LED vs LCD - Which display technology should you be using?

As technology evolves, more and more companies are turning to digital displays to help advance their business. These displays can be used to great effect to communicate, entertain, showcase products and advertise services, making them a versatile business solution - but getting started in the world of audio-visual technology can be a confusing place to be.

With a wealth of different technologies available it’s hard to know what the right choice for you might be. And, without a background knowledge of visual technology, it can all feel a little overwhelming.

The biggest question is whether the underlying technology, LCD or LED, is right for you. And we can help you make the right choice for your display.

What does ‘LED’ or ‘LCD’ even mean?

Not to confuse matters even further, but LED displays, technically speaking, are LCD displays. LCD stands for ‘Liquid Crystal Display’ which is used to describe the technology in your display - essentially it’s a series of tiny lights at the back of the screen which produce the images we see.

The difference is, LED screens use Light Emitting Diodes instead of fluorescent lamps (called cold cathode fluorescent lamps - ‘CCFL’ for short) to create these images. Whilst similar in the way they work, there’s a vast difference in quality between these two different technologies.

Picture Quality

Likely to be one of your biggest considerations when picking a display solution (aside from the obvious, like…cost), the picture quality between the two does vary and LED displays have the edge here.

Your picture quality is reliant on what’s called the ‘pixel pitch’. This is the distance between each individual lamp in your screen; the closer these lamps are together, the better the picture quality. As LEDs are smaller than the bulbs used in LCD displays, more lamps can be included in a single panel - which in turn means you’ll have a better picture quality.

LED displays can also be built to any size and have higher brightness displays - combine this with their full-array LED backlighting and you have significantly higher contrast levels, deeper blacks, better colour accuracy and an all-round better viewing experience.


Again, it’s LED that comes out on top in terms of size. The light-emitting diodes are much smaller that the bulbs used in an LCD display and are also placed at the edges (instead of at the back) of the display, which results in a much thinner screen.

This allows for a more ‘modular’ design, which means LED screens can be installed in places that LCDs can’t - with a higher range of flexibility you’re less constrained by the size, shape or structure of your installation site.

Energy Efficiency

It’s LED coming in on top once again here - the diodes are widely accepted to use less energy than the bulbs found in an LCD (which commonly consume more energy than CRT and plasma displays).

A 32” LED display uses, on average, 10 watts less power than a similar sized LCD with the difference in consumption rising as the size of the display increases.


This is the one area that LCDs have LEDs beat - they’re cheaper. If you’re working on a smaller budget, then this is definitely a factor worth considering, as you can normally find a much larger LCD display for less money than LED.

It is worth noting though that LED displays tend to last longer (10 years as standard) and require less maintenance; with a modular design, panels can be replaced rather than whole units. Combined with the lower energy consumption, it might work out cheaper in the long run to take the higher initial cost (depending on the length of time you’re planning to use your display).


As you’ve probably gathered by this point, LED displays tend to be a better visual solution in most situations than LCDs. It’s a newer technology that offers you a better picture quality and lower energy consumption with a thinner, more versatile design.

That’s not to say that an LCD display would grab the attention of your customers and can still serve as a great display solution if you’re working to a tight budget, but bear in mind the length of time you’ll be using your display and the ongoing costs to run it.

If you’re currently looking for a display solution, we’d love to help, just drop us an email at info@knowledge.uk.com and we’ll help find the right solution for you.

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