Top positive review
121 people found this helpful
Value, performance, quality - this LG TV delivers
on April 7, 2010
Let me start by saying that I am not a videophile, but when it comes to purchasing a television I can be very picky. I went through the whole LCD vs. Plasma dilemma 3 years ago when I bought my Samsung 5084 (one of the best non-Pioneer plasmas at the time). That said, I was ready to supplement that unit this year with a 'smaller' LCD for the bedroom (didn't want to sweat IR, horizontal line bleed, etc). Needless to say, LCD options in the 'budget' range lack features that alleviate some of their drawbacks, forcing you to suffer through motion blur, clouding, and terrible black levels if you choose a set for ~$800).
Enter the 42" plasmas. For the sake of comparison, I decided to investigate the plasma alternative once again. This essentially brought me to the Samsung C450 due to my positive experience with the 5084 and glowing reviews for the C450. Unfortunately, users reported an audible buzzing noise from the Samsung (a noise I know full well from the 5084 and did not want to deal with on a bedroom set).
Enter the PJ350. I only became aware of this set after seeing it next to the Samsung at the store. From a design perspective, it tops the Samsung with an ultra thin bezel, very thin chassis, and no 'touch of red'. Furthermore, I heard no buzzing from the LG floor model, while the Samsung sounded like someone was digging honey out of a beehive. Since it is a brand new model I had no reviews to rely on, but I took the plunge.
Picture quality from this unit is superb for any sub-$1k TV, much less one at this price point. This 720p set rivals my 1080p plasma in most respects, most notably black levels. I have only had it for a few days now, but setting the TV on 'cinema' mode at 70 contrast and 50 brightness is really impressive (I recommend switching those two numbers for several weeks to break in the unit). If you place your head behind the unit, you can hear the typical plasma 'buzz', but this is completely inaudible at any reasonable viewing distance. While this goes without saying, all the benefits of plasma are apparent with this TV: cinematic quality motion (none of that chincy 120hz movement), 24p bluray playback, consistent backlighting, etc. I have noticed a tiny amount of false contouring, but less than my Samsung - hardly an annoyance. OTA video quality is, of course, superb. The reviewer who stated that colors are not as vivid clearly didn't recognize that picture settings are independently adjustable for each input. This TV does offer a settings wizard to help set the picture based on your unit and environment, but I prefer manual adjustment to suit my personal tastes.
If you're worried about not having 1080p, don't be. At this size, you will not detect a difference anywhere outside 4' from the unit. The screen is quite reflective, but if glare is your primary concern then you surely can settle for the inferior picture quality of a cheap LCD. While I have limited experience with my LG, I can honestly say that I am very pleased thus far.