3D’s most haunted

LG’s 3D-capable plasma rewrites the rule book, says crosstalk ghost-hunter, John Archer. It’s just a pity that in it’s the wrong way...

Given that most brands are still adding a premium for their 3D TVs, this LG’s price is remarkable and could usher in a new era of 3D affordability. So far active 3D plasma TVs have tended to be more expensive than equivalent- sized LCD 3D TVs, and not suffered as badly from crosstalk.

This new affordability comes at a hefty performance cost, though, because there are pretty horrific amounts of crosstalk noise during 3D viewing. In fact, it is so severe that it rivals even the worst LCD 3D TVs.

3D non-starter

Crosstalk’s double ghosting noise is blatant during almost any 3D scene, but it’s especially egregious during dark scenes and shots with extreme levels of depth, such as the tough lantern sequence in Tangled, or the Golden Gate Bridge sequence in Monsters Vs Aliens.

However, the crosstalk fatigues your eyes, becoming the only thing you see, and robbing 3D Blu-rays of the sharpness that’s supposed to be active 3D’s point.

Even worse, the 50PW450T isn’t Full HD and the resolution tops out at 1024 x 768. This pixel structure is now rare, especially on TVs as big as 50in. So suddenly it doesn’t look like such a bargain.

The design is perfunctory, despite the best efforts of a glamorous desktop stand. Its connections, though, are fair enough, with three HDMIs, a single USB with photo/ music/video playback potential, and a LAN port. This LAN won’t access LG’s Smart TV online portal. Nor can it access a networked PC, either. It’s only there as mandatory support for the set’s onboard Freeview HD tuner.

Away from 3D material this screen fares better. Tucked within the 50PW450T’s menus is a comprehensive array of ISF- approved picture calibration aids, which is handy, since tinkering with the provided tools can yield quite respectable pictures where 2D HD sources are concerned. For instance, dark scenes enjoy a fairly deep black level response and solid shadow detail reproduction versus LCD rivals. The good contrast effort isn’t reduced by wide-angle viewing as per LCD models, either.

Hi-def sources also look decently crisp considering the set’s lower resolution and colours are fulsomely saturated and dynamic. Enthusiasts will, however, bemoan both the appearance of striping and patchy colour blends and the amount of dot crawl in HD pictures, particularly during camera pans.

This noise increases exponentially with standard-def sources, which also suffer a few rogue colour tones, more skin tone ‘blocking’ and a generally rather soft, imprecise look.

While the set sounds like a great value big-screen gaming monitor, its potential is destroyed by a measured input lag of 100ms. This delay could cause you significant game performance issues.

Unexpectedly, after its various significant picture problems, the 50PW450T produces a good audio performance. There’s a surprising amount of bass to add power and authenticity to action scenes, yet the mid-range and treble parts of the spectrum seldom sound overwhelmed or cramped.

HCC VERDICT

Highs: Great value; includes a pair of active shutter glasses; sounds good; calibration flexibility
Lows: 3D pictures destroyed by crosstalk; not a Full HD panel
Performance: 2/5
Design: 3/5
Features: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

Specifications

3D: YES, active shutter
Full HD: YES including 1080p/24
Tuner: YES Freeview HD
Component video: YES 1 x input
HDMI: YES 3 x v1.4
PC input: YES 1 x D-Sub
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Sound: 2 x 10W
Brightness (claimed): N/A
Contrast ratio (claimed): 3,000,000:1
Dimensions: 1168.4(w) x 711.3(h) x 52.5(d)mm
Weight: 27.2kg
Also featuring: One pair of glasses included; 600Hz subfield drive; USB media playback; colour and gamma management; noise reduction processing; 2D-3D conversion