You want to buy a new TV, but you are confused by all the abbreviations used. Nothing more than abbreviations used for displays. LCD? QLED? 4KHD? What does this even mean?
When it comes to big purchases like the new flat screen, you’re probably looking for the best bang for your buck. The only way to make an informed decision is to be informed.
What do the acronyms mean and which one is better? These are the questions we will answer today with head-to-head comparisons and quick overviews of all the commonly used panel display options.
LCD vs LED: the difference between backlit TV screens
Before diving into the comparison of one to the other, we need to consider what the backlights are, the types, what each acronym referring to display panels means, and what they are.
Backlight definition right in the word: backlighting process. In other words, it illuminates the TV images you are watching, creating a glow at the focal point, while other areas remain dark. It helps you adjust brightness, color quality and contrast so you can watch your favorite shows.
LCD TVs use three main types of backlighting. Each of them is important but different.
- Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL). CCFL is an older form of backlighting that has been dropped. The CCFL series will be located inside the TV behind the LCD. This provided relatively uniform lighting, giving the same brightness levels across the entire screen. CCFLs are larger than the LED arrays used today, and as a result, LCD TVs had thicker bezels.
- Full-Array – Replacing the legacy CCFLs, we have a full array of LEDs on the back of the LCD. This provided different areas where the LEDs received local dimming, the ability to light up or dim depending on the contrast.
- Side lighting – Side lighting is similar to full size, except instead of a wide array of zone LEDs, LEDs are located along the top, bottom, and sides of the screen. LEDs can be adjusted in different ways, which gives different results in terms of image quality. An advantage of this backlight for manufacturers as they can make thinner TVs at a lower cost.
Common TV Show Terms
- Liquid crystal display (LCD) is a flat panel display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals. Since liquid crystals cannot emit light by themselves, a backlight or reflector is used to produce color or monochrome images.
- A light emitting diode (LED) is a semiconducting light source that emits light as a current. goes through it. The energy required to be used in the form of photons determines the colors emitted.
- Ultra High-Definition (UHD) – also known as UHD TV and Super Hi-Vision, this is a digital format with an aspect ratio of 16: 9.
- 4K (4K) resolution – a horizontal display with a resolution of approximately 4000 pixels, designed for the film projection industry.
- Organic LED (OLED) is an LED display on which an electroluminescent emitting layer, the path through which the current flows, is a film of an organic compound located between two electrodes.
- Quantum LED (QLED) – More precisely called a quantum display, QLED uses quantum dots, which are semiconductor nanocrystals that can produce pure monochromatic red, green and blue (RGB) light. They transform the backlight to emit pure RGB, which improves the brightness and color gamut of the display.
- MicroLED – consists of arrays of microscopic LEDs that form individual pixel elements. Provides better contrast, response time and energy efficiency compared to basic LCD technology.
- Mini-LED – LCD displays with LED backlight and mini-LED backlight for deeper blacks and higher contrast ratios. Li>
LCD vs LED
Like all the acronyms on this list, the two are pretty much the same thing with slight variations. An LED TV is simply an LED-backlit LCD TV that provides similar picture quality and functionality, but uses less power.
LED TVs also offer more colors, especially when using RGB LED backlighting, have higher dynamic contrast and have thinner bezels. For all these small advantages over standard LCD panels, LED TVs will cost you a little more.
The only significant difference can be found in older LCD TVs that used CCFL for lighting. Nowadays, virtually every TV marketed as an LCD is likely to be an LED version thanks to advances in technology. So, if you are on the line between an LCD TV and an LED TV, just make sure the LCD TV is no longer using CCFL. This should relieve you of the fear that you are going one way or another.
UHD vs. 4K
UHD is 4K – sort of. 4K TVs are all the rage today. What was originally used exclusively for cinematic large-screen projection is now available in your home. But what if I told you that it really isn’t?
The 4K version used when projecting movies delivers a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels. This should seem obvious, since 4096 is actually representative of the 4K found in the title. However, 4K or 4K UHD, as it is commonly called, is 3840 x 2160 pixels. This means that the dominant 4K standard that we hear about for our TVs isn’t actually 4K at all. This is an approximate value.
Do a few pixels really matter in general terms? No, not at all. Our eyes can barely process it anyway. However, when you see a TV labeled UHD and a TV labeled 4K, just know they are talking about the same thing. At least in terms of digital television.
Plus, 4K is more efficient on a big screen, but you’ll notice the difference even more if you purchase a TV that’s the same size as the one you’re replacing. 8K isn’t going to be widely adopted at home, so don’t be afraid to splurge a bit.
OLED vs. QLED
OLED TV is essentially the successor to the plasma screen. QLED TVs are a rebranding of Samsung’s SUHD TV line. Samsung decided SUHD was either too confusing or not catchy enough for marketing, so they switched it over to QLED. The “S” in SUHD didn’t even mean anything specific. In fact, SUHD is nothing more than a UHD LCD TV.
There is a slight caveat to what SUHD actually has that will set it apart from the competition: nanocrystalline technology and Samsung’s own version of High Dynamic Range (HDR), the Peak Illuminator Ultimate / Pro. Of course, nanocrystal technology is actually quantum dots, as shown in the abbreviations reviews above.
The Pro Peak Illuminator version offers edge-local dimming and can be found on cheaper QLED / SUHD TVs. Ultimate provides full array local dimming. Local dimming is a feature of an LED TV that dims the backlight behind various areas of the screen while black is displayed.
OLED TVs tend to offer a brighter, more colorful viewing experience and come with larger screen options than QLED / SUHD TVs. If more vivid visuals are needed, then OLED wins the fight.
MicroLED vs. Mini-LED
MicroLED is a new display technology that does not require backlighting like conventional LCD / LED TVs. Mini-LED is more of a replacement for the LED backlighting of the used LCD panels. Mini LED TVs will offer consumers better contrast and faster response times than LCD / LED TVs, but are not suitable for OLED TVs.
When it comes to image quality and contrast, MicroLED is a serious competitor to OLED. This means that the real difference between MicroLED and Mini-LED is that Micro-LED becomes a complete next generation display. Mini-LED is likely to become a replacement technology used to enhance existing display technologies.
For any TV that advertises Mini-LED technology, this simply means that it is an LED TV that has received an upgrade. The MicroLED Panel TV may be the next big thing, so investing in it today is likely to take you into the future.