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THE WORLDS BEST PLASMA!
Now its exactly three years since I in HemmaBio magazine did Europes biggest test (at that time) of plasma screens. The development since then has really moved forward and we today have screens that without pardon annihilates those from that time, and at the same time only cost a fraction of what they did. I recently happened to pass by this LG plasma by coincidence at a fair in Stockholm and after just a short glance I realised the need to get this machined out in the medias so you as a consumer would know that you actually can by a plasma with a good conscience today because here, every cent does what its supposed to do. This XGA plasma gives a CHOCKING good picture at an attractive price!!! BigScreen Entertainment
When this test was made, in December 2001, a normal plasma in size 42 inch (which is the normal mainstream size for a plasma, as 29 inch is normal for a traditional CRT TV) was around 8-12000 Euros. The rst generation emerged in 98-99 and was even more expensive a shameless 20-25000 Euros and then there were only lthy rich morons that bought screens. Today we have reached a price tag of below 4000, that means less than 100 Euros per inch, and this with a picture quality that makes the rst generation screen look like industrial waste. If you would take a screen from the rst generation and place it on the side of this screen even a nearly blind would see and understand the difference between rocks and diamonds. Now this might sound hard, but the fact is that the rst generation screen were pure crap even related to their price. You get a pretty decent car for 25000 Euro. NECs test winning screen 2001 - NEC PlasmaSync 42MP3 was the one considered the best, and it was good, but hardly worth as much money as 8000 Euros. Today NEC is still one of the top players in plasma, together with the founder of the technology Fujitsu (co-operates with Hitachi), and the contrast and black masters within plasma: Panasonic. These are three very good suppliers of plasma screens and TVs (built-in tuner), but none of them has ever presented a screen that for such a low price as this LG manages to get such an incredibly good picture quality. LG is one of only ^ve manufacturers of plasma screens. The others are Fujitsu/Hitachi, NEC, Panasonic and Pioneer. Read more about the plasma technology under Everything about Image Image reproduction techniques.
Good looking design furniture and element
Buying a plasma screen initially was more a question of design, interior decoration and taste, which gives a sense of luxury, even though the actual picture quality was not the best available. This was the main reason the screen were sold. Those who could afford was soon tempted to throw the big CRT TV out the door and instead opt for the piece of wall art that a plasma screen actually is. Now when LG presents a screen that delivers such a good movie picture we can please you with the fact that they do it in a great design as well. This model RZ 42-PY10x which ends with a little x, is a more luxury model of the PY10 (which lacks the x). The only thing that differs them is that this version has a black glass frame around the screen while the other is in black plastic - this gives the x model a much more luxury look. Above and below the black frame there is a thing silver edge that connects to the two side placed speakers in the same nish. The silver colour is a nice contrast to the black and also matches the enclosed table stand in the same silver nish. We thought about giving it a small minus due to the fact that the stand makes it somewhat tricky to reach the connectors but with some tweaking it works out. Obviously the screen looks best on the wall which at the same time frees up some oor space in your home. RZ-PY10 is a really nice looking piece of furniture and will without doubt look great in all fresh homes that wishes for a big and good TV on the wall. On thing worth mentioning before we go on is that the screen, like most plasma screens, has a small fan that is hardly noticeable unless the room is dead quiet. Nothing that really bother us, but we still wanted to mention it. The fan is necessary as the screen gets pretty hot after a while and feels like an electric heater set at a nice comfort temperature.
Loaded with connectors and DCDi
The remote control is really great looking and ts well with the screen. From the remote you quickly and easily manage everything like channel setting, picture calibration and so on. You can also set up the remote to control other components. The buttons on the screen has been hidden below the lower edge and are easily accessible without interfering with the clean design. Small symbols on the right side of the screen informs about which input is active etc. It looks very neat but you may shut off the backlit with the menu option Index On/Off. On the lower back side we nd a complete set of connectors that lls you every need. We get RCA audio, composite video, S video, component video, SCART (3 connectors), VGA (D-Sub15), DVI and of course the usual coaxial antenna input as this is a true plasma TV and not just only a plasma screen. The service input is the ordinary 9-pin RS-232C. We also get a few side mounted inputs, as customary on ordinary TVs, (composite, S video and RCA audio) for fast connection of a digital camera or a game console. The manual, which is very clear and easy to read, state that LG recommends (as we always have) to use the component input for DVD and the SCART connector for VHS. Why? because the picture in a DVD is stored in component video format (YCbCr) whereas the VHS picture is stored in RGB format. The best (analogue) picture from DVD is obtained via the component input as is only beaten by the fully digital DVI input or a VGA signal from a PC. Theres no way youll be missing an input on this screen! As a bonus LG has implemented a Faroudja DCDi chip that handles the de-no matter what signal you use.
XGA plasma for a shocking price!
Its totally incredible that this screen only cost (for a plasma) as little as 3999 Euros (incl. VAT) as there still are low resolution VGA plasmas around at the same price or higher. The fact that the screen utilises XGA resolution (1024 x 768) which is a 4:3-resolution and not the 16:9 WXGA (1366 x 768) is something that might wonder many people. This depends on that they havent managed to make the plasma cells small enough to t 1366 in the width of a 42-incher. Here every pixel consists of three (RGB) dots in a somewhat rectangular constellation to achieve the 16:9 format. But I can also testify that you wont see any difference. The difference downwards in resolution you can see VERY clearly, which LG has helped us illustrate with two very clear pictures that up close compares a VGA plasma with a XGA model. See the pictures at the end of the test!
Contrast ratings is something the industry has started to use as a weapon in marketing and the different manufacturers constantly presents higher and higher ratings. This is true for plasma screens as well as projectors. The rating of 5000:1 stated for this screen is NOT hard to believe when compared to the other screens on the market. Panasonic has for quite some time lead this race with screens at 4000:1. I have seen them and they are truly sharp, dynamic and full of contrast with a very good blackness, but none has made such an impression on me as this LG plasma did. The blackness might not be as deep as on the best screens from Panasonic and is more comparable to DLP projection in HD2+ class, but the brightness is much higher and this, in conjunction with almost as good blackness, gives a better contrast ratio. And it was the contrast that made me notice this model. This, the resolution and the price makes RZ-42PY10 to a leader today! The contrast on this screen is virtually too high and that gives it a picture so dynamic it almost made me fall over.
Very easy handling
Modern things doesnt have to be complicated, which LG shows here. Setting the TV channels is very simple on this screen. You search, the screen nds, you choose, name and store the program place. Its simplicity itself! If we then proceed to the most fun part to calibrate the picture as optimal as possible (for DVD) we quickly nd that this screen has enough functions to trim the picture, without making the task to time-consuming or difcult. PSM stands for Picture Status Memory and is, simply put, a few presets for brightness, contrast, colour and sharpness. The Dynamic mode is very hard and colourful, the Standard mode is more normal and tough enough and the Mild mode is a bit too pale and careful. Obviously we went for the fourth mode User where we could set and store our own calibration. Well get back to the values we found most suitable. The XD function is something that falls under LGs proprietary technology Digital Reality. Often functions with hip descriptions and names are mostly rubbish that add nothing valuable to the picture only to the marketing but for once the manufacturer can be proud to say Look what we did as XD really adds to the picture, no matter the source. With XD activated you obtain a better contrast through a steeper gamma curve and more sharpness. It doesnt say what it stands for (Xtra Dynamics perhaps?), but XD is recommended anyway! Colour temperature is the last of the more advanced settings you can tamper with. The function is called CSM which presumably stands for Chroma Separation Mode. Here you can choose between Cool, Normal, Warm and User. The temperature seems to be accurate on all the settings and the blue-white Cool is denitely colder than Warm which has a yellow-red tint. PY10 has as LGs DLP projector JT92, a small problem with green tint, but this is easily xed with the white balance setting under User. We virtually eliminated the green tint by changing to: R: 0, G: -15 and B: +10. The result was without remarks. The colours are now rich and dynamic without the green tint. Fleshtone is another setting with four modes for changing skin tones. The differences are so subtle that they are hardly noticeable, but we went for mode 1 anyway.
Built-in washing machine
The screen has a few functions for washing burn-ins that arise from static images with high contrast. Often these disappear anyway within 30 seconds or a minute or so, even if you dont run these washing programs, but its still good they are there. All plasma screens suffers from this major or minor problems, but they are only noticeable in completely black images and, as I said, they soon disappear anyway. Another common problem is what I use to call half tones (borrowed from the print industry) where it sometimes looks like the screens lacks enough tones of each colour, or grey tones to create really smooth colour and tone gradients. This is almost never seen and is only noticeable in special scenes with a lot of the same colour, for example an animated movie. This is not something we can blame LG or any other manufacturer - they all have this problem and they all work on developing new solutions to it. The drawbacks on this screen are too few and to small to threat all the good qualities!
Picture in picture
The PiP feature is an old invention that allows for viewing of two sources on the same TV. If youre too lazy to get up from the couch you can quickly get a PiP picture of 1/8 size and zoom it in to 1/4 size. You can choose the position for the small picture and also set the transparency of it. Crazy, but cool!
On the sound side LG shows a pretty good face as well as the PY10 delivers a rich and good TV sound that will suit everyone that doesnt want to go for a separate audio system. The SSM function (Sound Status Memory) is a memory for different sound modes suitable for movies, music or TV. TruSurround XT from SRS is a sound mode that you might recognise from your computer system and this might be useful for the ones wanting to play computer games on the screen. We opted to the User setting here as well, so we could raise the bass and balance the treble to obtain as low distortion as possible. This sounds very good for a at screen TV! The AVL feature (Auto Volume Leveler) is a VERY welcome function that can solve this issue of different audio levels between different TV channels and mainly between TV shows and the extremely annoying commercial breaks. In particular this is aimed at the shiny German family in the sepia light running around in the their perfect house with their perfect children eating tons of chocolate while doubled totally inappropriate to Swedish. And why not for the 19 year old model with exaggerated make-up pretending to be a mother of three shouting something about how superior her laundry detergent X is compared to brand Y or the make-up commercial and so on All these insults towards the viewers intelligence is, apart from being showed about 15 times every hour, presented much much louder than the actual show youre watching. Thank you LG! We owe you for AVL!
The TV picture
If you have the same old analogue TV reception as I have you shouldnt expect a particularly good TV picture. To enlarge an analogue TV signal with 576 fuzzy lines, all the noise and all the different types of interference in there, to the XGA resolution of 1024 x 768 pixel is not good. Are you going to use your plasma as a TV and via an analogue network its better to go for a low resolution screen as expanding a signal too much is like blowing in a bag off dog poo until it bursts. Shit in shit out, as we say. And here it doesnt matter that the screen otherwise is so incredible good. Avoid analogue TV signals if possible! A digital receiver will really improve the TV picture! Picture rating: 2
The DVD picture via interlaced component (YCbCr)
The picture here suffers as mentioned above from a small green tint that is easily eliminated, so we dont consider that to be a problem. The sharpness is top class with just a small contour shadow visible when you sit within 1.2 meters from the screen (which is way too close). The picture dynamic and the extremely high contrast enchants us with a total control over highlights, and everything looks more or less wonderful within the analogue boundaries we are used to from a component equipped DVD player. The settings we found optimal were: Contrast 100, Brightness 55, Color 45 and Sharpness 50. Picture rating: 4+
The DVD picture via progressive component (YPbPr)
Here the picture gets a push forward compared to interlaced component. Via progressive signal you get a little more dynamic power, the colours gets richer and the sharpness gets better with less noise and contour shadows. The image is, simply put, as before, but with a little more edge which moves it closer to the completely digital DVI picture and the perfect analogue picture via RGB from a computer. The settings we found optimal here were: Contrast 100, Brightness 60, Color 45 and Sharpness 60. Picture rating: 5-
DVD picture via SCART
Here the picture gets a little more noticeable tint of green, but its as easily eliminated as before. The picture via SCART is softer with less detail resolution and less sharpness but also with less contour shadows. The component picture gives more push and dynamic, but the choice of component or SCART is surely a matter of taste as this picture also can be regarded as softer with less noise. Anyway, the settings here became: Contrast 100, Brightness 63, Color 45 and Sharpness 60. Picture rating: 4
DVD picture via DVI
If we change the DVD signal to DVI we turn into a more sad chapter. LG replaced this screen three times without us getting the DVI picture to work it loses the connection to the DVD player. Three different screens were tested. Screen 1 managed DVI during short periods before the signal went dead. Screen 2 could connect at all and screen 3 managed to retain a DVI signal for several minutes but then lost connection as well. Another observation was that the images was placed too far to the right on the screen when it was visible? A theory is that DVI via PC works as it is illustrated in the manual as such, but we cannot understand why DVD player DVI shouldnt work. LG is struggling to solve the problem. The factory in Korea work around the clock and no-one could understand or explain why this happened. BUT its not that important as there
is an alternative which gives a similarly good picture with analogue connection. That is RGB via VGA from a PC. We lacked the possibility to test DVI from PC during our test, but we might be able to try this later. At least the DVI picture is, during the short moments we were able to see it, completely lovely. The sharpness is SUPERIOR and all tendencies to contour shadows are completely gone. The screen accepts 480/576p, 720p and 1080i, and manages the best with 480/576p and 1080i. The picture is, properly adjusted, full of dynamic, push and noise-free sharpness! If LG only can get it to remain on the screen it would be great! But as we said, there will be a solution shortly thats for sure! The settings for optimal DVI picture are: Contrast 85 (more tendency to over-steering here than with analogue pictures), Brightness 51, Color 45 and Sharpness 58. Picture rating: 5
DVD picture from PC (RGB)
You PC leads the way to Nirvana! This is where you nd the best picture (along with DVI)! And here everything works smoothly presumed you have a fast computer with a good graphics card. I have a mediocre AMD Athlon XP 2,0 GHz with 512 MB DDR RAM and a GeForce 4 4800Ti. This is enough for optimal picture quality but my computer doesnt manage to play back the move without occasional interruptions, but this is no problem with a slighter newer and faster computer. With this signal you can also change the image position on the screen (up, down and sideways) which gives an extra control that the other inputs lacks. Even though this is an analogue format the image is exactly as good as via DVI. We lack words to describe how good the images is. So just take our word when we say that this screen, properly used, will crush most of the opposition on the market! Picture rating: 5+
The best plasma picture so far!
If I were to rate the picture quality from DVD via the different inputs mentioned above, it should be as follow: Component: 4+, Progressive component: 5-, SCART: 4, DVI: 5 and RGB from PC: 5+! I have seen many plasma screens. Not as many as projectors, but enough to realise when I found a treasure. If you are thinking about buying a plasma I can without hesitation recommend you to spend your money on this perfect example with a tremendous picture quality for DVD and digital TV. Where else can you get a XGA resolution with 1000 candela brightness and a contrast ratio of 5000:1 enclosed in an elegant design for only 3800 Euro incl. VAT? I have also seen PY10 with HDTV material and then the picture was so good I cannot even describe it in words. LG RZ-42PY10 leads the plasma league by a good margin! If you connect your new PC you will reach image heaven!!! SEE IT, BUY IT AND ENJOY! This is a true reference product!
We get RCA audio, composite video, S video, component video, SCART (3 connectors), VGA (D-Sub15), DVI and of course the usual coaxial antenna input as this is a true plasma TV and not just only a plasma screen. The service input is the ordinary 9-pin RS-232C. We also get a few side mounted inputs, as customary on ordinary TVs, (composite, S video and RCA audio) for fast connection of a digital camera or a game console. DVI doesnt work correctly, but LG has promised a solution shortly!
The buttons are neatly hidden below the screens lower edge!
The remote control is really great looking and ts well with the screen. From the remote you quickly and easily manage everything like channel setting, picture calibration and so on. You can also set up the remote to control other components.
PROS + The highest contrast available today of 5000:1!!! + Brightness of 1000 candela!! + Very good plasma blackness! + Rich colour reproduction! + Unbeatable sharpness via PC! + Incredible picture dynamic!!! + Simple handling + Faroudja DCDi + Nice design + ATTRACTIVE PRICE!!!
AGAINST - Not completely working DVI! (LG is working on it!) - Half tone gradients (Goes for all plasma screens!) - Not CRT blackness (Goes for all plasma screens!) - Risk of burn-ins (Goes for all plasma screens!) - Fan (Goes for most of the plasma screens!)
In short: -The best plasma picture available for DVD movies! Connect your PC and reach image heaven!!! This plasma has such a good picture that it is hard to describe it in words SEE IT, BUY IT AND ENJOY!! :)
RATING (Total rating: Price/Performance)
PC: DVD player: Cables: Movies:
AMD Athlon XP 2GHz, 512 MB RAM, GeForce 4 Ti4800 Denon DVD-ASupra Star Wars epII, Lord of the rings & The two towers Special Edition, Toy Story 2, Gladiator, Dinosaur, Cast Away, Ice Age, Hulk, Monsters Inc Special Edition, Finding Nemo, Troja, Van Helsing.
Technology: Picture format: Resolution: Brightness: Contrast: Video processor: Fan noise: HDMI: DVI: Component: SCART Teletext Size: Weight: Warranty: Price: Info:
Plasma (Flatron HD) 16:x 768 (WVGA) 1000 Cd/m. 5000:1 (Full On/Off) Faroudja DCDi No information! No Yes Yes Yes, x3 Yes, 2400 page memory WHD = 1216 x 630 x 96 mm 38 kg 2 years 3999 Euros LG: 00 http://nordic.lge.com All information from the manufacturer!
Design: User friendliness: TV (analogue): DVD (YCbCr): DVD (YPbPr): DVD (SCART): DVD (DVI): DVD (VGA): Sound: Value: Total: 45.5/50
OOOOO OOOOO OO OOOO+ O O O O O () OOOO OOOOO O O O O O (+) OOOO OOOOO
Below you can see pictures which clearly shows the difference between a plasma with VGA resolution (480 lines) vs. one with XGA resolution (768 lines).
Picture 1: LG plasma with VGA resolution.
Picture 2: RZ-42PY10x with XGA resolution! :)
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