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LG Electronics 50PG30 50-Inch Plasma HDTV

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder 50PG30 50-inch Plasma

The LG 50PG30 is an inexpensive plasma HDTV ($1700, as of November 4, 2008) with stylish looks. Its design and its range of inputs (including three HDMI ports) will attract attention, but this model's image quality is only average.

In PC World Test Center tests, our judges had a wide range of reactions to the set. It looked quite good when viewed at an angle--as you'd expect from a plasma TV. And I thought the 50PG30 did a very good job with foreground and background detail (especially the latter) on our David Letterman interview clip. My least satisfying 50PG30-viewing experience was in the NASCAR clip, where I observed some motion blur and fuzziness. Other judges' appraisals were less upbeat. One faulted facial tones; another said that images appeared flat, with colors that didn't pop.

The 50PG30 is easy to set up--with conveniently placed inputs and a setup wizard that asks whether to optimize for home use or store use. Six large icons form the crux of the on-screen menu; I found the menus to be logically organized--and because they were slightly transparent, they didn't block too much of the picture.

The Quick Menu offers even easier access to common options such as the set's picture and sound modes. And the selections that pop up (as icons along the bottom of the screen) when you press the input button give top priority to sources that are currently sending a signal to the TV--a time-saving touch.

But the 50PG30 lacks a number of extra features. It has no picture-in-picture, and no USB or SD Card multimedia capabilities. The minimalist remote doesn't glow in the dark, isn't programmable; and can control only VCR or DVD players that support LG's SimpLink (HDMI CEC) interface.

The 50PG30 finished second among our 50- and 52-inch sets in our overall rankings, thanks in large part to its aggressively low price (the Hitachi P50X902, for example costs almost twice as much, at $3200), but it can't touch the superior design and top-of-line image quality of our number one large-screen set, the Samsung PN50A760. LG's other entrant in this category, the 52LG70, is superior to the 50PG30 in almost every way--but it costs $800 more.

As a pretty good TV at a very low price, LG's 50PG30 qualifies as a bargain.

This story, "LG Electronics 50PG30 50-Inch Plasma HDTV" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Though inexpensive for its screen size, the LG 50PG30 plasma HDTV lacks features and image punch.


    • Low price for its size
    • Very good on-screen menus


    • Lacks picture-in-picture
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