Buying a television in the modern world can be quite a daunting task. Technological advancements have been made in so many areas that even the most knowledgeable techie can be left unsure over which model is the right one for them. On a more basic level the technophobes amongst us can be confused over the simple choice of whether an LCD or an LED TV is more suitable for our needs. Hopefully this guide will clear up a few questions and help you choose the right option for you.
Understanding the terms
The phrase LED TV is actually a little misleading as they use light crystal display (LCD) technology to produce the picture in the same way that LCD TVs do. The only difference between the two is the backlighting that is used; LCD models use small fluorescent bulbs, with LED versions using light emitting diodes.
LED TVs use two approaches to backlighting. The first sees LEDs positioned around the edge of the screen, which allows for the manufacture of thinner products. The second approach works by having LEDs placed directly behind the screen and is known as full array. Both edge lit and full array LED TVs are available with local dimming, which allows the LEDs to brighten or dim as a single unit; creating a higher contrast. As a result the picture of TVs with local dimming tends to be better.
The viewing angle of a TV relates to how clear the picture is when the watcher is positioned to the side or below the screen. LED TVs with local dimming tend to display the best picture when viewed from angles, followed by LCDs and then LED models with edge lighting. Another factor to consider is the quality of the glass used for the screen, with surface glare being an issue. More expensive models tend to use clearer glass and therefore have better viewing angles.
Colour and contrast
LED TVs come with either RGB backlights or white backlights. Whilst there isn’t much difference between an LCD TV and a LED TV with white backlights; a model with RGB backlights will deliver superior colour accuracy.
The main issue concerning contrast is how sharp the image is where light and dark colours meet. As you would expect an LED TV with local dimming delivers the best results, with LCD and edge lit LED TVs providing similar quality.
If you are concerned about the environment and also like to save on energy bills you may want to consider and edge lit LED, as this lighting solution takes less juice. LCD TVs come in the middle for power usage, with local dimming LED models proving the most costly to run.
Response time and refresh rates
These two phrases refer to how TVs deal with rapid movements and are particularly relevant when watching sports, action flicks or playing video games. Response time is measured in milliseconds with refresh rate measured in hertz. There is no difference between the capabilities of LED and LCD models in these two areas. With the refresh rate you are looking for as high a number as is possible, with response time being better when lower.
Rick Lyon has a strong interest in electronic gadgets and owns both and LCD and LED TV. He hopes that this article will help clear up the uncertainties that many consumers still have over the differing TV types available on the market.