When I tell you that LED screens are better than LCD screens, what do I mean by it? Does it mean that the screen is actually made of LED lights? No, it doesn’t. An LED TV is actually an LCD TV, but with a few differences. These differences are what sets LED screens apart from LCD ones, making the former a better contender in the TV wars that are currently raging on.

The ridiculously wide, but cool Philips Cinema 21:9 TV

The ridiculously wide, but cool Philips Cinema 21:9 TV

What is an LED TV?
An LED (light emitting diode) TV is actually an LCD TV with an LED backlight. It is not an actual LED TV, but manufacturers usually ignore this fact and call it that anyway. The regular LCD TVs use cold cathode fluorescent lights (CCFL), which take up more space. This gives LED TVs an advantage over LCD TVs, as they are better at power saving, have brighter displays, better contrast and can dissipate heat better. LED TVs are also way thinner and prettier to look at.

There are 3 types of LED TVs:

  • Edge Lit Screens: These have LED lights placed around the rim of the screen. This is done using a special type of diffusion panel which spreads light evenly behind the screen. It is also the most common type of LED screen, and is the thinnest of the three.
  • Dynamic RGB LED Lights: These are positioned behind the screen instead and allow dimming to occur in locally specific areas of darkness on the screen. This allows the TV to present better black and white levels at pretty high dynamic contrast ratios. The only disadvantage of this is that small bright objects with dark backgrounds are shown in less detail.
  • Full Array of LED Lights:These are arranged behind the screen but cannot be dimmed or brightened individually. This type of screen has a lot of advantages as these TVs save more power, have better brightness and contrast, as well as better response time and colour reproduction. This is definitely the best of the lot, but TVs using this technology are generally more expensive.

The technology behind full array LED backlighting

The technology behind full array LED backlighting

Image source: www.presentationtek.com


LCD has been around for quite a while now, as the technology first got popular when it started being used in digital watches. It basically uses liquid crystals between plates, and these crystals change when current is applied to them. Of course, colour LCD screens have only been introduced relatively recently, but the technology behind it is more or less the same. The disadvantage of LCD screens have relatively poor contrast level and respond slower to fast moving images, creating a motion blur.

LED, on the other hand has been gaining momentum over LCD in recent times. Not only do they perform better than LCD TVs, but are also more reliable. Earlier, LED-backlit TVs were really expensive, but the technology has gained in popularity, allowing prices to be reduced quite drastically. Even smaller manufacturers have launched LED-lit TVs, although all of them aren’t very impressive. But some LED-lit TVs like the LG Infinia 55LX9500 are complete winners in my eyes as it has brilliant contrast, colour reproduction, great black levels and looks gorgeous.

LG's Infinia 55LX9500 - a beautiful beast

LG's Infinia 55LX9500 – a beautiful beast

There is one argument about the price of LED-lit screens that is quite valid, though. A lot of other devices such as laptops and netbooks use LED-lit screens, which doesn’t really affect the price. So why are LED-lit TVs so expensive? Many manufacturers don’t produce the screens themselves, and outsource them instead, and some argue that they are less readily available than LCD screens. Obviously this increases demand, which gives rise to steeper prices. But like I said before, the prices are coming down gradually, and since LED-lit TVs have so many advantages over LCD TVs, the right to make them a little more expensive is justified.

In my opinion, buying an LED-lit TV is the right choice. I’ve already outlined the advantages, and it’s pretty simple – if you have the money, buy an LED-lit TV. It will give you a better viewing experience, will last longer and reduce your carbon footprint, even if only by a little.

Taking the technology further
The next step is OLED (organic light emitting diode) screens, and these are even better than regular LED screens. The difference here is that OLEDs emit their own light in the form of electroluminescence. These screens are even brighter, sharper, have better response time, colour reproduction and contrast levels as well as wider viewing angles. But this is still a work in progress, and although plenty of manufacturers have outdone themselves with brilliant prototypes as well as professional purposes, they are yet to be launched for consumer use.

Samsung displays their foldable OLED screen prototype

Samsung displays their foldable OLED screen prototype

By now, you would have probably realised that LED-lit TVs are definitely superior to LCD TVs. Sure, they cost more, but you can’t really put a price tag on happiness right? And that happiness is what you will feel while watching your favourite movie.

Publish date: February 18, 2011 10:00 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:20 pm

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