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What are the differences between NanoCell and OLED technology? In a nutshell, NanoCell TVs make use of a backlit LED-LCD layer to illuminate its pixels, whereas OLED TV offers up an organic compound layer that allows each pixel to self-illuminate.
Due to this difference alone, NanoCell and OLED TVs offer up very different levels of performance. For example, OLED TVs have the ability to produce perfect blacks, infinite contrast ratio, and stunning HDR content – while the other technology can’t.
There are several other fundamental differences that we’ll cover in this guide, offering up helpful advice for anyone wondering how NanoCell vs OLED TVs compare.
Interested in other similar comparisons? Why not check out our NanoCell Vs QLED piece which puts Samsung’s and LG’s color-enhancing LCD technology to the test. We’ve also got a complete guide on TV vs monitors as well.
What is an OLED TV?
OLED, or organic light emitting diode, is a display technology that utilizes an organic carbon compound layer to display images, color, and light. Unlike LED-LCD panels which use a CCFL (cold-cathode fluorescent light) backlight for illumination, OLED screens can self-illuminate on a pixel level.
OLED panels can produce their own light by passing an electrical current through the panel. In contrast, a traditional LED-LCD display requires a permanent backlight to be on no matter how dark or bright the scene. This leads to annoying screen artifacts such as blooming, backlight bleed, and poor contrast ratio – a key factor in HDR performance.
Thanks to the nature of OLED technology and its ability to illuminate on a pixel level, OLED displays can display infinite contrast ratios, perfect blacks, a WCG, and stunning high dynamic range picture quality. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to using OLED technology, with the main problem being peak luminance levels.
What is a Nanocell TV?
NanoCell is one of the latest color-enhancing technologies from LG. The latest display technology from LG makes use of a traditional LED-LCD panel, adding a filtering layer on top to improve color depth, picture quality, and color vividness.
As far as display technology goes, NanoCell is relatively new – meaning TVs that utilize it will naturally come with a fairly hefty price tag attached.
At the heart of NanoCell Tvs lies a nanoscale filtering layer that sits in front of the LCD panel, helping to deliver more accurate red, green, and blue colors. The pixels of this layer are packed together tightly in order to reduce any dull shades that may occur. NanoCell is said to produce ‘Pure color’ with high consistency in extremely wide viewing angles – features that OLED TVs are well known for.
NanoCell TVs can easily be identified as they all have ‘Nano’ in the model name. Below are a few examples of how LG names NanoCell TVs:
So, which display technology should you buy? That’s a tough question, but one that ultimately comes down to your key priorities when purchasing a display.
NanoCell and OLED both have their own unique set of pros and cons, so it’s likely that one will suit you more than the other. Below we have outlined the most important differences that separate NanoCell and OLED TVs:
Picture quality is an accumulation of different factors, however, overall, OLED TVs offer up much better picture quality.
When you take color depth, contrast ratio, black depth, vividness, and image quality into consideration, there is no substitute for a great OLED panel. Thanks to the internal workings of an OLED panel, they deliver perfect blacks, an infinite contrast ratio,
Peak luminance (brightness)
One of the main downfalls of OLED technology is its lack of peak brightness. Despite offering an infinite contrast ratio, OLED panels struggle to deliver the high-end brightness levels required for excellent daytime viewing.
Thanks to the NanoCell’s usage of a backlight, they can deliver a much higher peak brightness when compared to OLED. Not only does this provide great detail within bright scenes, but it also produces a better viewing experience in daytime conditions.
Risk of burn-in
The main negative that plagues OLED TVs is their risk of permanent burn-in. This occurs when a still image is left on the display for too long and effectively burns onto the pixels.
The resulting burn-in displays as a ghostly outline of the still image that can be seen at all times. While still possible on LED-LCD displays, the risk of burn-in is much, much lower.
In modern OLED TVs, anti-burn-in features have been developed to stop burn-in from occurring. LG utilizes a picture feature that activates once the TV has been idle for a certain amount of time – rotating art to save your screen from permanent damage.
High dynamic range
When it comes to the OLED vs NanoCell debate, there is only one winner as far as HDR performance goes – and that’s OLED. Thanks to the infinite contrast ratio of OLED technology, alongside perfect blacks, they have the ability to deliver stunning HDR performance.
HDR, or high dynamic range, is a feature that is becoming more commonly used within games and films. For this reason, purchasing a TV with the ability to deliver HDR is increasingly important – making OLED TVs much more attractive.
Despite both TV technologies lasting years, one has a much lower life expectancy than the other. For OLED lovers, you’ll be disappointed to hear that they don’t offer nearly as much longevity as standard LED-LCD panels.
While this isn’t a huge issue, it could persuade you to choose one or the other if you plan on using a TV for the next 20+ years.
Last but not least we have price. Price is always a major consideration when it comes to a large TV purchase, and OLED vs NanoCell is no different.
While NanoCell is a relatively new technology, the TVs that utilize it aren’t nearly as expensive as OLED alternatives. OLED TVs can be up to almost double the price of similarly sized NanoCell TVs, making them a much larger investment.
For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO - a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast - dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD's Ryzen 3600X.