LED vs. LCD TVs clarified: Which is better, and why?

LED vs. LCD TVs clarified: Which is better, and why? Setup often comes down to one significant question: what sort of TV should I get? While there are lots of types of TV, two terms come up often: LED TVs and LCD TVs.

Creating or updating a home entertainment setup frequently comes down to one major question: what sort of TV should I get? While there are lots of types of TV, two phrases come up pretty often:  led vs lcd which is better .

However, what’s the difference? It is a question we hear a great deal from budding home theater shoppers, but should not. Blame the acronyms. Here’s the quick answer: An LED TV is an LCD TV, but how the two came to be confused with each other may come as a surprise.

As soon as you’ve got a much better grasp on LED and LCD TVs, check out our listing for the best TVs you can purchase for hints of our favorite selections of what is currently available.


An LED TV is an LCD TV


An LED TV is just a sort of LCD TV. The appropriate name would be “LED-backlit LCD TV,” but that is too much of a mouthful for ordinary conversation, so people just refer to them as LED TVs.


Both kinds of TV take advantage of a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel to command where lighting is displayed on your screen. These panels are usually composed of two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them, so when an electrical current passes through the liquid, it causes the crystals to align, so that light can (or can not) pass through. Think as a shutter, either allowing light to pass through or blocking out it.

Since both LED and LCD TVs use LCD technology, you are probably wondering what the difference is. In fact, it’s about what the gap was. The LCD TVs you think of now exist. This is why: Backlighting. Older LCD TVs utilized cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) to offer backlighting, whereas LED TV’s utilized an array of smaller, more efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) to light the display, which gave them a few benefits. Now, all LCD TVs utilize LED lights and are considered LED TVs. Here is how that works.




There are three forms of illumination used in LCD TVs: CCFL complete array LED backlighting and LED edge-lighting. Each of these illumination technologies is different from one another in important ways, and each has pros and cons. Let’s dig into each.


CCFL Backlighting


CCFL backlighting is an older type of technology that has been abandoned, though some producers do use CCFLs in tier LCDs since they’re cheaper to make. A Collection of CCFLs sit across the inside of the TV behind the LCD. The lights illuminate the crystals rather evenly, so all regions of the image will probably have brightness levels. This affects some aspects. Since CCFLs are bigger than LED arrays, CCFL LCDs are usually thicker than their LCD counterparts. You won’t find many models using this style of illumination because this is an outdated technology. They’re almost always on the end of the spectrum, although some tend to crop up here and there.


Full array backlighting


Array backlighting that is full swaps the CCFLs for LEDs. A range of LEDs spans the back of the LCD screen, with zones of LEDs can be lit or dimmed in a process called local dimming (we go deeper into how local dimming works on the next page). TVs using complete array LED backlighting to constitute a chunk the high-end LCD TV market, and with good reason — with much more exact and illumination, they can create better pictures than CCFLs LCD TV was able to achieve. Plus, they are less of a power drain than CCFL LCDs were. Given these benefits, the change to LEDs as industry standard made a lot of sense.


Edge lighting


Another form of LCD screen lighting is LED edge-lighting. As the name implies, edge-lit TVs have LEDs along edges of a display. There are a few different configurations, including LEDs along just the underside; the top and bottom and along all four edges. These configurations result in differences in image quality, but the brightness capacities exceed what CCFL LEDs could attain. While there are some downsides when compared to direct backlight or array, the upshot is edge lighting, to edge lighting allows to create thinner TVs and costs less to manufacture.