When researching display technologies, you may come across liquid-crystal display (LCD) and light-emitting diode (LED). From computer monitors and TVs to mobile handsets and smart appliances, they are used to power countless display devices. Because of their similar features, though, many people assume that LCDs are the same as LEDs.

The Basics of LCDs

LCDs are electronic displays that feature liquid pixels. All LCDs contain a layer of organic, liquid pixels. Known as a pixel layer, it’s aligned between two electrodes and polarizing filers. The electrodes are typically made of indium-tin oxide (ITO). The polarizing filters, on the other hand, are made of polarizing material that’s able to control the passage of light.

LCDs are available with cold-compact fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting and LED backlighting. In the past, CCFL backlighting was the most common. You can still find LCDs with CCFL backlighting, but many of them now have LED backlighting.

The Basics of LED Displays

LED displays are electronic displays that feature LED backlighting. LED backlighting is designed to illuminate the pixels. All electronic displays have pixels — including LED displays. The pixels in an LED display are illuminated via LED backlighting.

LED backlighting may consist of edge-lit or direct-lit LEDs. Edge-lit LEDs are placed along the perimeter of the screen. Direct-lit LEDs, on the other hand, are placed directly behind the screen. Edge-lit is more efficient than its direct-lit counterpart. With that said, direct-led offers greater brightness and consistency.

In Conclusion

LCDs and LED displays aren’t necessarily the same. By definition, an LCD is any type of electronic display that features liquid pixels in a pixel layer. LCDs are available with different backlighting. Some of them use CCFL backlighting, whereas other LCDs use LED backlighting.

LED displays are electronic displays that exclusively use LED backlighting. Some LCDs can be classified as LED displays. If an LCD uses LED backlighting, it’s considered an LED display. If an LCD uses CCFL backlighting, conversely, it’s not an LED display.

LED displays are defined by their use of LED backlighting. They don’t use CCFL backlighting. For an electronic display to be classified as an LED display, it must use LED backlighting.

It’s important to note that there are also organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) available as well. OLEDs are electronic displays that feature electroluminescent LED pixels. The pixels within OLEDs are LEDs. And with their electroluminescent properties, they will produce their own illumination.