Despite the advent of new technologies and new media, TV continues to be hugely important in most people’s homes. If you have been looking for information to upgrade your TV you have probably come up different terms that you may or may not fully understand, like LED TV or LCD TV, but which one is better.

Before you can decide what TV is good for you, it is incredibly important for you to understand the different terminology. Obviously, we cannot go over and explain every single term that you may come across when researching TVs online. Instead, we will just focus on two of the most commonly used terms that we are sure that you have come across many times before: LED TV and LCD TV.

If you need help in understanding these two terms, you have come to the right place. Here at Tech Review Source we review products and explain the differences between products so you can make informed decisions when you make tech purchases.

We have done all the research about this issue so you will not have to. You should be able to find all the information you would ever need to know in this article. But if after reading this article, you come to the conclusion that you still have some questions about this, you can always leave us a question in the comments section.

Having said all that, let’s now to begin to look into this.

What Is the Difference Between An LED TV and LCD TV?

This question is probably what has brought many of you to this article so it should be the first thing we tackle.

The answer to this question is extremely simple, although it may surprise many: LED TVs and LCD TVs are one and the same thing. There is no difference between an LED TV and an LCD TV as both terms are synonymous.

I would understand if you felt that there is no point reading the remainder of this article after learning that piece of information. However tempted you could be to do that, I would strongly suggest against it.

There are a few things you should know before you are able to make an informed decision for yourself.


The key thing to understand is that LED TVs are LCD TVs but they are a different kind of an LCD TV. Let me explain this…

LCD is an acronym for “liquid crystal display”. What this means is that those TVs that are defined by that acronym use a liquid crystal display panel that generated the light that is then displayed on the screen.

“The key thing about LCD Soundsystem is that people always wanted this band to exist. For years, it was glaringly obviously that a band like this should exist, and people were impatiently waiting for them to show up.” – Rob Sheffield.

TVs that are known as LED and LCD TV have that panel. So, at least in that sense, both are the same.

An LCD panel is made up of two different sheets (these sheets are made with the polarizing material) that are separated by a crystal liquid solution. That crystal solution has been designed to let light pass through it or block it out as needed. The electric current goes through the liquid solution, which is what makes the crystals align or not so that the screen is lit or not.

Although both LED and LCD are the same in those terms, there are some key differences. The way LCD TVs used to be backlight has become obsolete and has been replaced by a more effective one, which is what technically is known as LED (Light Emitting Diode).

The best way to understand those technical differences is to break them up and explain them in detail.

Parsing out those differences is what will take up the rest of the article. We will go over the different kinds of backlighting that differentiate the different models. Although we have done an effort to use easy-to-read language, you can expect a certain level of technical jargon. Whenever we mention technical jargon, we have made an effort to explain it as clearly as possible.


When it comes to lighting there are a few different ways to backlight TV screen:

  • CCFL lighting: this lighting is achieved thanks to its cold cathode fluorescent lamps, which is how old LCD TVs used to be backlit.
  • LED backlighting, which is achieved, as I explained before, through the light emitting diode from the back.
  • LED edge lighting, which is also achieved through light emitting diode but in this case, not exactly from the back.

So, there you have LCD TVs on the one hand and then two kinds of LED TVs on the other hand. Let’s now go into each of this in more detail so you can fully assess the differences that exist between the three of them.

How About Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps? 

CCFL lighting is not really used much anymore but you might still find TVs out there that use this technology. They have become obsolete with time so you can easily find much better TVs. Also, it can be hard to find these kinds of TVs anymore but if you do find one it will most probably be cheaper than the other kinds that we will discuss later.

This kind of lighting might affect picture quality negatively. Because the whole screen is lit uniformly, black or dark sections of the picture can appear washed out. The advantage of this is that if you are watching a TV of this kind, you will not notice this but if you are watching in a dark environment, you will notice that dark tones are distractingly bright.

How About LED Backlighting?

This lighting method has largely replaced the CCFL. This new method gets rid of the lighting issue that I explained in the previous section.

Why? Because LED backlighting does not light the whole screen uniformly. Some areas are dimmed while others are lit. But not only this, the benefits of this kind of TV go beyond picture quality. This kind of backlighting is only more energy efficient.

Having said all that, there are different kinds of LED backlighting. And most of the TVs currently in the market place belong to this category.

It may seem ironic that dimming is what could create a better picture quality. But this is indeed the case thanks to local dimming, which improves contrast.

There are two near-synonyms terms that are used for LED backlighting: “full array” and “direct local dimming”. Most TV manufacturers do not differentiate between these two concepts. There is a small difference between the two but one that is small that most users will not even notice it. The difference is that what is known as direct local dimming has fewer light emitting diodes than a full array backlit TV.

How About Edge Lighting? 

The last kind of backlighting that you might come across when looking at LCD TVs is what is known as LED edge lighting.

The name is very descriptive. What characterizes this kind of LCD TV is that, instead of having a full array of lighting, it has light emitting diodes located all along the edges of the screen.

But there are different ways of laying out the light emitting diodes (LEDs):

  • LEDs placed along the bottom of the screen.
  • LEDs placed on the top and the bottom of the screen.
  • LEDs placed on the left and right edges of the screen.
  • LEDs placed all along the four edges of the screen.

The advantage of this lighting is that it is not located directly behind the LCD display. Although this has its advantages it also brings potential problems.

This can produce certain problems when it comes to picture quality. For example, edge light can result in light patches where it should be dark. And not only this, certain TVs that use this kind of backlighting often glow along the edges of the screen while dimming the central area of the screen.

Technical Evolution 

This has been the evolution of LCD TV technology so far. But all manufacturers continue to invest in research in order to improve backlighting.

It seems that the way to go is improving edge lighting. As the edge lighting technology improves, edge lighting gets a lot closer to full array lighting. As technology gets better, new TV models are released with better features and higher quality picture quality. It is important to notice that it is common for models with different technologies to co-exist in the market place at least for a while. This is why it is so important not only to understand what the different terms mean but also what it implied in practical terms such as the picture or audio quality.

This has been LED TV vs LCD TV. If you have any feedback or would like to share your own experience with LCD TV, please leave us a message in the comments section below!

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