LG 9700 Plasma Review: Smooth as a Soap OperaS

Panasonic and Samsung make some sweet plasma TVs. The newest LG, the 9700, is definitely an improvement over the company's plasmas to date. But can it maintain the pace set by its competitors?

What Is It?

A 50" 3D Plasma television from LG.

Who's It For?

Viewers who don't mind a picture that looks artificially smoothed and lacking in vibrant color.

Design

The matte screen is surrounded by a 1-inch black side bezel and 2-inch bottom. The 60 pound display is mounted on a flying V base-stand, which minimizes its footprint.

Using It

Installation is simple enough, requiring seven screws and an assistant. Setup is automatic, aside from entering your network password.

The Best Part

Bright-room picture quality is leagues better than the 9700's LCD-based competition, thanks to the screen's matte finish. The picture sharpness and clarity are outstanding, with very little blur or fast motion artifacts.

Tragic Flaw

Colors. The TruBlack system makes black levels paltry, leaving the other colors looking washed out and dull. There were even more accurate colors on the LM6700 (reviewed in May), and that was an LCD.

This Is Weird...

There's overbearing smoothing algorithm that makes everything look like it was filmed for the BBC. Or a goddamn soap opera. It's cool for the first 15 minutes, but then it gets annoying. It isn't bad on broadcast television, but it's glaringly obvious when watching films. And there's no way to turn it off.

Test Notes

  • 3D glasses are flimsy and feel cheap, much like the 3D picture itself.
  • It's THX-certified.
  • For some reason, only half the HDMI plugs are side-facing. This causes problems when wall-mounting it and using more than a pair of HD devices.
  • Dual user-defined calibration settings are nice for switching between day and night viewing.

Should You Buy It?

I'm going to say pass on this one. Other plasmas on the market today deliver a better picture—Panasonic PUT50 is a good one for dirt cheap, and the Samsung PN6700 is excellent, though it's a bit pricier than the LG. Of course, for a few hundred bucks more, you can get one of the best TVs we've seen all year—the Panasonic VT50.

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LG 9700 Specs

• Screen Size: 50"
• Display Type: Plasma
• Contrast: 5,000,000:1 (dynamic)
• Connectivity: 4HDMI, 4 USB, WI-FI, DNLA, WiDi
• Weight: 62lbs
• Price: $1,299 at Amazon
• Gizrank: 3.0 stars