LED TV and LCD TV : A Comparative Study

By soumitra, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

led_dynamicbacklightAfter our comparison between Plasma TV and LCD TVs, today we’ll discuss about the latest buzzword in the Display Industry - LED TVs and how it compares with the traditional LCD TVs. The LED TVs which are being touted as better display to the traditional LCDs are actually using a new backlighting technology that improves the display of LCD TVs by producing better contrast and black levels combined with better power efficiency. Traditional LCD TVs use CCFL (Cold cathode Fluorescent Lamps - these use the same technology like the plain tube lights) to light the displays. The LCD panel in front of it subtracts lights from the white lights to produce various colors on the screen. This cheaper backlights are replaced with white LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) in case of LED TVs to make it more slim and gain some other advantages. Here is a comparison between them.

Black Level / Contrast


LCD TV : The backlight is constantly lit in case of traditional TVs. The LCD panel has to block all those lights to make it pure black which is not always 100% efficient. This is why a powered on LCD TVs always show some whites on its screen that can be seen if observed from an angle to the display unit.
LED TV : In case of edge lit LCD TVs the backlights are placed at the edges which makes it slimmer without any additional advantages to produce better Black Levels or better contrasts. However, the LED matrix lit TVs do produce better contrast and black levels by using some sort of intelligent lighting technology. To show a dark scene, the LED behind any dark spot can be turned off to make it look even darker or almost 100% pure black. This is why matrix lit LED screens will produce better Black Levels and contrast ratios.
Conclusion : Edge Lit LED TVs win over traditional TVs with their sleek design and the matrix lit LED TVs win over traditional LCD screens by their better contrast and black level production capabilities.

Refresh Rate / Response Time

Refresh Rate and Response Times are properties of LCD Panel and nothing to do with the backlighting.
Conclusion : No one wins. It’s a tie.


LCD TVs : Though manufacturers claim that the life of an LCD TV will be 100,000 hours but they actually starts to show degradation in color hue after 20,000 hours.

LED TVs : There is won’t be much degradation in the lighting capabilities of the LED over time. The life expectancy of the LEDs are also not less than the LCD Panels.

Conclusion : LED TV wins for better display quality in the long run.


LCD TVs : The traditional LCD TVs with CCFL can be as much weighty as the plasma TVs.

LED TVs : The LED TVs are less weighty than LCD TVs and they are much more robust due to their architecture.

Conclusion : LED TVs win over the LCD TVs here.

lg-xcanvas-david-led-hdtvViewing Angle

Viewing angle is a property of the LCD Panel and has nothing to do with the backlighting technology.
Conclusion : No one wins here either.

Color Accuracy

LCD TV : Color Reproduction capability depends solely on the LCD Panel.
LED TV : Normal white backlighting LED displays have no special advantages but the tri color backlit LCD TVs, as in Sony X Series TVs, can change the backlighting colors according to the need of the scene. This can produce more accurate colors.
Conclusion : White backlighting LED TVs does not have an advantageous position but the tri color backlighting LED TVs are surely a winner.

Power Consumption

LCD TV : The main power is utilized by the CCFL Panels to light the screen.
LED TV : The power utilized by LEDs are at least 40% less than CCFL lighting.
Conclusion : LED TVs are the future as they use lesser power and no mercury used in the lights which will please the environmentalists.


LCD TV : The LCD TVs are produced in much larger number than the LED TVs, so they have a price advantage.
LED TV : These TVs are sometimes twice more costlier than the traditional TVs.
Conclusion : The LED TVs have a price toll for their better picture quality.


At the end of the day, we can say that the LED TVs can produce better picture quality than the traditional TVs but their price makes us think twice before purchasing one of them. However, the LED TVs are being adopted by all manufacturers and soon we can expect them to be nearly same priced as those traditional LCD TVs or just a little more priced than them. To conclude in a few words, go for the LED TVs if the price seem reasonable to you.


December 11, 2010: 2:46 pm

Your analysis has a very obvious pro-LED bias. Work on that. I will take CCFL fluorescence over edge-lit LEDs any day. I would like to hear me constructive comments on this Sharp quad color 4th yellow pixel business.

paul trewin
September 24, 2010: 12:13 pm

All lcd tvs are faded on an angle, led or ccfl when being viewed. Black levels are defintely better and increased colour gamut with led. Power consumption is 40% less with led backlight. The only downside to led is the price. Plasma is a better bang for the buck.

December 9, 2009: 6:10 am

Yes, LED TVs can really produce better picture quality than the traditional TVs. No question about it.

September 9, 2009: 7:25 pm

From all the various reviews Ive read (and AVS forums) LED based LCD’s actually have worse viewing angles than traditional LCD’s.

August 19, 2009: 10:18 am

First of all, thanks for your insightful analysis. We have enriched our article wherever was needed. Still, there are some points we will like to highlight.
Number 1
LED Matrix Lit TVs DOES produce better blacks and contrast levels. That’s what we meant in our previous article.
Number 2
RGB LED Backlit Sets DOES produce wider color gamut.


July 27, 2009: 3:53 pm

This article is seriously flawed.

Mistake number 1
While LED sets that use a matrix of LEDs to light the LCD are capable of dynamically adjusting the backlight in specific portions of the screen, most of the “LED” sets out there CANNOT do this. The reason is simple, they do not have a matrix of LEDs behind the LCD, but rather use sidelighting with a rear reflector (hence the slim proportions). This sidelighting results in poor light coverage. A CCFL backlit screen will often outperform these “LED” screens.

Mistake number 2.
Colour reproduction has a lot to do with the type of backlight. RGB LED backlit sets (like the Sony X-series) offer superior colour gamut, but in general a wide colour gamut CCFL backlit set will outperform a white sidelit “LED” set.

Mistake number 3.
From the article :”Viewing Angle

LCD TV : LCD TVs traditionally suffer from poor viewing angles and this is a real shortcoming over their main competitors : Plasma TVs.
LED TVs : The LED TVs are able to produce better viewing angles due to their nice backlighting technology.
Conclusion : LED TV wins here.” NONSENSE! Backlight has nothing to do with viewing angle. Viewing angle is determined by the LCD technology employed.

Mistake number 4.
The Sony pictured in the article is not LCD or “LED” but OLED - a completely different technology.

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