Forty-two inches used to be plasma's limit, but accelerating technology has seen screens grow in both size and stature -- LG has even introduced a 60-inch version of this model.
Nothing comes closer to a cinematic experience than a super-size screen, but you'll need enough room to accommodate it. Sit too close and image quality rapidly deteriorates but, given space, the 50PY2R is capable of exceptional performance, especially from high-definition sources.
The specification is slighted by the absence of a digital TV tuner, and connectivity could be improved, but some seriously advanced picture-processing systems and innovative features such as memory card support are impressive. For the size, the price isn't out of reach either.
Make no mistake -- 50 inches of screen space is enormous. It's so big that anyone seeing this TV for the first time may well find their jaw drops to the floor. Make sure your living room has enough space or you'll be left feeling overwhelmed -- you'll need at least 4m distance between you and the screen.
Rather than disguise its oversized dimensions with an understated design, LG flaunts it in your face. The glossed black screen frame is supported by an imposing surround carrying a pair of integrated speakers, which swells the size even further. It's incredibly heavy, too, so hanging options will need a strong wall -- although the screen does arrive with an elliptical swivel stand.
Primary controls are kept out of sight at the side of the screen, where you'll also find a pair of 'X-Studio' memory card slots. There's support for nine different memory card formats, which allow the screen to access information from a variety of digital devices -- you can listen to MP3 files, view images from a digital camera and access details from a PDA. At the opposite side is a selection of standard AV inputs that grant easy access to devices like games consoles, which won't necessarily always be connected.
For a large screen that'll undoubtedly form the centrepiece of your home cinema system, we hoped to find more extensive connections at the rear. With the number of high-definition devices rising, a single HDMI input is somewhat miserly -- especially if you want to watch high-definition TV and play upscaled DVD films.
Only one of the three Scart terminals is RGB-enabled for the highest quality performance. This is almost shameful as without an integrated digital tuner you'll eventually want to connect a separate Freeview box, and image quality will suffer if you're already using the RGB Scart for a DVD player. Alternatively, there are component video inputs capable of supporting progressive scan if you have a compatible player or recorder. Otherwise, there are only a VGA PC input with audio and a few standard phono connections -- no digital audio output.
The accompanying small, grey remote bears absolutely no resemblance to the screen at all. Quite how you scroll through the menu system using the central cursor without inadvertently changing channel is a mystery.
The screen is HD Ready and will accept both 720p and, albeit slightly downscaled, 1080i high-definition formats used by Sky's HDTV receivers and the latest current and next-generation DVD players or games consoles. If you do want to watch 1080i images in their entirety, or use the future 1080p format, you'll need a screen with a higher resolution, but they are still rare and incredibly expensive.