This hulking 50in Freeview HD set is packed with tech. Can its picture quality match the jaw-dropping spec list?
With prices for 40in and 42in LCDs dropping well below the £600 mark, it’s now not such a novelty having a TV take up an entire wall of one’s lounge. But a 50in panel remains a serious slab of tech and if ever a TV carried its huge frame well, it’s this LG.
Part of the company's Infinia range, the 50PK990 lacks 3D capabilities but has a sleek, seamless frontage complete with a set of invisible speakers. High marks for the form, then, but what about the function?
Freeview HD onboard
It's certainly good on paper, with a Freeview HD tuner, 600Hz tech, DLNA certification and wired or wireless (with an LG dongle) internet connectivity for access to LG's Netcast service.
Full HD resolution, four HDMI inputs, a USB 2.0 connection – for playing video, pictures and audio – and integrated Bluetooth complete a bang-up-to-date spec.
The TV tuner has a large expanse of screen to fill, but the picture holds up well. It's cleaner and crisper than rivals, with good detail and realistic colours.
As with other Freeview HD sets that we've seen so far, there's very little fanfare involved with this tuner. A standard auto set-up to scan for digital TV channels simply sees BBC HD and ITV turning up as channels 50 and 50 on the list.
And very nice they look, too. Edges are sharp and insight is superb, as we've come to expect from HD content. It's only something of a shame that the speakers aren't up to much.
This is nothing new in the flatscreen world, though it always miffs us a bit. But then, if you're buying one of these, though, you'll likely have a speaker setup to connect it to.
To make comparisons we dusted off our trusty Pioneer PDP-LX5090, and it turned out that while the Pioneer's celebrated black levels couldn't be matched, the LG equipped itself with aplomb elsewhere.
It's brilliantly clean and free of noise, while motion is handled smoothly and colours are bright and vivid, but still believable.
That Pioneer telly is far pricier and hard to get hold of, but in comparison to available 50in sets this LG model stands up extremely well: it might be more expensive than most of its rivals, but we think it's well worth the spend.
LG 50PK990 Infinia review
A top HD set for a remarkable price. There are big discounts to be had too