Test Report: LG 50PM9700 3D Plasma HDTV Page 2

Performance

Adjustments made and TruMotion defeated, I sat back to watch something other than test patterns on the LG. I happened upon an episode of the Showtime series The Tudors being broadcast on BBC America HD, and was transfixed: The set’s accurate color revealed a striking range of skin tone differences in the faces of King Henry VIII’s court as they gathered for an outdoor event. I could also make out subtle variations of hue between Cardinal Wolsey’s vermilion cloak and Princess Margaret’s crimson one.

To test out the LG with darker material, I next watched Snow White & the Huntsman on Blu-ray. In the scenes that take place in Snow White’s prison cell in the castle’s north tower, the set’s shadow detail and black depth were both good enough to adequately convey the gloomy despair of the dungeon-like environment. Still, the LG’s performance here was a notch below the best plasmas I’ve checked out recently — deep shadows and bars at the top and bottom of the image looked solid but were not inky-black. (See Test Bench for contrast-ratio info.)

Watching 3D on the LG turned out to be some- thing of a mixed bag. Its picture in both THX and ISF modes was fairly dim, requiring me to watch in the darkest conditions possible to enjoy the experience to any degree. (Picture brightness in 3D mode is an area where some recent LCDs I’ve tested, including those from LG, retain an edge over plasma.) There was also a fair amount of crosstalk visible in the torture-test Blu-ray Hugo, particularly in the scenes early on where Hugo trails Méliès back to his flat.

One 3D disc that did look good on the LG was The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Pirates! manages to strike enough balance between stupid and sophisticated humor to appeal to both kids and adults alike. The animation had a strong 3D effect because it is 3D: stop-motion, as opposed to computer-generated. And there are numerous scenes where objects pop out from the screen to good effect. For example, one where Black Bellamy arrives at the Pirate of the Year competition via the mouth of a leviathan launched forth from the ocean. And another where the Pirate Captain, emerging from a period of grave self-doubt, dives back into the game by unfurling an extra-gruesome skull and crossbones with bulging, spring-loaded eyeballs. In these scenes and plenty of others, the LG displayed an impressive sense of 3D depth.

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