How to Compare LED & LCD TVs

Light-emitting diode and liquid crystal display are complementary technologies for high-definition televisions. The key is to know how the image is lit as this creates important differences when watching television in your home.

LCD and LED work together to create a high-quality image.


LCD televisions create images by applying electricity to liquid crystal between two glass plates. The image is lit using one of two methods. Lighting with fluorescent lights is called standard or traditional LCD. Lighting using LEDs is called LED-backlit LCD, LED-LCD or just LED TV.


LED back-lit LCD TVs offer the highest quality picture, according to The picture quality outranks standard LCD TVs or plasma televisions.


While "back-lit" is a general term, some LED-LCD TVs are side-lit. These TVs offer the slimmest profile, but sacrifice some quality in the image.


LED-LCD TVs are available at a premium price. Standard LCD TVs are the next most expensive, and plasma TVs are the cheapest option.


In a June 2011 article, the editors of declared that plasma was no longer the leading technology. They chose an LED-LCD TV as their first choice, though note its expense. However, with the rapid change in technology occurring, they suggest that price decreases are extremely likely.