Getting straight down to the business, there is nothing called 'LED HDTV' in the first place; what we refer to as LED TVs are basically LCD TVs that resort to LED backlighting instead of the traditional CCFL backlighting. This misnomer can be attributed to aggressive marketing by manufacturers and retailers who introduced LED-backlit LCD TVs as LED TVs in the beginning of the 21st century. Confused? It isn't as difficult as it seems. By the time you reach half way through this write-up, all your misunderstandings will be cleared.
LED HDTV and LCD HDTV: Are They Really at Loggerheads?
High-definition televisions, abbreviated as HDTVs, are television sets which facilitate transmission of high-definition video owing to the amazing resolution of 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 pixels that they boast of. These televisions are slowly, but steadily, phasing out their predecessors, i.e., the standard-definition televisions (a.k.a. SDTVs). Almost all the television models available in the market today resort to HDTV technology; LCD televisions are no exception.
Simply put, LCD TVs, also known as liquid-crystal display televisions, are those television sets that resort to LCD technology to produce and display images. In this technology, the image that is displayed on the screen is produced by selectively filtering the white light produced by a light source used in them.
When LCD televisions were introduced back in the 20th century, they used a series of cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs), which was placed behind the display as the source of light. More recently, however, these CCFLs have been replaced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are either arranged in an array behind the display (back-lit or full-array LED televisions) or in a straight line along the edge of the display (edge-lit LED televisions).
It is the use of LED bcklighting that has earned the new LCD TV models the colloquial name LED TV. However, the fact remains that what are marketed as LED TVs today, are nothing but LCD televisions with LED backlighting, which should be ideally referred to as LED-backlit LCD TVs. On the other hand, those LCD TVs that use CCFL backlighting as the light source should be referred to as CCFL-backlit LCD TVs. If this difference between LCD and LED technology is taken into consideration, we should be comparing LED-backlit LCD televisions against CCFL-backlit LCD televisions in this comparison.
LED HDTV Vs. LCD HDTV: Which is Better?
Just because both use LCD technology, it doesn't mean that they are same through and through. There do exist quite a few differences between the two, and you need to take these differences into consideration when deciding between them. As you must have realized by now, the main difference between LED-backlit LCDs and CCFL-backlit LCDs is the source of backlighting that they resort to. While the former resorts to tiny light-emitting diodes as the light source, the latter uses cold-cathode fluorescent lamps for the same.
Being relatively new on the block, LED-backlit LCD TVs do have some advantages over CCFL-backlit TVs. Starting with the power consumption, opting for LED-backlit LCD TV is a better option, as these units are known to save 40 percent power as compared to CCFL-backlit units. The RGB color wheel used in LED-backlit televisions adds vibrant colors and gives them an edge when it comes to image quality. At this juncture of time, it is difficult to ascertain which of the two has a longer lifespan, but taking into consideration the fact that light-emitting diodes have a longer lifespan than fluorescent lamps (as fluorescent lamps have the tendency to fade with time), it's undoubtedly advantage LED TV here.
Again, the halo effect that you are likely to experience when it comes to full-array LED-backlit TVs does have the tendency to play a spoilsport. Price is yet another, and perhaps the most crucial, aspect wherein LCD televisions have an edge over LED televisions, and that becomes all the more obvious when you compare the price of the same sized units.
While most of the LED HDTV reviews suggest that these units have a better contrast ratio and deeper blacks, LCD TVs are fast catching up in this aspect. Being high-definition televisions, you will hardly see any difference between the two when it comes to fast-moving videos. In terms of environment friendliness, the fact that CCFLs used in LCDs have mercury in them makes these television sets a potential environmental hazard.
As the battle between these two continues to heat up, the differences between them are expected to come down. At the end of the day, everything comes down to your personal preferences. If you prefer spending extra rather than compromising on the quality, you can go for LED TV. However, if price is the driving factor that you are concerned of, then LCD is the best bet for you.