Most helpful positive review
72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
For the price, it's a true winner
on June 2, 2009
Pros: Rich, vibrant colors; full complement of inputs; extensive color calibration and menu system; inky plasma blacks
Cons: Ineffective anti-reflective coating; basic remote; jerky motion on panning
Summary: This year's bargain plasmas - the Samsung 50PNB450, Panasonic TC-P50X1, and the LG 50PQ30 here - can all be found for around the same price. Each set has its strengths and weaknesses, but in my opinion this LG set comes out the strongest of the pack to be the best big-screen value in 2009.
This set looks great. The swivel stand is a gentle oval in front but tapered in the back to allow you to push it close to a wall - thoughtful. All the inputs are well labeled and easy to find, and LG includes a full batch of cable ties and routes for your convenience - thoughtful. There's also a handy microfiber cloth to polish the shiny bezel - thoughtful. Out of the box, it's a great experience.
Once plugged in to an HD source (I have a Scientific Atlanta HD cable box, a XBox 360, and a Samsung BD-P1600 Blu Ray player), the colors in Standard mode are much better than on the Panasonic plasma I also own. LG generously included two "expert" modes which allow full tuning of each color channel as well as adjustments for greyscale, gamma, etc - this set easily bests the competition from Panasonic and Samsung, with the added bonus that 95% of viewers will plug it in, think it looks great, and never touch any of that stuff. There are energy saving modes which dim the set according to prevailing light conditions as well, and the set automatically turns off if there's no signal.
I will add that this set does not buzz, or at least buzzes much less than my Panasonic plasma. I can hear the Panasonic from my seating position of 10 feet away, but only if I rest my head on the LG do I hear anything. This feels like a better constructed all-around package than this year's Panasonics.
The speakers are nicely hidden underneath the set, and LG includes several sound enhancement modes, two of which - the ClearVoice and auto-volume - are actually useful. It's more than enough for late-night viewing when we let the receiver rest and relax.
There is very little sign of image retention on this set. The only time I've seen it is from the bright white and red menus of the Netflix interface via Samsung's blu-ray player. It went away after a quick white wash. The set has a pixel orbiter which should mean no worries whatsoever with regards to burn in as long as you don't leave a DVD menu up all day.
As for the reflections, I think it's a combination of a coating less effective than Panasonic's as well as this just being one humongous piece of glass. It's easy to live with as long as you make sure there are no lights or windows within the same line of sight of you and the set (the swivel base is very helpful in minimizing reflections as well).
Once the movies get rolling, it's clear you've made a good decision. The set's pixel grid and screen-door effect are, of course, visible within 3 feet, but once you sit back 5 or more feet it disappears and you're left with a sharp, lifelike, colorful window onto the world. It's a marvelous set, the best I've ever seen in my house and I've paid over $2000 (34" CRT HDTV) for TVs before. Blacks are black, whites are white, and everything else is right.
It's hard to go wrong at this price with any of this year's sets, but the LG is the most stylish and best-priced of the lot. Given its natural color, solid build quality, full feature set, and fantastic image quality, the set recommends itself. Buy with confidence.