With new technology and unfamiliar nomenclature constantly popping up in the electronics industry, it is easy for shoppers to get confused and overwhelmed when searching for a new television set. For consumers looking to buy an LED television, it is important to begin with an understanding of exactly how so-called LED televisions differ from LCD televisions that implement cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology. Learning about the different types of LED televisions and the benefits and drawbacks of each will allow consumers to make informed decisions as to which type may best suit their individual needs.
Understanding LED TVs
Televisions that are referred to as LED TVs actually have LCD front panels that are backlit by light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, instead of cold-cathode fluorescent lighting. All LCD televisions require a source of backlighting because LCD, or liquid crystal diode, chips and pixels do not emit light on their own.
The only true LED TVs are the giant screens found in stadiums, arenas, and on high-resolution billboards. Thus, although commonly described as LED televisions, consumer-level LED televisions actually have LCD screens, which is why some companies more accurately refer to them as "LED-based LCD televisions."
LED TVs come in a few different configurations depending on the placement of the LED lights and whether or not a particular model employs what is known as local dimming. LED-based LCD televisions are more expensive than those that use CCFL for backlighting, but with that comes improved picture quality and energy efficiency. Although overall picture quality is said to rival that of plasma televisions, it suffers a bit when viewed from side angles or from above or below eye level.
Types of LED TVs
There are two main configurations for backlighting on LED televisions: edge lighting and direct lighting. Both edge-lit and direct-lit LED televisions come in models with and without a technology called local dimming. There are slight differences in all four of these configurations, and the advantages and disadvantages of each should be taken into account when shopping for an LED-backlit LCD television.
Full- or Direct-Lit LED TV
Full - LED televisions, sometimes referred to as full-array or direct-lit LED, have the LED lights arranged behind the entire LCD panel. They are thicker than edge-lit LCD TVs and have a picture quality similar to that of CCFL-backlit LCD televisions, although black-level performance is considered to be on par with that of plasma televisions.
Edge-Lit LED TV
Edge - lit LED televisions have a series of LED backlights that run along the outside edges of the screen, which is dispersed across the entire screen by light guides. By placing the LEDs along the edges only, manufacturers are able to make screens very thin and further reduce costs. This configuration sometimes creates a brightness around the edge of the screen and decreases the depth of blacks, but this is not often noticeable when viewing in brightly lit rooms. Spotlighting in the corners or white blotches across the screen may also be noticeable when viewing in a dark room. Aside from these minor uniformity issues, picture quality is similar to CCFL-backlit LCD TVs.
LED TVs with Local Dimming
Some LED televisions employ local dimming, which means either individual LEDs or group of LEDs can be dimmed or brightened independent of one another. Most commonly, local dimming is found in LED televisions with full-array LED backlighting. This configuration offers significant improvement over other LCD TVs when it comes to black levels and uniformity.
There are also edge-lit LED televisions that use a type of local dimming sometimes referred to as "micro dimming." Since light diffusers and light guides are used to vary the light output in these models, the result is less precise than what is found in full-LED-backlit LCD televisions with local dimming.
Advantages of LED TVs
LED-backlit LCD televisions have several advantages when compared to traditional CCFL-backlit LCD models, and even a few advantages over plasma televisions. One real advantage is that LED TVs use somewhat less power than CCFL-backlit LCD televisions, and significantly less power than plasma sets. Many consumers are more comfortable with them as they do not use any mercury in the lighting system, as do some other types of LCD televisions. LED backlighting results in screen thickness, meaning LED televisions weigh less and take up less space. They are, therefore, easier to mount on walls or hang from ceilings. It should also be noted that although many LED televisions use white backlights, those that use RGB-colored LED backlights display more realistic colors than CCFL-backlit LCD models. LED TV models with local dimming offer the most advantages, as this feature produces wider viewing angles, more contrast in black levels, and increased depth in the picture. LED lights typically have very long lives, and they do not have the same tendency as CCFL-backlit LCD TVs to develop white-balance color changes as they age.
Disadvantages of LED TVs
Though LED-backlit LCD televisions have many advantages over their CCFL counterparts, some disadvantages should also be noted. Consumers may feel more limited when it comes to size options with LED-backlit LCD televisions. Typically, they are not manufactured in as wide a size range as traditional CCFL LCD TVs. LED technology is also more expensive than CCFL, which means a higher cost for the consumer. Some consumers may not feel the increased price for an LED LCD television is worth the increase in picture quality, as it is less than significant in many models. Uniformity of picture suffers with the thinner screens found on LED-backlit televisions, and off-angle viewing is not very good, although LED-backlit LCD models with local dimming do give a much better picture. However, models with local dimming consume more power than models without it. In some instances, models with local dimming consume as much energy as power-hungry plasma televisions.
What to Look for in an LED TV
There are a few other considerations that need to be taken into account when shopping for an LED television. Consumers need to consider what size of screen is best for the room in which the TV will be used. Also, it is important to pay attention to a few key features, such as resolution and inputs, when selecting a model.
Size should be one of the first considerations when purchasing a new television. The recommended viewing distance is about 1.5 to 2 times the screen size, which is measured in inches. The overall size of the room should be taken into account when selecting screen size, as it is easy for a large television to dominate a small room. Most consumers feel 36-inch screens are well suited to bedrooms and prefer 40-inch or larger screens in living areas.
One important feature when shopping for a new television is screen resolution. Resolution is measured by lines of detail, designated by a number, and labeled as either interlaced or progressive scan, marked by either the lowercase letter "i" or "p." Most televisions currently available come in either 720p or 1080i resolution, and the majority of consumers are satisfied with the quality of the picture on 720p televisions. Although 1080i supports more detail, 720p sets generally give sharper results on fast-moving action. These differences become more noticeable as screen size increases.
Modern televisions come equipped with a variety of inputs, including HDMI, RFI coaxial, S-video, RGB, and VGA monitor. Rarely will the average owner use all of them, but as the number and type of these inputs varies dramatically from one television to the next, it is important to make sure there are at least enough inputs to connect peripherals, such as a cable box, gaming console, DVD player, and computer monitor, if desired.
Buying an LED TV on eBay
LED televisions can be found in department stores, discount stores, and electronics shops, as well as in online marketplaces. For a vast selection and competitive prices, consumers should consider shopping for a new LED television on eBay.
With a particular LED TV in mind, simply find the TV , Audio , & Surveillance link under the Electronics heading on the eBay homepage. From there, choose Televisions from the navigation column, and then select LED LCD from the categories section. Other category filters, such as those for screen size, brand, and features, allow results to be narrowed down even more.
In addition to these category filters, you can also search eBay listings by keyword. For example, if you are looking for a refurbished LED TV, simply type "refurbished LED" (without quotations) into the search field. Be sure to visit eBay ’ s Search Tips Page to learn more about using the site’s search functions. Try shopping eBay Stores if a search does not return the item for which you are looking.
There was a time when the only choices to make when it came to buying a television were what size was needed and whether the TV would be a color set or black-and-white. In the day and age of digital, high-definition televisions, there are numerous options available. Consumers need to be familiar with the terminology used regarding LCD and LED televisions in order to make the best-possible choice when selecting a new television. Knowing the pros and cons to back-lit versus edge-lit LCD TVs and understanding the benefits of local dimming will help shoppers choose from among the many televisions available to find one to suit their particular needs. An understanding of the various features available on LED and other televisions will also ease the decision-making process when it comes to shopping for an LCD television. Once these decisions are made, it is simply a matter of finding a television within the determined budget, and picking out any accessories, such as cables and mounts, that may be necessary for optimum enjoyment.