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If you’re debating Full Array LED TV vs Edge LED TV, you should know that most flat screen TVs available today use Edge Lit LEDs to light the images they display. While this design works well and can even offer next-generation fidelity, Full Array LED TVs offer superior image richness, depth, and detail but are less common.
The differences between the two technologies include availability, cost, and value for money, in addition to performance, so you’ll want to understand the two options as much as possible in order to find the best TV for your needs. While you’re at it, you may want to look further into other TV types and technologies available, such as flat screen vs curved TVs.
Edge Lit LED TVs light an image by using LEDs around the edge of the TV that faces the screen’s center, whereas Full Array uses many LEDs placed behind the TV across the entire screen, allowing for pinpoint precision in dimming. Beyond the improved dimming of Full Array models, there are factors of cost and a few other aspects you need to understand.
Full Array LED TVs offer significant boosts in image richness, color depth, and vibrance, mostly due to greatly improved contrast.
Full Array televisions offer greater precision in dimming than Edge-Lit LED models, which are only capable of dimming large areas of the screen at one time. This has a huge effect on image fidelity, allowing Full Array models to display far richer, more detailed images than Edge-Lit models, regardless of display resolution. Additionally, if you value clear, crisp images above other features, check out this comparison of two Samsung display technologies in Dynamic Crystal Color vs PurColor. Alternatively, you can learn more about the benefits of HDR vs non-HDR TVs as well.
Improved dimming precision and the enhanced image fidelity it allows come at a cost. Full Array models are generally several hundred dollars more expensive than equivalent Edge Lit models. Moreover, there are no real budget or entry-level Full Array models available on the market as of now, making the technology out of reach for some.
Besides their significantly increased price point, Full Array models aren’t as widely available as Edge Lit models, and there isn’t the same range of price points, either. This means if you do have the budget for a Full Array model, you still are going to have to do some looking to find the right one. By contrast, the majority of flat screen models on the market are still Edge LED.
It wasn’t too long ago that CRT TVs dominated the sales of TVs as LCD models were too expensive for the average person. Now LCD and LED TVs are widely available, and CRTs are no longer manufactured. You can read about their differences in our article comparing LED vs LCD TVs. Alternatively, you can check out this article on the power consumption of LED TVs vs CRT if you are curious about how energy efficiency has advanced with newer TVs.
Full Array LED TVs may not justify their increased cost for some consumers, especially since the much more common Edge Lit design can offer next-gen fidelity as well through methods other than backlighting.
Are LED and LCD the same thing?
It’s a common question, but no, an LED (Light-Emitting Diode) display is a kind of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) display. LCD is the umbrella term for basic display technology, which includes LED displays.
What is local dimming, and why does it exist?
Local dimming is a feature of most TVs that improves contrast by analyzing the contents of an image on a screen and dividing it into different zones. It then adjusts the display’s backlight for each zone to equal the average luminosity of each zone, making contrast more even and improving image depth.
What is a Direct-Lit LED TV?
Direct-Lit LED is a variation on Full Array LED backlighting, which uses LEDs spread across the entire back panel of the TV for better contrast, image detail, and overall fidelity over the standard Edge Lit LED design.
STAT: LED Displays generally consume 20-30% less power than other LCD types and have longer lifespans. (source)