The 10 Best Reasons to Avoid a NanoCell TV Today

NanoCell TVs certainly seem appealing at first glance. LG touts this proprietary display technology as enhancing color reproduction and improving picture quality through the use of nano-sized particles integrated into the screen. However, experts and consumers alike have identified some significant drawbacks that should give shoppers pause before purchasing one of these televisions. As display technologies continue advancing rapidly, NanoCell struggles to keep up in key areas that impact the viewing experience.

What is NanoCell Technology?

Before diving into why you may want to avoid NanoCell TVs, it helps to understand what exactly the technology is. NanoCell is LG‘s branding for televisions that incorporate a layer of nanometer-sized dots into the screen‘s LED backlight system. These nano-sized particles, or NanoCells, act as an extra filter to purify the source LED light wavelengths before they pass through the LCD panel.

In theory, NanoCells improve the display‘s color volume, accuracy, and vibrancy by finely tuning the light. They essentially enhance what the underlying LCD technology can reproduce. This aims to enriches dark colors, boost peak brightness, widen viewing angles, and reduce color fading.

However, in practice, many limitations hinder NanoCell‘s real-world performance. When compared directly against other display technologies like OLED or QLED, a NanoCell TV‘s weaknesses clearly emerge.

5 Key Facts about NanoCell Televisions

Before detailing downsides further, here are 5 must-know facts about LG‘s NanoCell TVs:

  1. NanoCell ≠ Quantum Dots: While both incorporate nanoparticles to improve color, LG‘s NanoCells should not be confused with the quantum dots found in QLED TVs from brands like Samsung.

  2. 4K & HDR Capable: NanoCell TVs do support next-generation resolutions like 4K along with HDR formats like Dolby Vision. However, some feel they don‘t fully maximize what these technologies offer.

  3. IPS LCD Panels: NanoCell TVs use In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD panels rather than OLED or VA panel technology. This provides better off-axis viewing but comes with tradeoffs.

  4. Middle of the Pack Performance: Picture quality is a marked improvement from traditional LED-LCD TVs but still falls short of OLED. Deep blacks and vibrant colors end up limited without per pixel illumination.

  5. NanoCell Technology is LG Exclusive: No other manufacturers use LG‘s proprietary NanoCell tech, meaning no content optimized specifically for these nanometer filters.

Now let‘s examine 10 reasons why another television likely better suits your viewing needs over the compromise-laden NanoCell.

10 Reasons to Avoid Purchasing a NanoCell TV

1. Limited Color Accuracy

One of the most common complaints surrounding NanoCell TVs is subpar color accuracy compared to similar offerings on the market today. While NanoCells should enhance the range and realism of on-screen colors through purified light, many users report flat, dull, and muted hues instead.

Skin tones end up looking off, bright shades don’t pop as they should, and gradients reveal banding rather than smooth transitions. This leads to a degraded viewing experience that no amount of calibration seems to entirely fix when it comes to weaker color reproduction. Especially for a 4K HDR television with a premium price tag, inaccurate colors prove highly disappointing.

Verdict: NanoCell struggles to display lively, precise colors that match real-world sources.

2. Mediocre Contrast Levels

Complementing the color reproduction issues, NanoCell televisions also suffer from middling contrast ratios. Even with advanced local dimming employed to maximize the LED backlight‘s highs and lows, they fail to match the incredible dynamic range of OLED panels or even high-performing VA LCDs.

Shadow detail gets lost in dark scenes, bright landscapes don’t dazzle quite like they should, and attempting to showcase HDR content becomes an exercise in compromise rather than truly taking advantage of the expanded brightness range.

Ultimately, the NanoCell television‘s native contrast can’t hold a candle to its closest competitors. This leads to a flatter, less cinematic picture.

Verdict: NanoCell misses deep blacks and bright highlights for disappointing contrast.

Side by side image comparing NanoCell and OLED black levels

A side by side showing NanoCell‘s weaker black levels compared to OLED [Source: HDTVTest on YouTube]

3. Underwhelming HDR Performance

With mediocre color volume reproductions and middle-of-the-road contrast ratios covered already, it likely comes as no surprise that HDR video ends up also hampered on NanoCell displays.

These TVs simply lack the visual prowess to make the most of contemporary High Dynamic Range content. With only decent peak brightness rather than market-leading, no per-pixel illumination, and limitations around WCG coverage, they cannot fully realize the creative intent behind films and shows mastered in HDR.

You‘ll get an image brighter than SDR of course but nowhere near the specular highlights, life-like colors, and punchy contrast that makes premium HDR shine. Consider an OLED instead if HDR excellence matters to your enjoyment.

Verdict: NanoCell TVs disappoint when it comes to maximizing High Dynamic Range video quality.

4. External Dimming System Stumbles

Rather than lighting up each pixel individually like an OLED TV, NanoCell panels require an edge-mounted LED backlight system to illuminate the LCD grid. Manufacturers then use a feature called local dimming to selectively dim parts of the backlight behind darker regions of the current frame to improve perceived contrast and black levels.

However, local dimming solutions have come a long way in recent years, and NanoCell fails to keep pace by utilizing an older, less sophisticated implementation.

Large blocks diminish at once leading to obvious haloing and blooming rather than pinpoint precision around complex shapes. Brightness fluctuations stand out clearly as the algorithm adjusts, and details go missing across zones. Simply put: LG‘s local dimming cannot match what companies like TCL have achieved.

Verdict: Ineffective local dimming solutions hurt picture quality with poor black levels and contrast.

5. Viewing Angles Underwhelm

One area where NanoCell and other IPS LCD TVs maintain an advantage over VA panel types involves viewing angles. With in-plane pixel alignment, colors and brightness should hold up more accurately for those seated in off-center seats outside the central sweet spot.

However, while better than VA tech, they still fall well short of OLED TVs in this regard. Owners report faded black levels, skewed colors, and degraded crispness even 15-20° off-angle. So while NanoCell sets win out compared to equivalent VA LCDs, OLED still dominates if you want a screen everyone enjoys equally across a living room.

Verdict: NanoCell offers weaker viewing angles than OLED, impacting image quality away from center screen.

6. Higher Risk of Burn-in

All LED televisions face a higher probability of burn-in compared to self-emitting OLED panels, thanks to their reliance on separate backlight systems shining through an LCD grid. However, slower to adopt preventative measures compared to brands like LG, NanoCell sets likely remain at even greater risk than average.

Static areas of high-contrast HUD elements in games, bright logos and graphics that persist in news or sports broadcasts, and letterbox bars during movie marathons prove especially dangerous. While OLED TVs nearly eliminate burn-in worries these days through built-in pixel shifting, no such protection exists on NanoCell models currently.

Without further action from LG, expect an elevated risk of permanent discoloration.

Verdict: NanoCell‘s lackluster burn-in prevention means damaged screens become more likely over time.

7. No Optimized App Content

An interesting ramification of LG‘s proprietary NanoCell technology means that no films, TV shows, or other media apps actually master specifically for these nanometer quantum dot panels. Unlike broadly adopted standards like 4K, HDR, or OLED that studios continually optimize content for, NanoCell remains exclusive to a single TV maker.

While LG NanoCell sets utilize high-quality scaling solutions to upconvert sub-4K signals, you‘ll never enjoy the breathtaking visuals possible from creators leveraging the full technical powers on display. HDR formats get some translation but miss specially tone-mapping for the wider colors. And no options exist for tackling bigger issues like motion resolution or 24p judder.

Until far more mainstream adoption, don‘t expect perfectly tailored images.

Verdict: No apps or content available optimized for NanoCell televisions. Scaled upconversions only.

8. More Perceptible Motion Blur

When displaying fast movement across the frame, NanoCell panels exhibit higher than average motion blurring compared to rivals. This proves especially noticeable in sports, action films, and video games where the camera pans quickly or objects travel rapidly throughout a scene.

Higher-performing LCDs make use of advanced refresh rates up to 480Hz and backlight manipulation to crispen motion resolution. Meanwhile, OLED‘s instantaneous pixel response times essentially eliminate blur completely. Neither holds true for current NanoCell TVs unfortunately.

The resulting smeary streaks ultimately make it harder for the eye to track small, intricate details during frantic sequences. An annoying distraction at best and an immersion breaker at worst for critical viewers.

Verdict: Blurring and smearing hurts perceived motion resolution during action content.

9. Rival Display Techs Offer Better Overall Image Quality

With so many color reproduction woes, contrast weaknesses, backlighting distractions, and motion clarity issues covered already, NanoCell TVs ultimately fail to match the leading display technologies available on the market today. Specifically, LG‘s own critically-acclaimed OLED televisions continue pushing performance boundaries NanoCell simply cannot achieve thanks to inherent LCD limitations.

Self-illuminating OLED panels deliver near infinite contrast with pixel level precision, vastly superior viewing angles, and unmatched motion resolution through instant pixel response times. HDR content truly shines as intended on these organic LED screens in a way NanoCell cannot compete against.

And looking beyond LG, mini-LED backlit LCDs like Samsung‘s QN90B series or quantum dot enhanced OLEDs such as the Sony A95K show what‘s possible when manufacturers dedicate R&D towards incremental display advancements. Unfortunately, LG‘s NanoCell tech feels outdated in far too many areas by comparison.

Verdict: Owners report superior real-world performance choosing OLED or high-end LCD televisions over NanoCell options.

10. Potentially Overpriced Compared to Alternatives

Considering the abundance of visual compromises that using a NanoCell panel currently requires, many consumers understandably balk at the retail prices LG charges. While far more affordable than the latest 8K models, these 4K NanoCell TVs still demand premium tier pricing in exchange for decidedly middle-of-the-road quality.

In some cases, users feel mislead paying so much for a technology that clearly still requires refinement before matching its marketing claims around enhanced color and picture improvements. And when less expensive OLED alternatives exist offering far fewer downsides, that price premium looks even more questionable.

Before you overpay expecting LG‘s trademark TV excellence, ensure you understand precisely what the NanoCell sub-brand entails. You wouldn‘t want buyer‘s remorse over such a critical living room component.

Verdict: Potentially overpriced given NanoCell‘s mediocre performance and abundant compromises.

Key Takeaways: 10 Reasons to Say No to a NanoCell Television

In this rather damning examination of where LG‘s NanoCell TV technology currently stands in 2023, it becomes hard denying all 10 reasons illuminated for why these LED-LCD televisions fail to impress:

  1. Disappointing color inaccuracies
  2. Lackluster contrast ratios
  3. Underwhelming HDR support
  4. External dimming causes distractions
  5. Weak off-angle viewing quality
  6. Elevated risk of burn-in
  7. No optimized NanoCell content available
  8. Excess motion blur during action
  9. Rival displays offer better image quality
  10. Potentially overpriced given downsides

Reviewers and owners alike agree: NanoCell TV technology still has a ways to go before matching similarly priced competitors. Rather than enjoying LG‘s renowned display pedigree by purchasing one now, we recommend considering what rival brands like Sony, Samsung, and even LG‘s own superior OLED lineup offer instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NanoCell technology?

NanoCell refers to LG‘s proprietary TV displays that integrate a layer of nano-sized particles to enhance color reproduction and brightness through light wavelength filtering.

Do NanoCell TVs use quantum dots?

No. While similar in concept, LG‘s NanoCells differ from the quantum dots found in rival QLED televisions. However, they attempt to solve similar display issues around color accuracy.

Why do colors look strange on NanoCell TVs?

Many owners report color inaccuracies like dull skin tones, flat gradients, and muted shades. This leads to a degraded viewing experiencing compared to more color accurate options.

Is a NanoCell TV worth buying?

For those seeking LG‘s renowned display pedigree, we actually recommend checking out their superior OLED TV lineup first before considering a NanoCell. In most cases, OLED provides a better overall viewing experience.

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