Best TV Backlight Types: The Full List and Which One is Best For You

© / Robert Daly

Walking via your native electronics retailer, you wouldn’t be incorrect for pondering that the tv part is getting a bit of overwhelming, to say the least. So many alternative manufacturers, so many alternative sizes, and — most complicated of all — so many differing kinds. QLED, LCD, Plasma, LED, OLED, however what does all of it imply? Cutting via all of the totally different sizes and manufacturers, what are the perfect TV backlight sorts general? Is there a transparent winner? And how will you inform the distinction? Let’s break down the total record of TV backlight sorts under with the intention to decide which one is in the end the perfect for you.
LCD TV Backlight Technology Explained
When you see the phrase “backlight” in reference to a tv, it’s overwhelmingly doubtless that the TV is an LCD. This stands for liquid crystal show, and it has been the usual in tv show expertise for the reason that phasing out of the CRT (or cathode ray tube) tv and plasma display tv tech of yesteryear. LCDs had been first found by Austrian chemist and botanist Friedrich Reinitzer again in 1888 — lengthy earlier than tv was even a factor, not to mention a factor in everybody’s home. By observing the character of the ldl cholesterol extracted from carrots, he was capable of discern a sure liquid crystalline formation.
From there, Reinitzer revealed his scientific findings, and then nothing for one more 16 years. In 1904, German physicist Otto Lehmann furthered Reinitzer’s analysis by fathering what he referred to as “liquid crystals.” It wasn’t till 1911, when French crystallographer and mineralogist Charles Mauguin positioned liquid crystals between skinny, clear plates, that modern-day LCD expertise was foreshadowed. About 50 years later, American engineer George H. Heilmeier took what was recognized about liquid crystals and their habits between clear plates and did the unthinkable: added electrical energy.
This outstanding idea successfully birthed the modern-day LCD show. Various establishments and laboratories continued to experiment with Heilmeier’s invention for the following a number of a long time. The Seventies noticed the panels being patented, a lot of that are nonetheless utilized in LCD TVs at this time. By the late 2000s, LCD TVs had formally outnumbered present CRT TVs in worldwide gross sales. Today, LCDs proceed to be the preferred type of tv expertise — greater than 130 years after Friedrich Reinitzer’s first discovery in 1888. However, behind each LCD panel is one thing simply as essential: a backlight.
There is a backlight behind the LCD panel, in addition to some LED panels, in trendy televisions.© Constantin
TV Backlight Types
These days, these are the first TV backlight sorts you’re more likely to encounter within the wild. We’ll dive deeper into each down under, however for now, listed below are the first sorts and their variants.

Other Backlight Types
Whether they be uncommon, costly, or simply plain outdated, these are another TV backlight sorts we gained’t spend a lot time on, merely due to their relative obscurity from at this time’s perspective.
Electroluminescent panels (ELP)Cold and scorching cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs, HCFLs)External electrode fluorescent lamps (EEFLs)Incandescent lightbulbs
Best TV Backlight Types
Now that we’ve got a greater thought of the historical past of LCD TV expertise, let’s look past the show panel to get on the coronary heart of the difficulty: What’s the easiest way to mild up considered one of these panels within the first place? LCD TVs wouldn’t have the ability to show a factor if not for the backlight lighting up the display behind them. So, what are the perfect TV backlight sorts? Let’s check out the total record of backlights used at this time and resolve which is the perfect from there. 
Edge Lit
With an edge-lit LCD, you’re going to have a backlight that consists of rows of LEDs across the high and backside or left and proper sides of the tv. Some edge-lit LCDs put LEDs across the total perimeter of the LCD. However, these are much less widespread, and dearer, than those that solely put them on two of the 4 sides. Edge-lit LCDs depend on diffusers manufactured from semi-transparent plastic to undertaking the sunshine throughout all the size of the LCD show. (Sort of like a magnifying glass, in a means.) All in all, this is one of many least expensive TV backlight sorts.
Dual LED
Some tv producers present their very own little spin on edge-lit LCDs with one thing dubbed twin LED. First created by Samsung, twin LED backlights use alternating blue and yellow LEDs of their edge lighting. This differs out of your customary edge-lit LCDs, which depend on one single shade LED. (Typically white.) This Dual LED LCD expertise creates cooler darks and hotter brights, leading to a bit of bit extra lifelike colours than plain white LEDs can present. At the tip of the day, the 2 are kind of the identical backlight sort. The Samsung QLED 4K UHD Q70A Series Dual LED Quantum HDR Smart TV has twin LED backlights.

Optimal Picture Quality

We earn a fee in case you make a purchase order, at no further value to you.

Direct Lit LED
If edge-lit LCDs and twin LED LCDs are merely the define, then direct lit LED backlights are the total image. Instead of limiting the strip of LEDs to a portion (or all) of the perimeter, direct lit backlights make the most of strip after strip of LEDs to cowl all the floor behind the panel. This delivers full and complete protection on the again of the tv, leading to a lot brighter, far more thorough, a lot much less shadowy backlighting. It’s brighter, undoubtedly, however brighter is not all the time higher. For darker scenes, this may elevate black ranges to just about grey. It additionally hinders true excessive dynamic vary (HDR).
Full Array
When you consider it, direct lit LCDs walked so full array LCDs may run. Instead of utilizing row after row of white LEDs to mild the LCD, full array backlights cut up the again of the tv into sections or zones. Each zone could be brightened or darkened, free and unbiased from the opposite zones. There are nonetheless rows upon rows of LEDs behind the LCD panel, however there’s considerably extra management over the brightness or darkness of stated LEDs with a full array backlight. As a end result, full array LED backlights are superior to direct lit ones. Proof sufficient? These TV backlight sorts ship superior HDR over direct lit. The Sony 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series: BRAVIA XR Full Array LED TV has full array LED backlights.

Best for Picture Quality

Sony 65 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series

Enhanced by XR Contrast Booster 10Cognitive Processor XR understands how people seeExclusive options for the PlayStation 5High-performance gaming with HDMI 2.1 options

We earn a fee in case you make a purchase order, at no further value to you.

Hopefully you’re not uninterested in listening to about direct lit TV backlight sorts, as a result of we’ve got yet another for you: Mini-LED LCD TVs. No, that’s not a bunch of gibberish: it’s the perfect full array sort within the trade at this time. Think concerning the LED-covered backlight of a full array show. Now shrink these LEDs till they’re 1/fifth their authentic dimension. This is what a mini-LED backlight brings to the desk: extra LEDs per sq. inch, and, because of this, extra sections or zones to suit on the backlight. The elevated variety of zones means an elevated excessive dynamic shade vary and superior brightness and dimming. One instance of a TV with mini-LED backlights is the LG 65QNED99UPA QNED MiniLED 99 Series 8K UHD NanoCell TV

We earn a fee in case you make a purchase order, at no further value to you.

Even with a mini-LED LCD TV, you’re nonetheless going to come across among the similar issues as all the opposite LED TV backlight sorts. Why? Because some flaws are merely inherent to LED LCD expertise as an entire. It has nothing to do with sure backlight sorts and every thing to do with backlights normally. Sure, a mini-LED backlight will look significantly better than an edge lit LED backlight. However, all will pale compared to the superior image high quality of an OLED display. The purpose? OLED TVs don’t have any backlight by any means. That’s proper: An LED TV with out the necessity for a backlight.
OLED televisions don’t have a backlight in any respect. ©Grzegorz Czapski/
OLED — or natural LED — is the abbreviation used to explain the phenomenon of electrically charged, electro-luminescent compounds positioned between two electrodes. When put involved with electrical energy between the 2 electrodes — considered one of which is often the clear layer — the OLEDs mild up with out the necessity for a backlight. Whether they be tiny molecules or minuscule polymers, OLED TV shows can mild up particular person pixels whereas leaving others utterly darkish. Who wants a backlight and its inherent issues with shadows, blacks, and brights when you’ll be able to have a backlight-free OLED show?
Though the expertise has been round for many years, it’s simply now starting to see implementation throughout the sphere of shopper electronics. (This, in fact, contains televisions.) OLED ensures superior efficiency in low mild, a lot greater distinction ratios, and way more lifelike colours than your conventional LED-backlit LCD. Best of all? OLED shows are nonetheless the identical fundamental sort of show as an LCD — they only don’t want the backlight. You can spend all day evaluating and contrasting TV backlight sorts, however OLED is all the time going to be the perfect of the bunch.
Best TV Backlight Types: Who Wins?
So, now that we’ve gone over all the perfect TV backlight sorts and mentioned those you’re almost certainly to come across on the electronics retailer, which sort is in the end the perfect? Excluding OLED, in fact, which we already know is greatest. However, we additionally admit it won’t really qualify as one of many TV backlight sorts. When all is stated and finished, the award goes to mini-LED backlights. When coupled with an LCD show, mini-LED backlights deliver the perfect colours, the perfect HDR, and the perfect general efficiency of the bunch. If you must go together with a backlit tv, go together with mini-LED each time.

Best TV Backlight Types: The Full List and Which One is Best For You FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What’s the distinction between an LED and an LCD?While the 2 are sometimes considered separate applied sciences, the reality is that LEDs and LCDs go hand in hand with televisions. In different phrases, LEDs are inclined to function the backlights for LCD televisions.
Is OLED the identical as QLED?QLED is merely an LCD tv with a layer of Samsung’s signature Quantum Dot expertise added onto it. An OLED TV, however, is a completely separate factor. It’s an natural LED tv that is electroluminescent with out the necessity for a backlight.
Why does my LCD TV look shadowy?Depending in your backlight and panel sort, some extra reasonably priced televisions can fall sufferer to splotches and shadows on the display. This is a results of defective backlights or panels. Check your guarantee to see in case your tv is eligible for a substitute.
How can I inform what sort of backlight my TV makes use of?There’s not a simple strategy to inform what sort of backlight your tv is utilizing. Some can inform simply by trying on the image high quality, however this takes an expertly skilled eye. Your greatest wager is to go looking the web (or your guide) for the reply.
What’s the perfect sort of TV available on the market at this time?Experts and customers alike appear to be in settlement: the perfect TV sort available on the market at this time is OLED.

Recommended For You