LED monitors and televisions are beginning to become cheaper and more budget-friendly. They typically promote much higher contrast ratios and lower power use than traditionally lit LCD screens, but they may not be the best option for video editors. Why is that? What is the difference between LCD and LED screens?
The difference between the two technologies actually lies in the way the screen is backlit. All LED screens are LCDs, but not all LCDs utilize LED technology. With an LED-based monitor, backlighting is spread across a grid of tiny lights (LEDs) that is spread from one side of the screen to the other. Unlike the fluorescent lighting behind a common LCD screen, LEDs cover the entire space in order to provide even lighting from end to end. The extra contrast comes from the ability the monitor has to detect areas that are intentionally darker and dim or turn off the tiny LED light directly behind the dark points. This creates what’s called a dynamic contrast which can create much darker blacks as the screen is essentially off in areas that are intentionally dark. This can become a problem in cases where you have a starry night sky and tiny white points of light need to be lit brightly while the surrounding mass is pitch black. Because of this, the stars may appear dimmer than they normally would as the tiny light is dimmed to compensate for the majority of the space being black.
Chris Pirillo is the founder of the tech blogging network, Lockergnome and previously served as host of TechTV’s Call for Help show. Chris’s insightful and entertaining how to videos will now be featured in the PC Pitstop newsletters and highlighted at techtalk.pcpitstop.com and pcpitstop.com.