September 6, 2011
- Attractive-looking design
- Well-designed interface
- Unique motion controller
- Included Wi-Fi dongle
- No 3D glasses included
- Very light black levels
- Only average image quality
The LG PZ950 50" 3D plasma HDTV has a strong feature set, attractive design and decent performance, but it does lack slightly in overall picture quality compared to other similar plasmas. It does have great Internet applications and the design of the interface, but the interactive motion-sensitive remote control is this TV's most unique feature.
The LG PZ950 has a very clean looking front thanks to the single pane of glass for both the screen and surrounding black bezel, which gives it a glossy, seamless look. There's also a transparent lip that surrounds both the curved base and the panel's edges. In total, it measures 46.3 x 2.0 x 28.4-inches (wdh) and weighs just over 60-pounds. The visual appeal of this TV is definitely one of its strong suits and it will look stunning in almost any home entertainment setting.
The LG menu system has been completely redesigned to highlight the TV's apps and Internet offerings. The interface is easy on the eye too, especially since it uses big icons and a new Home page that lets you customize it so it contains the applications and services that you want. There's a section to include up to five of your favorite "Premium" services, like Netflix and Amazon, right on this Home page.
To navigate the interface, you can use the included remote, which measures 9.2 x 1.8-inches and has illuminated keys. However, there is also a secondary remote that uses motion-based RF control very similar to the Nintendo Wii, which lets you point the remote at the TV and select options via a moving cursor. This wand remote includes a few buttons, like a Home button, navigation control, volume/channel adjustments and a mute button. You can use this motion control in all of the applications, except for Netflix, which forbids motion control unfortunately, so you have to use the standard remote for that.
The "Premium" services that are offered on the LG PZ950 are not really premium, but rather the usual Internet services offered on today's Internet-connected TVs. This particular model offers almost all of the big ones, including Vudu, Napster, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Twitter, Amazon Instant, Picasa, Facebook, YouTube, Google Maps, a Web browser (no Flash support) and many others. However, one that is noticeably missing is Pandora.
In terms of connectivity, you'll find four HDMI inputs, two component video inputs, two composite inputs, VGA-in, two USB ports, optical digital audio and Ethernet. For users who want to use a wireless connection, LG includes a USB Wi-Fi dongle in the box.
Some of the basic specifications include a 50-inch widescreen display, 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, a 16:9 native aspect ratio, virtual surround sound with two 10-Watt speakers, DLNA and HDCP support.
In subjective performance tests, the LG PZ950 was rated as "Good" overall. It has very good color quality and accuracy, however it didn't gain a higher rating due to its lacking black levels. We found this plasma to have very light black levels, which is a surprise for the plasma television. Because of this, viewing this TV in a brightly-lit environment is a little difficult because some of the picture gets washed out.
3D performance was rated as "Good" as well as it had decent 3D image performance, but crosstalk was visible and at times, much more than expected. However, we did note that the best 3D performance did not require the viewer to be directly in front of the TV, which is something that most LED sets require. Unfortunately, LG doesn't include any pairs of the 3D glasses with this TV, which is always mind-boggling when a manufacturer does that. The glasses are active-shutter and use 2.4GHz wireless as well as rechargeable batteries.