Buying a TV has never been a simple task. Sure bigger was always considered to be better, but in this day and age, there are a lot more features to take into account. You need to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money and that’s where we come in. I’ve had a lot of people ask me, which is better – an LCD or LED TV, size be damned? Even the lay TV viewer knows there’s a difference, but most might not be too sure of what that is and what to spend their money on. Allow me to shed some light on the subject.

What are LED and LCD TVs exactly?
Let us start off by understanding what an LED-backlit TV is. Prior to LEDs, LCD televisions used to use fluorescent tubes to light up the display. These tubes are known as CCFL – Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps. LCD televisions using CCFL have a number of lights that run along the back of the screen. This makes the TVs using CCFLs a lot thicker, as compared to LED backlit TVs. Most LCD televisions still use this technology for the panels, which distributes the light evenly across the display. LED-backlit TVs are by no means replacing LCD TVs with CCFLs, as of now. They are merely offering the consumer a choice of having the better technology both in the form of quality, as well as aesthetics. However, LEDs do this job way better and are more efficient, as compared to CCFLs. To get into it further, an LED TV is basically an LCD television with LED backlighting. Manufacturers call them LED TVs to set them apart from conventional LCDs. This can actually confuse a consumer in the way it is advertised.

Edge-LED backlit technology (Image credit: Sony)

Edge-LED backlit technology (Image credit: Sony)

On a side note – a certain company had been pulled up in the UK, because of the term LED TV being used in their advertising campaigns. Henceforth, the company has been disallowed from using the name ‘LED TV’, while advertising their range of LED-backlit TVs in the UK.

The performance is not just gauged by the quality of the images viewable on the screen, but by the fact that these LEDs have a longer lifespan than fluorescent tubes and consume around 30 percent less energy.

RGB Dynamic LED technology

RGB Dynamic LED technology

Are LED-backlit TVs better than CCFL LCD TVs?
The question still persists as to which backlighting is better on LCD televisions. So, here are a few reasons to understand the difference. The gradation of the colour display is a discerning factor while purchasing a television.

LEDs offer better picture quality, along with better contrast ratios, as compared to LCDs. Power consumption is another major deciding factor for manufacturers launching either. LEDs, as mentioned, require a lot less power compared to LCD televisions. With LED televisions, the images generally appear a lot softer than in LCDs. This is due to the lower power consumption, enabling one to have a better viewing experience on LED TVs.

Full array LED backlit TV

Full array LED backlit TV

Do keep in mind though that LED televisions are generally more expensive of the two, which could also be a deciding factor for some. In a budget-minded country like ours, CCFL LCD televisions have made more of an impact than LED TVs. As with most technologies seen in the market, the quality of certain LED televisions may be sub par to certain standard backlit LCD options. This fact depends on the manufacturer, panels used, LEDs etc.

Jargon busted
Sales persons have the tendency to mislead people by throwing terms at people such as LED TV, LED-backlit TV, LED LCD TV, etc. One should not be thrown off guard by these terms and just know that when any sales person talks about a LED TV preceded by backlit, LCD, etc. be sure to know that they are speaking about an LCD television with LED backlighting.

Are LED-backlit TVs here to stay?
From all the points mentioned above, it proves that LED-backlit televisions are the better options available, presently. OLED televisions (Organic LED TVs) are slowly entering the market, but are seriously very expensive. So, as of now, the cost is the only limiting factor for LED TVs not getting the market share they demand. As the market for these TVs widens, the prices are certain to go down.

The next generation of LED TVs - OLED

The next generation of LED TVs – OLED

So, should one purchase an LED TV now? The answer is pretty simple, if one is looking to upgrade from a CRT TV or CCFL backlit LCD TV and has a bit of extra cash to spend, then they should upgrade, considering that not only are these televisions stylish, but they also feature advanced technologies like full HD 1080p video playback, 2D to 3D simulation, as well as smart TV capabilities.

Publish date: October 6, 2011 3:44 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:39 pm

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