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Difference between LCD and LED

LCD vs LED

LCD and LED both are very co-relevant, and that is why most people get confused between them. It is important to note that they are not similar and cannot be used interchangeably. Although they both are used in many similar products, there are noticeable differences based on various factors.

In this article, we are explaining the significant differences between LCD and LED, which will help us know the usage and benefits of both. This will also help us understand which one should be considered when purchasing any product based on LCD and LED.

Let's first discuss both with the definitions:

What is the LCD?

An LCD (short form of 'liquid crystal display') is a passive device with no lights to display text or media. Instead of its lights, LCD uses fluorescent tubes that help produce the lights and lighten the picture. The lights are always placed behind the screen panel. LCD produces the contents on the screen in the form of a dot matrix or segments. A liquid crystal filament is filled between the transparent electrodes, and the current is passed through it to energize the filaments. This eventually helps to emit visible lights.

The liquid crystal material used in LCDs is neither a liquid nor a solid; however, it consists of properties similar to the crystallized solid. Besides, the molecules are arranged in fixed patterns. But it is important to note that the molecules are not fixed in any particular shape or form. Because LCDs are comparatively thinner than casual backlit TVs, they have angle-viewing and anti-glare issues.

Advantages of LCD

Few essential advantages of the LCD are listed below:

  • LCD is low cost.
  • LCD is light-weight than old CRT displays.
  • LCD provides excellent brightness.
  • LCD has better wide viewing angles.

Disadvantages of LCD

The most common disadvantages of the LCD are highlighted below:

  • LCD is not good in low-light or dim light environments because it has difficulty producing black and dark grays light.
  • White saturation in LCD sometimes leads to an uneven brightness.
  • LCD is built with a fixed aspect ratio and a resolution.
  • LCD can provide weak or bad pixels, resulting in varying intensity or shading on the screen.

What is an LED?

An LED (short for 'light-emitting diode') is a subset of LCD, which technically uses liquid crystal displays. However, it differs from LCD because the LCDs use fluorescent lights while LEDs use light-emitting diodes. These diodes are usually referred to as the semiconductor light sources that produce lights when a current passes through them. This diode mechanism in LEDs produces better and sharper pictures than the general LCDs. In LEDs, the light-emitting diodes can be placed either behind the screen panel or around the edges.

There are two main reasons why LEDs have better quality pictures:

  • LEDs operate with the color wheel technique or distinct RGB-colored light. This eventually helps achieve clearer, sharper, and natural colors.
  • LEDs work with a dimming capability with the backlighting that makes pictures truer black. Typically, this technique makes lights darker and blocks extra lights passing through the screen panel.

Note: The dimming capability feature is usually unavailable in edge-lit LED TVs. But these TVs have a truer white display when compared with the backlit fluorescent LED TVs.

Advantages of LED

Few essential advantages of the LED are listed below:

  • LED usually lasts longer, making it long-life durable.
  • LED does not generate heat.
  • LED is highly power efficient.
  • LED usually requires less maintenance.

Disadvantages of LED

A few essential dis-advantages of the LED are listed below:

  • LED is costly. The higher the screen-size, the more it will cost.
  • LED has a limited range of wide viewing angles.
  • LED is tough to repair when damaged.
  • The repair cost is high because LED parts are costly and tough to find according to the suitable product model.

Key Differences between LCD and LED

Few key differences between LCD and LED are listed below:

  • LCD uses liquid filaments filled between glass-electrodes that help emit the light, whereas LED uses the PN-junction diode concept, which is forward biased for the light's emission.
  • In terms of the resolution, LED provides more pixels on the screen than LCD. The higher the number of pixels, the better the resolution and the quality of the picture.
  • LEDs are comparatively more power-efficient than LCDs.
  • LCDs have a better wide viewing angle as compared to LEDs.
  • LCDs emit light in all directions that allow users to easily watch the displayed content from different angles. LEDs, on the other side, emit light in one direction because of the PN-junction diode. This makes it tough for users to watch the content from different angles, especially wide angles.
  • LEDs are much more costly than LCDs.
  • LEDs, once damaged, are tough to repair. However, LCDs are relatively easier.
  • LEDs are comparatively faster to start when compared with LCDs. This makes the booting process faster for computers, televisions, and other LED-based products.
  • LCDs contain mercury that is not considered well for the environment, whereas LEDs don't have it.
  • LCDs take direct current as the input that can reduce the lifespan according to the time. On the other side, LEDs don't have this issue.
  • LEDs have gallium arsenides, which is heated to emit lights. Besides, LCDs have liquid crystals that are energized to produce light.

Major Differences between LCD and LED

The other major differences between LCD and LED can be explained in a tabulated form, as below:

Attributes LCD LED
Complete Form The complete form of LCD is Liquid Crystal Display. The complete form of LED is Light Emitting Diode.
Short Definition LCD is usually defined as an optical device that uses fluorescent lights to display text and media information. It produces lights when liquid crystals have energized by applying power. LED is an advancement of LCD, which uses PN-junction diodes to display the information instead of fluorescent lights. It produces lights when an electrical charge is passed through it.
Dependency LCDs are not a subset of LEDs. This means they are not dependent on LEDs. LEDs are the subset of LCDs, making them somehow dependent on LCDs.
Backlight LCD televisions usually have cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) for producing backlight. LED televisions usually have light-emitting diodes for producing backlight. They are very energy-efficient.
Light Placement LCD TV uses fluorescent lights, which are placed behind the screen. The placement of lights in an LED TV differs from product to product. The light-emitting diodes in LEDs may be placed either behind the screen or around the edges.
Resolution LCD has lower resolutions, and most LCD screen comes with a fixed resolution and aspect ratio. The LED screen comes with a greater resolution.
Power efficiency LCDs are comparatively less power efficient than LEDs. LEDs are more power-efficient.
Display Area LCD screens can cover wider angles, and so the display area is large for them. LED screens cannot cover much wider angles, and so the display area is small for them.
Power On Time LCDs take relatively more time in a startup when compared with LEDs. The LED startup process is quick as they have a fast switching time than LCDs.
Direct Current Effect LCD gets affected by the direct current. This can result in a reduced life span. There is no direct current effect as the LED automatically adjusts and manages the current for a maximum life span.
Contrast Ratio LCDs have a good contrast ratio, but they are not as good as that of LEDs. LEDs have a much better contrast ratio as compared to LCDs.
Material Used LCD uses liquid crystals and glass electrodes. LED uses gallium arsenide phosphide.
Mercury Presence Mercury is used for the production of LCDs. This is the reason LCDs are not environment friendly. LEDs do not require mercury for their production. They are environment friendly.
Picture Quality LCD provides a good picture quality, but it is comparatively less than LED. LED provides an excellent picture quality, and we can notice the differences if we compare it with the LCD screen.
Color Accuracy LCD delivers a good color accuracy, but it is not good as that of LED. LED delivers great color accuracy with excellent black levels.
Overall Size/Shape LCD usually comes in the size of 13 to 57 inches. It is comparatively thicker than the LED. LED is available up to the size of 90 inches. It is much slimmer as compared to LCD.
Cost LCD comes at a cheaper cost. LED costs more than LCD.

Which is better between LCD and LED?

LED and LCD are both the latest technologies, but LED has various advantages over LCD, making it better. To be specific, LED-based products (e.g., LED TVs) can run with a fluidity, providing better response time than LCD. Apart from this, LED TVs are much clearer and better in picture quality than general LCD TVs. The primary reason for the better quality picture in these TVs is the color wheel or distinct RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colored lights. This helps in producing more natural and sharper colors. That is the reason modern displays are coming with LED.


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