Since the much-loved Plasma format of TVs went out of production, there has been some confusion about which format is better for home viewing – there is the LCD and there’s the LED. But before we start comparing the two kinds to decide which one’s better, let’s start by explaining what these terms even mean.
Both are hi-def TVs, which means that their quality of transmission will be a great deal better than standard transmission TVs. But is there a difference really?
LCD TV, or TVs with Liquid Crystal Display TVs work on the principle of blocking or permitting light rather than emitting it. This means that an LCD TV does not make its own light, and the additional lighting is done by backlighting or edge-lighting. What this translates to is a flat panel TV that has a wide viewing angle and depending on the size, will be fit for most rooms.
On the other hand, a LED TV, or a TV that’s got a Light Emitting Diode actually makes light from electricity, thereby producing stunning picture quality. Combine this with the thinness of the average LED TV and what you have is a TV that’s a little more expensive than a standard LCD TV.
With the basic difference clear, let’s now get to the real problem – which one do you buy?
Given that LED TVs make their own light from electricity, these are very bright, and while this is okay in a nicely lit up room, in a dark room the extra brightness can cause eye fatigue. In comparison, an LCD TV isn’t really dim, but yes, it is dimmer than a LED. To counter the effect of such brightness, LED TVs come with an anti-glare and anti-reflective coating.
We have explained what a Contrast Ratio is, but here’s a quick refresher: Contrast Ratio is the difference in luminescence between the brightest and the darkest parts of the screen. A higher contrast ratio means a better picture that looks more realistic and has more depth.
Essentially, contrast ratio is achieved by zonal dimming of the darker parts of the image. This is best achieved in a LED TV. Because it emits its own light, in the case of a full-array (or full-spectrum) backlighting, the TV is able to dim the LEDs in the darker part of the image, while keeping the bright parts as they are. Of course, this is also possible on edge-lit TVs, but the effect is most certainly better on full-spectrum backlights.
Like we said, LCD TVs do not emit any light but work on the principle of blocking light. Depending on ambient lights, the blacks may not appear as dim as they should be, or in a dark room, the colours may not pop the way they are expected to. This means that picture quality will not have the desired depth or realism.
Essentially, a LED TV is an LCD TV that has a LED backlight instead of a compact fluorescent, so if you get down to the base, there isn’t much difference in the resolution of either type. The image may look marginally better on a LED because of better contrast capabilities, but there is no real difference in the resolution of the image you see on LCD or LED.
Viewing angle is the maximum angle from which you can view the display within acceptable performance limits. That is to say that you should be able to sit farther away from the TV’s center while still being able to view the screen without any loss in quality. This depends a great deal on the quality of glass and its thickness. With recent advancements in LED TVs, they have gone progressively thinner, and this means a thinner glass panel. Also consider the anti-glare coating on the glass panel, and what you have on LEDs is a narrower viewing cone or angle. While the erstwhile Plasmas were far better in this parameter, LCD TVs come a close second.
LCD and LED TVs are quite effective in keeping power consumption low. This is relative to the earlier Plasmas which consumed a fair amount of electricity at their best settings. However, while LED TVs consume even lesser power than LCDs, do keep in mind that they essentially cost more given the other tech involved, so the saving you make in your electricity bill will take forever to recover the buying cost. An LCD TV might just be the better option if budget is a major concern.