Ranking Display Technologies: LCD vs. LED

August 26, 2021
Kelly Briggs
Ranking Display Technologies: LCD vs. LED

With the increased technological advancements in the digital world, consumers have a wide range of screens to choose from. When considering what screen to use for a digital display, many companies or venues will be presented with a choice: LCD or LED?

While the two options may seem distinct, in reality, you’re faced with more of a rectangle versus squares situation. As in, all LED screens utilize LCD technology. But, not all LCDs use LED lighting.

Essentially, LCDs describe the screen’s technology and structure. LEDs describe how a structure is lit. Therefore: LEDs are just a type of LCD screen.

Let’s break that down a little further.

What is LCD?

LCD stands for liquid crystal display. This is in reference to the screen structure--which is made up of two pieces of polarized glass with a layer of liquid crystals in between.  

Behind these screens is a light source that creates the visual display when turned on. Some LCD displays use cold cathode fluorescent lamps, or CCFLs, as the source of lighting. Others will use light-emitting diodes, most commonly known as LEDs.

LCD is one of the most prolific screen technologies out there, and has been in use since the 1970s for digital watches. As time goes on, more and more LCDs are using LEDs as their light source--and are in turn referred to as LEDs in popular culture.

What is LED?

What exactly is LED, then? LED stands for light-emitting diode. Describing a device as
“LED” simply means it is being lit through the use of these diodes.  

LED technology can be found anywhere from your home’s remote control to the screens at your local drive-in. It’s favored in a variety of settings, large and small, due to its versatility and sustainability.  

LCD vs. LED: What’s the Difference?

Let’s recap: If an LCD screen uses LED technology, it is referred to as an LED. However, LCD screens can be backed by different lighting technologies, such as CCFLs. So, when the term LCD is used, it is referring to an LCD screen that uses non-LED lighting, such as CCFLs.  

Using the example of a television screen, we can see that an LED TV will have a screen lit through the use of light-emitting diodes. These diodes are located either behind the display screen or at the edges.  

If a TV is classified as LCD, this probably means that the type of light used in the system are fluorescents. Additionally, the lights will always be placed behind the screen (never at the edges).

Is LCD or LED Better?

There are many differences between LED and typical LCD lighting technology that could influence your purchase. For example:

• LEDs have a higher up-front cost than traditional LCDs.

• LEDs require less energy to operate, which leads to lower costs in the long-run.

• LED lights can be positioned either behind or on the edges of the screens, which impact the picture and lighting quality. Traditional CCFLs can only be placed behind the screen, making for bulkier equipment.

LCD and LED Display Technologies

In the case of digital display signs, the type of technology you choose will depend on the context of your display.  

For example, for outdoor digital displays, LED screens make the most sense. LED displays are far brighter and can be used even in direct sunlight--keeping signage visible at all hours.

LCD displays may offer a more affordable, short-term option for consumers. Additionally, multiple LCD screens can be combined to make larger display walls.

ANC offers portable LED solutions and a range of source, supply and integration projects that include:

• LED, OLED, LCD, 3D projection systems

• LED video screens, LED video walls

• LCD video screens, LCD video walls

When it comes to the question of LCD vs. LED, our experts are here to help you decide which digital display solution is the best for you.  


ANC offers a full range of LED and LCD display technologies, built to fit your unique needs and display design. Explore our selection here, or contact us for more information. We’d love to be a part of your next project!

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