Rants and Raves

LED vs. LCD

This week I was looking into buying a new TV. I know for sure that I’m not looking at a plasma. When the sales representative was explaining the different TVs she started describing LED TVs as better TVs. This led to the question, isn’t a LED TV a LCD display. The answer I got was no it is better than a LCD, that it worked like a LED stop light that the LEDs change colour.

This is wrong! All LED TVs are LCD TVs but all LCD TVs are not LED TVs.

What is LCD? It is basically like the old fashion calculators, as an electric current hits a liquid crystal (the LC in LCD) it rotates the crystal changing the wave lengths to make a RGBK {Red, Green, Blue, and Black} (or in a few RGBYK {adds Yellow})  to the back light.

Then what’s the diff?

The difference is in the back-light. A TV referred to by the store as a LCD TV is in-fact a lit in the back by a fluorescent back-light. This back-light will last a ;long time but will eventually burn out.  This is similar to the monitor that you are likely reading this on, like a laptop or cell phone screen (most anyways).

The LED (Light Emitting Diode) is the light bulb used to light the LCD panel. Seems to simple eh? While it is, there are two main types of LED TVs edge lit and local dimming. With edge lit the LED Bulbs are around the edge of the display and light the display. Where local dimming has lots of smaller regions that can be dimmed on and off to give a better black.

A really good website that for further reading is LCD TV Buying Guide.

One Comment

  1. Stephen

    Another big difference is the price 🙂

    Everything new of course has a premium price, regardless of whether it's a premium product or not.

    Ever consider 3D? I personally can't stand the thought of a 3D TV, but since you're looking into getting a new TV, I'm sure that you had to answer that question for yourself. The lack of mention means that you probably dismissed it, as did I.

    Good luck with your search! I bought a Dynex 40" LCD from Future Shop almost a year ago… first one kept shutting off by itself, so I took it back and got it replaced with the same model. Seems to be working so far. I wish that I had the money to invest in a better brand, but at the time I had to make a decision fast, as my old TV suddenly died.

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