prominent when we toggled the colors to the darkest hue (step 6 of 6) possible. We'll see if these noise grains would affect video sources during our HD and SD tests or is it only present with static digital images.
Dark Gray Scale
The PZ950 produced satisfactory blacks, although the darker gray blocks weren't discernible with our calibrated brightness setting of 40. We had to increase the brightness dial to 61 before we could perceive the darker gray blocks on the test scale. As far as Blu-ray or video feeds are concerned, you might have to fiddle with the brightness levels in order to find a sweet spot for the best shadow detail.
Each color block was well defined with no signs of color misrepresentations. The PZ950 also demonstrated an effective ease at producing vibrant tones and gradual color gradations. The only gripe we have is how rapidly the darker blocks faded to black. As a result, darker images with subtle differences in hue might not be translated by the PZ950 very well.
256-Intensity Level Color Ramp
This test image is visibly more demanding than the Color Scales pattern in that it challenges the panel to reproduce 'crease-less' gradients on the white, red, green and blue bands. Results were mostly positive on the PZ950 where only minor compression (or color banding) artifacts were apparent towards the darker end of the color bars.
IDT HQV Tests
IDT's HQV Tests are designed to assess image quality and the handling of digital displays and players through a variety of video signal processing tasks which includes decoding, de-interlacing, motion correction, noise reduction and film cadence detection. We've programmed the Blu-ray player to playback in 1080i in order to stress the TV's video processor. This compels the TV's processor to convert interlaced signals into progressive to accommodate the HDTV's panel. Here are the results we noted on a few of the most crucial tests:-
Digital Noise Filtering
The PZ950 is equipped with four noise reduction levels: Off, Low, Medium and High. On a positive note, LG's algorithms were able to filter a decent fraction of noise grains without sacrificing image detail. However, little difference was perceived between the High and Low noise reduction settings.
Diagonal Filter Test
LG's PDP was delightfully adept at processing moving interlaced images, judging by how the rotating bar was almost free of "jaggies". In other words, the PZ950 should cope well with 1080i HD broadcasts, such as those delivered by Starhub's HD set-top box or Singtel's mio TV.
Film Resolution Loss Test
The PZ950 does not offer any auto film cadence detection. However, its inverse telecine feature also known as Film Mode, is clearly one of LG's best enhancement attributes given how 'strobing' was almost nonexistent on the SMPTE pattern. In other words, this TV is comfortable with decoding 1080i60 broadcast signals sourced from 1080p24 content.