Saturday, 22 October 2022 11:41

LCD vs LED - what is the difference?

LCD vs LED LCD vs LED pixabay

With the rapid growth of technology, it should come as no surprise that some people confuse the most common terms.

One of the most mistaken pairs is the LCD vs LED. Let’s learn more about both of these display technologies and their main uses.

What is an LCD display?

Let’s start with LCD, which is perceived as the earliest and cheapest display technology, still seen today in calculators, digital clocks, printers, medical devices, microwaves, basic watches, utility meters, etc. LCD is short for Liquid Crystal Display and is a type of flat panel display technology that uses liquid crystals and polarizer the light to produce images. The LCD technology is also known as Passive Matrix LCDs and mostly consists of monochrome displays. 

Today, when we talk about LCDs often seen in TVs, computer monitors, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, we actually mean TFT LCD displays, which are types of active-matrix LCDs. This combination provides high quality images, good view angles, and excellent contrast. LCD screens can’t produce light themselves, so they have a backlight that emits a light source to each pixel in a grid. On top of that, every pixel is equipped with an RGB subpixel. Its Red, Green and Blue can be adjusted to create a wide range of color combinations. TFT LCD technology comes with many benefits as it offers thin and light devices with low power consumption. It’s often used in laptops, smartphones, tablets, and TVs. Of course, it also has some drawbacks, and in order to combat those shortcomings, other technologies such as OLED and AMOLED came onto the scene.

What is LED technology?

Another popular technology, often confused with LCD, is LED, also known as Light Emitting Diode. The main difference between LCD vs LED is the fact that LCDs can’t produce their own light and rely on the presence of backlights. On the other hand, LEDs can be used as backlights, and not long ago, there were actually one of the three most popular LCD backlights, along with CCFL (Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) and EL (Electroluminescent). Currently, LED backlights are the most sought-after backlight types, thanks to the quick progress of this technology. 

Of course, technology moved along, and nowadays, we have on the market more LEDs options, such as OLED and AMOLED. OLEDs are part of emissive display technology often used in high-end applications. They don’t need a backlight, and their light is created when the current is applied. They’re known for high contrast, flexibility, great viewing angles, and high quality images. AMOLED displays are another new technology that emerged on the market around 2007. They’re driven by a TFT (Thin Film Transistor) that has a storage capacitor focused on maintaining the line pixel states. AMOLEDs can be used in various sizes and resolutions. It’s worth mentioning they’re more costly to produce, so we see them most often in high end consumer products, including TVs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras.