What’s the Difference Between LCD and LED Flat Screen TVs?
published onApril 8, 2011

So you’re thinking about installing a home theater system, but you’re wondering: Should I buy an LCD or LED flat screen TV? What’s the difference between them?

LED TVs are just a newer version of LCD TVs. Both LED and LCD TVs use liquid crystal display technology – the only difference is the light source used to illuminate these liquid crystals. All LCD and LED flat screen TVs contain two layers of glass which are polarized and joined together. The liquid crystals are enclosed within one of the glass layers. These crystals pass or block the light to produce the images on the screen.

However, these crystals don’t produce any light. Therefore, LCD and LED TVs require a light source at the back of the screen. Fluorescent lamps are used on LCD TVs while light emitting diodes are used on LED TVs.

Additionally, LED TVs feature two types of backlighting – edge lighting or full-array lighting. With edge lighting, the LEDs are placed along the outside edges of the screen and the light is dispersed across the screen. With full-array lighting, the entire back surface of the screen is covered with rows of LEDs.

So which type of TV is better?

While LCD and full-array LED TVs have a slimmer design than plasma or older-type TVs, edge-lit LED TVs typically are extremely thin and lightweight, taking up less space. Some models are ADA-approved to hang in narrow hallways while still permitting wheelchair access.

  • Full-array LED TVs provide better picture quality since each LED or a specific group of LEDs can be turned on and off independently within certain areas of the screen – improving brightness, darkness, and overall color saturation balance. With LCD TVs, the color accuracy will degrade over time as the fluorescent lamps age and the white color balance changes.
  • Viewing angle quality depends more upon the quality of the front-screen, clear glass panel than the type of TV. A thicker, higher quality glass panel adds depth and good viewing angles – however, it increases glare. Anti-glare screens always reduce picture depth and viewing angles.
  • When watching sports or fast-action movies, the response time and refresh rate determine the quality of the picture. These times and rates seem to be more dependent upon the TV manufacturer than the type of backlighting used.
  • Generally, LED TVs are more energy efficient – using about 40% less power – than the same-sized LCD TV
  • LED TVs are more environmentally friendly since they don’t contain mercury like the fluorescent-lit LCD TVs.
  • Because LED TVs are the newest version on the market, they can be almost twice as expensive as LCD TVs.

Have questions about buying an LCD or LED? Call the professional home theater system designers and installers at JD Pro to help you determine which LCD or LED TV will best fit your needs.