LG offers a variety of televisions featuring various screen types, technologies, and resolutions. Buying a new TV from the brand can easily become confusing.
Comparing LG 4K and LG OLED, for instance, is one of the most common mistakes. The former refers to resolution, while the latter is image technology. Comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges, as OLED TVs can come in a 4K resolution. This is also the case in comparing the brand’s UHD, NanoCell, and QNED TVs. Learning the difference between these types could help you pick the right one for you.
Let’s break down everything you need to know about the different display types here so you can figure out which one fits your viewing needs best.
LG 4K vs. LG OLED: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Display Type||Real 4K LED||Real 4K NanoCell LED||Quantum dot NanoCell||Self-lighting OLED|
|Viewing Angle||Standard||Wider than UHD||Wider than NanoCell||Wide viewing angle|
|Color Accuracy||Good color accuracy||High color accuracy||True-to-life||True-to-life|
|Picture Processor||α5 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K||α5 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K||α7 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K||α7 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K|
|AI Picture Pro?||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Size||43″ to 86″||43″ to 86″||55″ to 86″||43″ to 97″|
|Typical Power Consumption||135W||94W||108.2W||120W|
|Annual Power Consumption||249kWh||174kWh||200kWh||222kWh|
LG 4K vs. LG OLED: What’s the Difference?
LG manufactures a wide range of 4K TVs, but you can’t really compare LG 4K and LG OLED televisions. That’s because the former defines a resolution (3840 pixels × 2160 lines, to be precise), while the latter is a display technology. In fact, OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, which is a type of LED. Hence, if you want to decide which 4K TV from LG is best for you, you have to compare OLED with 4K UHD, NanoCell, and QNED televisions.
The main difference between OLED and the other 4K TVs from LG is the display type.
LG OLED displays are made with organic light-emitting diodes. These LEDs feature self-lighting capabilities, meaning that each pixel can be turned on and off independently from the others. These self-lit pixels don’t require a backlight either and can deliver exceptional quality colors and higher contrast. OLED televisions are also the only type of 4K TVs from LG that can display pure black, which translates into better details in shadow.
LG's 4K UHD TVs stand at the opposite end from OLED. Their display is a regular LCD with LED backlights. These televisions can’t turn on and off each pixel independently, and basically, the screen is divided into different dimming zones that can be turned on and off as needed. Due to this reason, they can’t achieve pure black, and the color accuracy is inferior to OLED.
LG's NanoCell TVs are superior to 4K UHD, but they still feature an LCD with LED backlight. The main difference is the NanoCell technology, which refers to a coating of nanoparticles with a diameter of one nanometer applied to the screen. These nanoparticles improve the way the display reflects light, enhancing color accuracy and increasing the viewing angle.
QNED is an LG-proprietary technology that combines quantum dots with NanoCell technologies. These TVs are LCD-based with mini LED backlighting that divides the screen area into about 2,500 dimming zones. They feature the same nanoparticle coating seen in NanoCell, plus they benefit from the quantum dot technology that increases color gamut and richness. These TVs are the closest in quality to LG OLED.
- 8 million self-lit OLED pixels for vivid viewing experience
- Advance α7 Gen5 AI Processor 4K algorithmically adapts and adjusts picture and sound quality
- 120Hz refresh rate for fast-paced games
- LG Game Optimizer mode with NVIDIA G-SYNC, FreeSync Premium, and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
- LED display technology
- a5 GEN5 AI processor 4K
- 60Hz refresh rate
- Built-in access to streaming
- Supports Active HDR, HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping
- A7 GEN 4 AI Processor 4K upscales content to 4K
- NanoCell technology evenly disperses light sources across LED backlighting
- Features full array dimming
- Cinema HDR, Dolby Vision IQ, and Dolby Atmos support
- 120Hz refresh rate, ALLM, and HGiG to enhance gaming experiences
- Engineered especially for LG, the advanced α7 Gen5 AI Processor 4K algorithmically adapts and adjusts picture and sound quality for a lifelike viewing experience with depth and rich color
- Worth a thousand words and more—Quantum Dot NanoCell Color Technology delivers richer, more accurate colors, even at wider viewing angles—so you can see it and believe it
- MiniLED backlights, 40x smaller than traditional LEDs, create brighter colors with deeper black. Precision Dimming improves contrast and minimizes the halo effect of bright objects on dark backgrounds
Regardless of the display type, all TVs mentioned above feature the same 4K resolution. This doesn’t mean the image quality is the same, though. The 4K UHD models have the lowest image quality with good but not outstanding colors and contrast. That’s because these televisions feature LCD screens and standard LED backlighting. This translates into faded colors compared to the other types and poorer dimming.
The smaller processor and a refresh rate of only 60Hz are also responsible for some motion blurring, especially during fast-moving scenes. NanoCell TVs deliver better image quality due to the enhanced colors, but the basic models in this range feature the same process and refresh rate of the 4K UHD. Hence, blurring could still happen.
Superior image quality in LG’s 4K line is found in its QNED and OLED televisions. The former features the same nanoparticle layer found in the NanoCell models, but the mini-LED backlighting increases the number of dimming zones. The colors are better defined and more true-to-life, while enhanced contrast improves image clarity in shadows. LG’s QNED TVs also feature a better processor and a refresh rate of 120Hz, which minimizes blur.
The same is true for OLED TVs, but these impress with even higher color accuracy. Due to the self-lighting pixels, they are the only TVs to deliver pure black color and the highest level of contrast. Image quality is exceptional, but you’ll have to shell out a lot more cash for all these perks.
An important thing to consider when buying a TV is the screen’s diagonal size, which eventually determines the full size of the device. Knowing its diagonal can help you decide which TV fits in your space, be it small or large.
In today’s market, finding a large TV isn’t difficult at all, and all 4K TVs from LG have diagonals up to at least 86 inches. If you have a very large living room or want to fill a larger wall, you’ll have to opt for an OLED TV, which is the only type with a diagonal that goes up to 97 inches.
For smaller rooms, all 4K TV types except for QNED start from diagonals of 43 inches. The smallest QNED options have 55 inches in diagonal. The bezel size (depth of the TV) goes from 2.9 inches in the 4K UHD to 1.8 inches in the QNED and OLED models.
TVs are the core of a home’s entertainment system, their function going beyond watching TV channels or streaming Netflix. You can use them to play video games, too, either pairing them with your PlayStation or Xbox or by downloading and playing games directly from the LG store –- after all, that’s what smart TVs are made for.
However, you won’t have endless options on all models. For the most basic 4K UHD, the models only feature auto low latency mode (ALLM) and cloud gaming from Google STADIA, in addition to compatibility with Xbox, PlayStation, and other gaming consoles. NanoCell models are surprisingly similar (and lacking options), but they feature cloud gaming from Nvidia GeForce Now.
More gaming capabilities come from the QNED and OLED models. The former features a variable refresh rate and premium free sync, while the latter has everything seen in the QNED plus a response time of under one millisecond. Gaming features on LG’s OLED TVs also include G-sync compatibility.
Another crucial difference between these 4K TVs from LG is energy efficiency. None will make you go bankrupt –- the least efficient option would only cost you around $40 per year in electricity – but you could save a tenner or two with one of the more efficient options. As you’d expect, the least efficient are the 4K UHD TVs, which have an average annual power consumption of 249kWh and typical power consumption of 135 watts.
QNED and OLED TVs come next, with annual power consumptions estimated at around 200kWh and 222kWh, respectively. The most energy-efficient TVs from LG are the NanoCell, with a typical power consumption of only 94 watts and an estimated annual power consumption of 174kWh.
LG 4K vs. LG OLED: 7 Must-Know Facts
- OLED is a type of display, and 4K is a display resolution. These two can’t be compared, but LG manufactures 4K OLED TVs that can be compared with the other 4K TV types from the brand.
- LG’s OLED TVs are the most performing televisions in the brand’s product range. They come in 4K as well as 8K resolution.
- QNED and NanoCell TVs feature LG’s proprietary NanoCell technology. The screens of these televisions are coated with a nanoparticle film that improves color accuracy, contrast, and image quality. However, these TVs can’t display pure black.
- OLED TVs are the only TVs from LG that can display pure black thanks to the self-lighting pixels. These televisions aren’t backlit and don’t have dimming zones. Instead, each pixel is turned on and off on its own to generate the highest level of contrast and minimize motion blur.
- LG’s 4K UHD TVs are the cheapest, followed by NanoCell, QNED, and OLED.
- LG’s OLED Flex TV received the CES 2023 Innovation Award for its combination of gaming, productivity, and TV features. This model has a 4K resolution.
- LG’s 83-inch 4K OLED TV was nominated as an Innovation Awards Honoree at CES 2022 for its screen size, true-to-life picture quality, audio quality, and AI processing performance.
LG 4K vs. LG OLED: Which One is Better for You?
From a strictly technical standpoint, the LG OLED is the best 4K TV from the brand. This television features the best picture and audio quality, fast AI processing, and excellent streaming and gaming capabilities. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the best LG TV for you.
If you don’t have an excessive budget or don’t want to break the bank, a NanoCell or even QLED model will save you some cash. Those on a low budget might even be satisfied with a 4K UHD as long as they’re aware of the TV’s limitations. In the end, this television has a decent image quality and overall satisfactory capabilities.
LG 4K and OLED Technology Updates
LG has been making headlines with their 4K and OLED technology updates to their latest and greatest smart TVs. In May of 2023, LG announced that their OLED smart TVs will soon be supporting 4K gaming with Dolby Vision. With gaming graphics getting more and more crystal clear, this is great news for consumers who are looking to buy a TV that can keep up.
LG is always working to improve the picture quality of 4K and OLED technology. As of August 2023, LG is adding new features, expanding the number of TV models, and improving upon their picture quality. In the next year, LG is looking to expand it’s lineup with smart TVs that are slimmer, have wider viewing angles, and have better sound and picture quality.