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Yeah, it seems crazy there's a big hole in the middle of the line-up.
I remember something in the press release when they made the switch to nanocell about customer feedback and wider viewing angles but it was all very marketing speak.
Rumour was that Samsung TV division exerted pressure to deny Philips access to quantum dot panels after the 8602 performance embarrassed them, but that was just a rumour and I don't know why it would prevent them from doing a FALD nanocell, maybe it's an LG imposed limitation on the panel supply or maybe there's just not enough interest in anything other than bargain or high end.
I mean, when you can get last year's flagship for the same money as the this year's upper midrange most people would be take the heavily reduced flagship model. The big reduction is psychologically tempting and the picture performance is usually either close or favouring the older flagship. But this is all my speculation, I don't really know and I too find it disappointing.
I think about it same way. Samsung didnt allow FALD on QD, so Philips made FALD and QD tvs separatelly. If they did it in one model, picture would be gorgeous. And even if Philips made them separate, tv picture was outstanding. And thats the reason they arent allowed to have fald in nanocells. LGs top LCDs (which arent spectacular in HDR) have FALD (slow one - for example SK8500 (EU)). And thats probably because of segmentation to not canibalize OLEDs. But Philips would destroy this segmentation, if they made nanocell with good fald (same like in 8102 or even 7601). 400 nits is too low. If it was 600, it can be one step closer to actual 1000 on OLEDs.
After owning one of LG's "best" FALD 2018 panels (55sk8500pla) I can say you're not missing out on much. Dirty screen effect was ridiculously bad (horizontal and vertical banding) thanks to whatever FALD grid system they had going on.
In fact LG has two fald nano cells. Sk8500 (sk9000 in us) and sk9500. SK 8500 is horrible but sk9500 is so so. Not bad but obviously crippled fald with not too much zones and relatively slow response. If you combine LG nano cell with relatively good gamut and viewing angles with former Philips fald from 7601 or 8102, it would be LG LCD killer.
same issue with the 8 series in, was it 2017?, with the quantum dot tv and a separate fald non-QD yet the Philips QD still outperformed the Samsung sets and then no more QD for Philips.
I actually bought one of those 8602 QD sets when I saw the Philips roadmap for the next few years was cheapLCD to nanocell... big gap... OLED.
I love it so much, HDR snow genuinely looks like real snow in a way OLED just can't manage right now - sure that's a very rare and specific case, but it's still lovely. It doesn't have the absolute black of oled, but it does have much more textured near-black. I'm really sad they didn't get to improve and expand on a QD range of 8 series TVs, could have been so good ..
Sorry I'm waffling a bit! Point is, not all fald arrays are the same and not all processing for fald is the same even if the array is physically identical (graduated light levels can make as much difference as number of zones for example)