LED vs CCFL Backlights

LED vs CCFL Backlights

Wait, before we tell you what a CCFL or LED backlight is, you may want to know what exactly is a backlight, or for that matter, what is an LCD?

LCD Stands For… (drum roll, please)

Liquid Crystal Display which is an electronically visual way to display an image using light modulating properties of liquid crystals (LC’s). Basically, there is a thin panel filled with LCs that display a video or still picture (graphic) image electronically. As cool as this sounds, the LCs do not emit light directly (they don’t have a natural light source) so you can’t really see what the LCs are showing very well. To create an LCD panel, a backlight is added to provide a light source for the LCs, and it is this illumination that ‘adds’ light to the LCD to produce a visual image. The backlight illumination can come from behind the LCs, which is called Direct lighting or from the side which is called Edge lighting. Direct lit illumination provides more brightness but it increases the depth of the TV/monitor and it is more expensive. Edge lit backlighting is effective at lighting the LCs at a lower cost, and takes less depth so the LCD monitor looks more sleek.

Two Types of Backlights

There are two types of backlights:
1. CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) which was the first type of LCD backlight and it is quickly being replaced by the 2nd type of backlight because it is simply better.
2. LED (light-emitting diodes) is the newer type of LCD backlight which has become predominantly the primary LCD backlight source in LCD monitors today. LED backlights are better than CCFL as they are brighter, they take less energy, and LEDs last longer. Why wouldn’t one use an LED backlight? No reason.

What’s In The Future?

Since LCD-type technology for monitors and TVs appears to be never-ending like it is for all technology, you may have started noticing more options in the market for (AM)OLED and QLED (Quantum dot) monitors. We will cover this new technology in another post.