LED backlighting in TVs has been a real boon for end users, while manufactures have been able to create stunningly slim televisions. It also keeps the environmentalists happy since there is no mercury used in LED backlit TVs there by giving you a greener product. We tested quite a few LED based LCD TVs in the past and the difference in power consumption is certainly visible while still maintaining a good brightness level.
The problem with the term “LED backlit LCD” is that it’s a bit too long, which does not look good in advertisements and posters. Manufacturers have conveniently eliminated LCD and simply highlight “LED”, duping customers into thinking they are LED TVs, which they clearly aren’t. Today we’ll have a look at the different types of LED LCD TVs currently available that offer improved picture quality over the other or even traditional LCD TVs.
All LED Backlit TVs are not created equal
The first thing that you should know is that not all LED LCD TVs are created equal. Just because the TV may have a sticker that says “LED” on it does not mean you’ll get the same performance as the flagship model. Stop and think for a moment, if companies used the same technologies in their high-end and low-end products, no one would look at the higher end models, right?
There are predominantly two types of LED backlighting technologies; Edge-lit LEDs and Full array LEDs. The first batch of LED TVs that came out in 2009 were based on this technology and was first showcased by Samsung. Today you’ll find everyone using this technology in their “cheaper” LED LCD TVs. Edge-lit typically means the LEDs are placed around the edge, which allow companies to make slimmer TVs. There are no major advantages in this type of LED LCD over conventional LCDs when it comes to picture quality. In fact there are many uniformity issues with edge-lit LEDs, like certain areas of the TV tend to be brighter than others, which we noticed when we reviewed the Sony ZX1. This is cheaper to produce than Full array LED LCDs, since they use a fewer number of LEDs.
The other technology that can be found on most of high-end TVs of today is Full array LEDs. As the name suggests, there is a full array of LEDs (see pic) sitting behind the LCD panel. This obviously gives you a more even backlighting with little or no uniformity issues. Mid-range to high end models typically have this sort of backlighting, like the Samsung UNC6500 series. In terms of picture quality, there is no real perceptible difference when compared to an LCD. The only advantage here is lower power consumption and again a slimmer profile. The latest crop of LED LCD TVs feature Local Dimming LED technology, which changes the game altogether.