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LED vs LCD - What's the difference?

When it comes to choosing a display for your next TV, monitor, or other screen-based device, understanding the differences between LED and LCD technologies is helpful. Both display types have unique advantages and are suited to different needs and preferences.

At Asurion, we help demystify tech, whether you want to know what iCloud is or the difference between Unknown Caller and No Caller ID. Here’s our guide to LED vs. LCD so you can make an informed decision for your next purchase.

What is LCD technology?

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology has been a staple in screen devices for decades. It uses liquid crystals to manipulate light and produce images. These crystals don’t emit light by themselves—instead, they use a backlight or reflector to produce images in color or black and white. LCD screens are known for their energy efficiency, especially compared to older technologies, like CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) displays.

What is LED technology?

Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, on the other hand, is a newer advancement in the world of displays. LED screens are essentially a type of LCD display but with a key difference: They use LED lights instead of the fluorescent lights traditionally used in LCDs. The different light source not only improves energy efficiency but also enhances picture quality. LED technology can be further divided into two categories: edge-lit LED, where LEDs are placed around the perimeter of the entire screen, and direct-lit LED, where LEDs are placed directly behind the screen.

Key differences between LED and LCD

Energy efficiency

One of the main advantages of LED technology over traditional LCD screens is its energy efficiency. LED backlights consume less power, making them a more environmentally—and financially—friendly option.

Image quality

LED monitors generally provide better picture quality than LCDs. This is because LEDs can produce deeper black levels and higher contrast ratios. Direct-lit LED TVs, in particular, offer superior brightness and color accuracy compared to their edge-lit counterparts and traditional LCDs.

Thickness and design

When it comes to design, LED displays can be significantly thinner than traditional LCD screens. This sleek design allows for more attractive and space-saving options, ideal for modern home decor. Edge-lit LED technology, in particular, enables the production of ultra-thin screens.

Price comparison

Generally, LED TVs are more expensive than LCD TVs, mainly due to the advanced technology and enhanced picture quality they offer. However, the price gap has narrowed over the years, making LED TVs more accessible to a broader audience.


Both LED and LCD screens have relatively long lifespans, but LEDs typically last longer due to their efficient use of light-emitting diodes.

Which should you choose?

The choice between LED and LCD depends on your specific needs and preferences. If energy efficiency, superior picture quality, and a sleek design are your top priorities—and you don’t mind spending a bit extra—then LED is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option for general use, an LCD might suffice.

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