Televisions Guide

LG 60PZ950 Plasma Smart TV review

LG 60PZ950 Plasma TV - A Blacker Shade of Pale

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
8.5
3D Performance:
8.5
HD Performance:
8.5
SD Performance:
8.5
Features:
8.5
Value:
9
THE GOOD
Elegant design
Fast response time
Excellent 3D depths and clarity
THE BAD
Subtle image retention
Sub-par black depths


HD, SD & 3D Tests

High Definition Tests

 

Corpse Bride (Blu-ray)

Tim Burton's stop-motion comedy makes an ideal choice for evaluating a television's black levels and contrasts, given the film's dark backdrops and well defined characters. For starters, Corpse Bride is watchable on the PZ950 by its default Standard settings, minus the picture enhancements. Images were crisp, while motion was fluidly rendered with little traces of ghosting. Black levels were decent, but it wasn't as pitch black as we've liked to see in a plasma panel. Noise present in the DisplayMate tests did not manifest here apparently. The TV's Dynamic Contrast feature is useful if you'd want to give the picture a sharper and brighter treatment, although we'd recommend setting it to "Low" to avoid an excessively sharp and saturated result. To add, LG's Super Resolution did not produce any obvious improvements to the picture quality either. We also checked out the THX Cinema mode, tuned by THX engineers for optimized black levels and video parameters. Colors were perceptibly muted but delightfully natural on this global picture setting. Images were visibly softer too.

 

 

Vantage Point (Blu-ray)

Our first observation of Vantage Point was the bold colors portrayed by the PZ950. Essentially, brighter hues such as the reds and the yellows were more fiery than usual, based on the Standard preset. Similar to our observation on Corpse Bride, LG's PDP had no difficulty in tackling the fast-paced action of Vantage Point. Essentially, there weren't any distinct image trails we could detect. Another feather in the PZ950's hat would have to be its wide viewing angles, for we did not detect any signs of contrast or color shifts even at 70 degrees off-center. The TV worked well in Film Mode with little instances of judder or frame drops. The PZ950 also showed no signs of phosphor trailing, which suggests its phosphors has a brief decay time. For all its strengths, the PZ950 isn't perfect. Noise grains were more obvious on Vantage Point compared to Corpse Bride. Setting its noise filters to "Low" might help. We noticed that darker details can be obscured  based on the calibrated settings. Switching the TV's Black Levels to "High" or increasing its brightness might help, although purists would scoff at the compromised blacks.

 

Advanced Configurations Used For Blu-ray Playback
 Function Recommended Settings 
 Dynamic Contrast  Off 
 Dynamic Color  Off (Enriches color but it was too saturated for our liking)
 Noise Reduction  Low
 Super Resolution  Off
 Gamma  Medium
 Black Level  Low (Switch to 'High' if darker picture aspects are obscured)
 Film Mode  On
 Color Gamut  Wide
 Edge Enhancer  Off (Enabling this gives the picture an unnatural sharpness)

 

X-Men: The Last Stand (DVD)

There were a number of scenes with camera pans which caused some minor stutter. This little setback detracts from the PZ950's commendable de-interlacing processing so far. Apart from this minor niggle, however, up-converted content from the DVD source was nicely scaled to suit the panel's native Full-HD resolution. There were no signs of distortion on the 16:9 screen. Details were relatively rich as well, considering this TV has 60 inches of real estate to fill. Although pixelation artifacts were present around moving subjects, such as the top-down scene of Cyclops on his Harley (23:10) for instance, they were negligible for the most part since they are only distinguishable if you are sitting up close. The 'X-Men: The Last Stand' DVD was definitely watchable on the PZ950 with its ghost-free images, but try not to leave a "frozen frame" on the TV for too long since image retention is another concern LG will have to deal with.

 

Monster vs Aliens (3D)

We rate a television's 3D performance based on three main factors: depth, clarity, and crosstalk. The PZ950 offered very satisfying depths, even more so than its passive LW6500 cousin. Observably, subjects in the foreground and background are rightly displaced, thus giving the viewer the impression that some objects are coming right at you, such as pulsating lasers or flying asteroids in Monsters vs Aliens for instance. Clarity was top notch as well. LG did a laudable job in setting the appropriate 3D picture parameters, and this also meant increasing the panel's gamma and brightness levels to compensate for the glasses' dimming effect. However, one negating aspect is the inability to edit the picture settings when the TV is in 3D mode. Crosstalk did not present itself under most circumstances, although it is vaguely perceptible with fast moving subjects. We also noticed that the glasses did not darken when viewed vertically as with most active-shutter LCD sets.

Note: The following images were shot in 2D for illustration purposes.