A topic frequently raised is the choice consumers face when deciding between LCD vs LED TV. However there is no definitive answer as to which is type of TV is the best, like most choices your personal requirements will depend whether to opt for LED vs LCD.
The whole debate is somewhat confusing because of the fact that an LED TV is still technically speaking an LCD TV – all be it one that uses LED lighting to illuminate the LCD panel rather than CCFL (fluorescent lamps). Consumers who think that LED TVs are a radically different are misguided, although it is understandable why some people might have this misconception because some advertisers have portrayed LED TV technology in such a way which leaves consumers confused about its significance.
However most consumers now appreciate that LED televisions are actually just LCD TVs that use LED backlighting rather than CCFL, and so now the term LED TV has simply become a convenient phrase use to distinguish them from conventional LCD TVs that use CCFLs. There are however some real and practical pros and cons between LCD vs LED, and this is the issue that consumers are trying to get to the bottom of when deciding between LED TV vs LCD TV.
In order to make a choice between the two variations of TV technology you need to understand these pros and cons and then prioritize the importance of each before making your decision
Advantages of LED vs LCD TV
Thin and lightweight designs – LED TVs are slimmer and lighter than LCD TVs. To give you a direct comparison, the Samsung 630 LCD TV and the Samsung 6050 LED TV are both 46 inch TVs. The Samsung 630 has a 3.2 inch profile and its LED TV equivalent the Samsung 6050 is only 1.2 inch thick. The weight of the Samsung 630 is 19kg and the Samsung 6050 is 5kg lighter at 14kg.
If you intend wall mounting your TV the LED TV obviously has big practical advantages over LCD in this department. LED TVs are easier to wall-mount they are lighter and do not protrude as much and so are more aesthetically attractive.
However, if your TV is positioned on a TV stand or cabinet, then the weight and thickness of design is not such a significant issue. It then becomes a case of how important the aesthetics of owning an attractive slim TV is to the owner.
Superior contrast and colors – LED TVs have considerably better levels of contrast. The significance of this factor varies between different models depending on the other features that the TV may have such as local dimming, micro dimming, auto brightness and 3D TV capabilities.
When LED TVs were first released they were claimed to have improved color gamut and saturation. It was said that because LEDs can produce a wider spectrum of white light, a more accurate range of color reproduction was possible. However whilst this might be true in the case LED backlit TVs that use arrays of RGB LEDs positioned directly behind the LCD panel, it is not necessarily the case for edge-lit LED lighting which is the method of lighting that the majority of LED TVs on the market employ. This is because the type of LEDs which produce this superior white light and are known as RGB LEDs, are only used in TVs with rear LED array configurations. Edge lit TVs use another type of LEDs called ‘white LEDs’ which do not share the superior qualities of RGB LEDs.
Couple this with the fact that CCFL (fluorescent) technology has since improved over the same period and you will find that the performance of CCFL LCD TVs and edge-lit LED TVs is now very similar with regards to color reproduction.
As already mentioned there are other factors which also come in to consideration. One is that active 3D TVs benefit from the superior brightness and contrast of LED vs LCD TV. This is because 3D TVs which use active shutter 3D TV glasses have the effect of dimming the display due to the filtering effect of the shutters built in to the glasses. The improved brightness of LED TV can compensate for this reduction of brightness in 3DTVs.Top of the range Samsung LED TV with full HD 3D – simply one of the best TVs available on the market today. Ultra thin design with Clear Motion 960 – Samsung’s highest rating for any of their TVs. Smart TV with Samsung Apps, Web Browser and QWERTY keyboard / remote.
Other features such as auto brightness sensors and micro-dimming also affect the perceived brightness and contrast levels. When the room in which a TV with an auto-brightness sensor is located in is darkly lit, the TV reduces the brightness of the display. This improves the viewing experience and reduces power consumption. But whilst LED TVs characteristically have higher levels of brightness it is not necessarily always an advantage as fine detail can be lost when the brightness levels are too high – hence this why features such as auto-brightness and micro-dimming exist.
The fact of the matter is this, other features influence the quality of the picture produced more than LED lighting alone. A good LCD TV can produce better results in terms of picture quality than a bad LED TV and vice versa.
Energy Efficiency – LEDs are frequently touted are the eco-friendly TV. It is true that LED TVs use less power than both LCD and plasmas. If you believe the figures then LED TVs can use up to 40% less power than standard LCD TVs. I’m sure that if someone where to actually take the time to compare the power ratings for all LCD TV vs LED TV currently on the market then the figure would not be anywhere near 40%.
Anyway, from a little research, what I can say is that owning a 60 inch LED TV will save the average owner approximately $50 per year in electricity costs compared to owning the equivalent 60 inch LCD TV. It might not be a large amount, but over the average LED TV lifespan it would approximately equal the extra cost for purchasing the LED versus LCD, meaning that the TV basically paying for itself.
Improved Reliability – There is no disputing that LED TVs have a longer life than CCFL LCD TVs, on average an LED TV will last about 30-50% than an LCD TV. This is because LEDs are more reliable than the fluorescent lamps in conventional LCD TVs. Depending on usage an LED should have a life of 10 years or more. Also the performance of fluorescent lamps degrades over time, the brightness and the whiteness of the light can be reduced by a considerable amount, a problem which is not present with LED lighting.
Disadvantage of LED versus LCD TV
Price – LEDs are more expensive than LCD TVs. Consumers have always had to pay a premium to own the latest technology and LED TV is no different. It is hard to form a direct comparison what with the plethora of TVs available on the market, but you will have to pay approximately 20% more to own an LED TV compared to an equivalent LCD model. As an illustration, and sticking with the same models mentioned in the previous comparison, the Samsung 6050 LED TV has list price of $1200 and the equivalent Samsung 630 LCD TV is $1000.
LED vs LCD Conclusion
When it comes down to picture quality, then for use as a 3D TV, LED TV has its benefits also. For normal 2D viewing the same buying choice that has always applied regardless of the LCD versus LED TV argument – and that is that some brands and models will do the job better than others depending on all their features and how well they are implemented. There is never any better test than sampling the results with your own eyes and the best way to judge the visual qualities of particular TV models is to take yourself down to a TV store and ask for a demonstration of the models which interest you.There are no doubts that LED TVs have some definite benefits over standard LCD TVs. If owning a super slim TV appeals to you, or if you plan on wall mounting your TV then an LED is the way to go. If you want the eco-friendly option then LED TV fits the bill and will save you some money on your utility bills especially when if you want a big display and spend a lot of time in front of your TV set. If you are the sort of person that doesn’t replace their TV with a new model until it becomes faulty, then the improved reliability and average lifespan of LED TV is also going to be a big plus-point for you.
If your chosen model fits in with your budget then you are done, but if your budget is more restricted then don’t be put off from buying an LCD TV as the more competitive price means that you can achieve better value for your money.