Jun 18 2019
When LED TVs first appeared back in the early 2000s, customers initially mistook them for the "true LED displays" like those used in sports stadiums. As it turned out, the term "LED TV" was a bit of a misnomer. Unlike the large displays used at stadiums, which use thousands of LED pixels to create an image, an LED TV was just another way of saying "an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TV back-lit with LED Lights."
Semantics aside, LEDs do represent a significant step forward in terms of television design. Unlike Plasma TVs, LCDs rely on a separate light source for their visibility. Traditionally, fluorescent tubes are used, which are fitted behind the screen. The light they produce passes through the screen and into the room, lighting up the images and making them visible.
When LED Lights began entering into the mainstream of public consciousness, television manufacturers were presented with a viable alternative light source. With their lower running cost, longer life span and smaller size, LEDs were the logical next step in the evolution of back-lit televisions.
The marriage of LED and LCD technology has given rise to two main types of LED/LCD TV. The first uses a backlighting method called "full array." In this case the light is supplied by an array of LEDs positioned directly behind the screen.
One of the main advantages of full array is that it allows sections of a screen to be dimmed locally. In simple terms, this means that the brightness of each individual LED, or group of LEDs, can be controlled independently, offering a much sharper image and resulting in less "light leakage" when displaying dark scenes.
The second type of LED/LCD TV uses "edge lighting." Instead of being lit from behind, the screen is lit by LEDs positioned along the outside edge of the television. The light they produce is diffused evenly across the screen.
Unlike full array, edge lit televisions don't offer local dimming and, as such, suffer from many of the aesthetic drawbacks of a regular LCD. One advantage they do have, however, is that they can be made to much thinner specifications.
So, the next time you're looking for a new television, consider buying an LED TV. They're better for the environment, using 40% less energy than regular TVs, and, as LED Lighting degrade at a much slower rate, your television won't need replacing for many years.
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