While liquid crystal display, or LCD, and light-emitting diode, or LED, have similar names, they are two distinct types of technology. LCD controls the image display, while LED controls how the image is lit.
LCD in Brief
LCD consists of a thin liquid-crystal gel between two glass panels. Separated into pixels by a grid of wires, each pixel shifts 90 degrees to face one panel or the other. Which panel the pixel faces determines if light goes through and thus manipulates how the image appears.
Traditional LCDs light the display with a fluorescent lamp, while LED screens use hundreds or thousands of the light diodes of its namesake, one per each pixel.
LCD and LED technology combined provides a high quality HDTV viewing experience. LED-backlit LCD televisions combine by using the LCD display technology lit by the diodes used in LED televisions.
LED-lit LCD televisions uniformly outperform their standard LCD competitors. PC World's editors note that LCD-LED televisions provide higher quality imaging levels, offering the brightest whites and darkest blacks.
LCDs that use traditional fluorescent lighting are bulkier than those that use LED lighting. In some cases, the traditional LCD is three times as thick as the LED-lit LCD television.