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What type of LCD lighting technology are you going to have with your next LED HDTV?

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#1 of 4

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Posted February 26 2012 - 08:30 AM

When LCD screens first came on the market, they were dominated by CCFL (cold-cathode vacuum tube) for their lighting technology.  One of the biggest problems with CCFL technology on LCD screens was contrast ratio, which invariably was poor due to the fact that the CCFL could not dim or turn on / off rapidly.  Plasma screens, particularly the Kuro's from Pioneeer, didn't have this problem and had incredible contrast ratio / black levels.  The difference could easily be seen when an all black scene was being scene with CCFL LCD's being gray.

This all changed with LED (light-emitting diode) LCD panels came to market.  The first ones allowed for an all black scene to be truly black.  Then LCD's with LED and zones came on the market back in 2009 and HTF reviewed some of those early units.  However, consumers wanted thin and ultra thin LCD displays and the manufacturers were all too happy to accommodate that by moving to edge lit LED screens.  However, this, again, sacrificed on having true blacks.  At CEDIA last year Sharp came out with the Elite LCD screen with zone based LED lighting.  However, the Sharp is doing this via zones and not edge lighting, thus the reason the unit isn't "thin".  HTF should be getting a review Sharp Elite unit this week!

What this is getting down to is where LED and CCFL are in terms of awareness and what is being purchased.  I had thought that LED technology was already dominating the field, but a recent report by IHS iSuppli indicates that consumers who "planned" to buy and LED backlit LCD HDTV increased to 54% in Q4/2011, an increase of 32% increase from Q3/2011.  Market share of CCFL HDTV's dropped from 56% to 25% in the same time period.

I'm actually surprised by the fact that the general consumer new if their HDTV was CCFL or LED and that consumers were educated enough to know what the differences in the lighting technology actually meant to them.  Personally, I would have thought the increase simply came from the cost points of thin LCD panels coming down would be the main reason vs technical reasons.

Another interesting tidbit is that Samsung, the worlds largest LCD panel maker, is spinning their business off into a new company called Samsung Display Co.  Apparently the LCD panel business has not been profitable for Samsung and they are focusing their energy now on the more profitable OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display market.

So, the questions are:

1) Do you know what backlight technology you have in your LCD HDTV today?

2) Would you replace your existing LCD HDTV for LED/OLED technology for the improved black levels/contrast ratio?

3) Would you just forget LCD and go to plasma?

4) If you are going to buy a new LCD HDTV in the near future, would you base your decision on if it is LED vs CCFL?

5) Do you even care? :)

#2 of 4 Ed Moxley

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Posted February 27 2012 - 12:51 AM

I have no interest in LCD/LED, and especially not plasma. My next tv, which hopefully is several years away, will probably be a LaserVu, unless OLED comes in big sizes fairly cheap, and without glossy screens. I hate the glossy screens of most tvs today. We had to live with them my whole life, with the CRT tvs, but now that we have a choice, I choose to not have a glossy screen. A forum friend, from another forum, was in my area awhile back (early last fall), and was blown away by the black levels and off axis viewing of my DLP tv. He said the black levels looked as good as any he'd ever seen, on any kind of tv, including plasmas. But, mine is one of the last Samsung LED DLPs. That may be the difference. The LaserVu is a bit pricey, but by the time I need one, maybe the price will be down to affordable.
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#3 of 4 Edwin-S



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Posted February 27 2012 - 04:42 AM

I went with number 3 on your list; however, if I had gone with number 4 I would have went with the LED technology......... just as soon as OLED sets actually became affordable to ordinary people and not the uber wealthy.
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#4 of 4 John Garcia

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Posted February 27 2012 - 04:49 AM

I currently own a LED backlit LCD. I already based that purchase based on LED vs FL backlighting. OLED won't be a factor for a few years yet. They are just starting up the mass production factories, so prices won't drop too fast for the size I am interested in, but if it develops and pricing comes down to the LCD/LED range, OLED will probably be my next display type. No plasma.
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