What is an LCD TV?

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Updated January 23, 2023

In 2010, LCD TV shipments reached 187.9 million units (from an estimated total of 247 million TV shipments.) Although Liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs have become popular, many people may not understand what is an LCD TV and why they are top-rated in the market. To better understand this type of TV, some may need to know how the TV is made and the difference between an LCD TV and a light-emitting diode (LED) TV.


  • LCD stands for liquid crystal display.
  • LCD TVs use a unique process to create the crystals making up the display.
  • The category of LCD TVs includes LED TVs.

Understanding LCD Televisions

Between two thin sheets of polarized glass, a polymer holds liquid crystals. These liquid crystals are not actual liquid while they are on TV. When power is applied, the liquid crystal molecules are forced to change their orientation depending on the angle for viewing. This creates patterns of light and dark which appear as images on a television or computer monitor. Through this process, power is used to create a variety of colors and shades on screen.

The manufacturers use a process that includes dissolving specific material in liquid, which causes the fluid to become cloudy. As the temperature of the compound rises, the fluid becomes clear again. The manufacturers then cool the fluid into a blue crystal.

In addition to the polymer and liquid crystals, there are also red, green, and blue color filters in the TV. Electric current, provided by electrodes, goes through the crystals. This electric current causes the crystals to pass or block light, meaning that LCD crystals do not produce light. Instead, the light comes from fluorescent or LED light bulbs. The first lighting type, cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL,) was the first type of LCD backlight and is generally considered not to be as good as LED. On the other hand, LED backlights primarily light LCD TVs now. They are considered to last longer, take less energy, and last longer. This is one of the reasons LED TVs are some of the best TV for RVs.

What is backlighting on a TV?

There are some types of backlighting styles, including full-array, direct local, and edge lighting. Full-array backlighting, which covers the entire back of the screen, provides the most accurate local dimming and best contrast because the lights can be dimmed within a region.

Direct local lighting has fewer lights than full-array lighting, meaning that the lights are spaced further apart. This spacing can cause the accuracy and consistency to be worse when compared to full-array.

In edge lighting, the lights are placed along the edge of the screen so that the light is projected across the back of the screen. This type of lighting can cause darker areas to become less clear. An alternative would be to find out what a nanocell TV is and how it will improve the backlighting of your TV.

Is there a risk of image retention on an LCD TV?

LCD TVs are subject to burn-in or image retention, though they are not as susceptible as their plasma TV counterparts. This is because millions of pixels are used to create their images, and the user can further manipulate them. Each pixel consists of three colored subpixels, with each color contributing to the desired hue. However, due to technical issues during production, some displays may contain bad pixels that do not function correctly or display a different color than intended.

To reduce the chance of image retention, the TV should not be kept on a picture with few moving elements or pictures that contain details that do not move for more than two hours. This choice of model is useful for people who use the TV as a computer monitor or watch large amounts of news, sports, or tech. It is always best to opt for a model that has an adjustable backlight and automatic brightness control.

If the images being shown have components that do not move, it might help to decrease the brightness and contrast. This is also true if you use your TV to play video games or as a second monitor. Using an ARC HDMI can also help you get better images and sound. You can check out what an arc TV is and how it can improve your viewing experience.

Is LED or LCD TV better?

The category for LCD TVs includes light-emitting diode (LED) displays. This categorization is because an LED TV uses the same liquid crystal technology as an LCD TV. The difference between a TV labeled LCD and another marked LED is that the LED TVs use an LED backlight instead of fluorescent (or similar) backlighting.

However, LED lights are widely considered to use better technology. In fact, most LCD TVs use LED lights, and people refer to them as such. In addition, LCD TV and its subcategory LED TV also include quantum light-emitting diode (QLED) TVs, which adds yet another layer to the television imaging mechanism.

Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are used in many of the TVs being made today, including LED TVs. Most, if not all, LCD TVs use LED backlighting these days. LCDs use backlighting shining through two sheets of glass with liquid crystals between them to create the images shown on the TV screen. And if you have had any troubles with your TV, like if your screen changes color, we have a great article on why your TV screen is green.


How is the picture made?

The image is made using full-array, direct local, or edge lighting passing through the liquid crystals held in place by a polymer.

LED TV vs LCD TV: How are they different?

LED TVs fall under the category of LCD TVs. They differ from other LCD TVs by using light-emitting diode backlighting.

What Is an LCD TV?

Simply put, an LCD TV uses liquid crystals with light passing through to create the image on the TV screen.

STAT: In 2010, LCD TV shipments reached 187.9 million units (from an estimated total of 247 million TV shipments). (source)

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