What is the Difference between LCD and LED Screens?

LED monitors and televisions are beginning to become cheaper and more budget-friendly. They typically promote much higher contrast ratios and lower power use than traditionally lit LCD screens, but they may not be the best option for video editors. Why is that? What is the difference between LCD and LED screens?

The difference between the two technologies actually lies in the way the screen is backlit. All LED screens are LCDs, but not all LCDs utilize LED technology. With an LED-based monitor, backlighting is spread across a grid of tiny lights (LEDs) that is spread from one side of the screen to the other. Unlike the fluorescent lighting behind a common LCD screen, LEDs cover the entire space in order to provide even lighting from end to end. The extra contrast comes from the ability the monitor has to detect areas that are intentionally darker and dim or turn off the tiny LED light directly behind the dark points. This creates what’s called a dynamic contrast which can create much darker blacks as the screen is essentially off in areas that are intentionally dark. This can become a problem in cases where you have a starry night sky and tiny white points of light need to be lit brightly while the surrounding mass is pitch black. Because of this, the stars may appear dimmer than they normally would as the tiny light is dimmed to compensate for the majority of the space being black.

Another advantage to owning an LED-based television or monitor is the ability for the screen to have wider viewing angles. With normal LCDs, you will notice a much sharper change in contrast and clarity as you look to each side. LEDs still drop off as you move to each side, but the change is noticeably different. This is due in part to the complete coverage of backlighting that isn’t present through fluorescent lighting schemes.

The typical lifespan of an LCD monitor or television before the lights start to dim and go out is 4-6 years. LED technologies last quite a bit longer, giving an expected 100,000 hours of light versus 60,000 hours provided by fluorescent lighting.

For the majority of users, an LED screen is a brilliant solution to that offers higher contrast ratios with a significantly lower energy usage. If you do movie editing or a lot of color-accurate detailed work, you may prefer to go with a more traditional LCD monitor.

8 thoughts on “What is the Difference between LCD and LED Screens?”

  1. ^Chris Pirillo  The LED Monitor’s are complete LED’s or just the corners are made with LED’s and the other parts are LCD ?

  2. Okay, I wanna buy a monitor mainly for my graphics designing, Maya and of course my blog work…..so i was wondering which is best for color correction and stuff…is it the LED or the LCD?

  3. Chris,
    A suggestion:  Please date your articles so that those finding this (and other articles like it) years from now have some idea of when it was written.  With technology changing so fast, knowing when an article was written can be very important.
    Thanks,
    Stu

    1. Fully agree. In addition I would recommend Chris to mention WHO is the guy he’s talking to. He deserves recognition based on his knowledge and the simplicity to explain this and other topics too.

        1. Good one! But what I meant is the guy who is in front of you explaining the difference between LCD vs LED. I’ve seen recently several videos and this guy is really cool based on the simplicity to explain things. Please let us know his name, so we may want to follow on the network. I can assure you that you won’t be replaced. We’re just completing the knowledge experience 🙂

  4. A major disadvantage with full/ corner LED TVs is that even if a single LED fails in the grid/ corners, you get a spot. And Chinese LEDs are very vulnerable. Esp. where you have unstable current input.
    So what you suggest is purely theoretical, actually. Might work in countries having no or little variation in frequency/ voltage, though.
    No matter what LED technology will mature to take these challenges. but we shall have to wait for their next axatar.

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