Review Date: November 5, 2009
 Last Updated: November 2, 2013

Battle of the LCDs

Samsung LED TVs vs. Samsung LCD TVs
Samsung UNB6000, UNB7000, UNB8000 or Samsung LNB750

Which is better?

We have recently reviewed both Samsung Series 7 conventional LCD HDTVs and also evaluated the latest Samsung LED TVs for 2009.

Both lineups offer an interesting feature set and support relatively very good picture performance. Nothing is perfect however... CCFL-based LCDs have their limitations when it comes to black levels. LED TVs are still relatively expensive. Besides, if you think that the latest expensive cutting-edge LED light technology is here to deliver unsurpassed performance, it all depends.

So which is better: The relatively expensive Samsung LED TVs with their edge-lit led technology or the more affordable Series 7 CCFL Samsung LCD TVs, with their 240Hz refresh rate and equally extensive feature set?

Samsung 2013 flagship LED TV with ultimate micro dimming backlight technology

Samsung UN60F8000 60-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV

This high-end feature-rich LED LCD TV enjoys superior picture performance for a LED TV. It comes with Samsung's Micro dimming Ultimate LED backlight technology - among the best in its class for black level performance and its ability to deliver subtle shadow detail. It is also the TV with the best feature set.

It is a bit expensive but... if plasma is not for you and still want to enjoy the best picture quality and the latest interactive TV features, the UNF8000 is definitely the TV to go for!

Buy from

It is all LED TVs vs. LCD TVs or rather...

Samsung LEDs vs. Samsung LCD TVs!

It is more than natural that many would tend to compare LED TVs vs. LCD even if this is a comparison between very similar technologies.

However, this issue of LED TVs vs. LCD TVs is more TV makers driven rather than a natural comparison between different display technologies as instead is the case with say plasma vs. LCD. Why?

TV makers are always pushing the more expensive technology. We have seen this with the introduction of LCD TVs versus plasma HDTVs a few years ago, with 1080p vs. 720p, 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rates LCDs.

And now, we are seeing the story repeating itself with the latest specs of the day - 240Hz refresh rate technology and yes, LED LCD TVs.

The irony in this whole LED TVs vs. LCD TVs debate is that simplistically speaking, the latest inch-thick edge-lit Sony and Samsung LED TV sets are nothing more than standard LCD TVs with LED (light-emitting diodes) as their light source instead of CCFL. In other words, despite that TV makers are trying to lead the uninformed to believe that LED TVs are a totally new different display technology, this is not the case; instead... the LED TVs vs. LCD TVs battle is in reality LCD vs. LCD!

To complicate matters, most 2009 LED LCD TVs do not use the same LED-backlighting technology as used on Samsung A950 and Sony XBR8 LED TVs released in late 2008, as well as on the recently released Samsung B8500 HDTVs.

The Samsung A950 and UNB8500 series, and the Sony XBR8 use local dimming LED backlight technology where individual groups of LEDs behind the screen can be dimmed and even turned off - depending on the brightness of the content at the respective screen position. LED local dimming technology enables these HDTVs to achieve exceptional black levels that no CCFL or edge-lit LED LCD TV can ever attain.

However, most 2009 LED TV sets - including Samsung UNB6000, UNB7000, and UNB8000 series of LED TVs - use edge-LED-lighting where white light LEDs are arranged along the four edges of the display panel. According to Samsung, this setup still yields similar brightness uniformity characteristics to standard backlit LCDs thanks to the use of a special diffusing layer behind the screen. In addition, edge-lit LED TVs are cheaper to implement than local dimming - thus explaining the more affordable price in comparison to LED TVs with local dimming.

But this new edge-lit arrangement has brought about a further benefit - if one can call it so, and this applies irrespective of whether you are comparing edge-lit LED TVs vs. LCD TVs, or edge-lit LEDs vs. local dimming LED TVs. These new LED TVs are just an inch thick. In other words, these edge-lit LED TVs are characterized by an ultra thin profile that is incredibly stylish and much easier to mount on a wall.

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However not all LED TVs are equal!

More on the differences between local dimming and edge-lit LED light technology is available in our guide to LED LCD Technology. It is sufficient to note however that the fact local dimming  is out of the equation with these Samsung LED TV series, means that these new Samsung LED LCD TVs cannot produce the same inky blacks of the Samsung A950 and B8500, or the Sony XBR8, when handling mixed brightness content.

In other words, the present new lineup of Samsung edge-lit LED LCD TVs is not a replacement to the exceptionally successful Samsung A950 LED LCD TV series.

The real problem with the latest LED TVs arises not because of the new way of implementing LEDs to provide edge backlighting - because there are pros and cons to everything. In particular, the latest edge-lit LEDs surely offer a significant price advantage over their local dimming LED LCD TV counterparts.

Rather, the main problem is the confusion induced by TV makers among the non-technically minded consumers as a result of the way they are referring to LED LCD TVs simply as LED TVs without differentiating between the different LED lighting technologies.

As expressed elsewhere on our site, we believe that this is being done on purpose. For the non-technically-minded, LCD LED lighting technology represents the latest cutting edge technology in HDTVs. This is correct but TV makers know very well that non-informed buyers always tend to equate the best in performance with the latest technology. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily so. The reality is there is a significant difference in picture performance between edge-lit LED TVs and LED TVs using LED local dimming technology.

So how does all this translate into this LED TVs vs. LCD TVs debate?

Surely, there is no better way to evaluate this LED TVs vs. LCD TVs issue than by comparing the latest 2009 conventional CCFL-based Series 7 Samsung LCD TVs vs. Samsung LED TVs.

But why compare with Samsung B750 Series LCDs?

Series 7 Samsung LCD HDTVs represent Samsung premium line of LCDs. Those in the market for a high-end HDTV would normally be comparing HDTVs within the same price bracket. In addition, those looking at the option of going LED would surely be comparing the latest cutting-edge LED TVs with corresponding premium line CCFL-based LCD HDTVs.

Now, when it comes to LED TVs vs. LCD TVs, if you were to put aside the difference in the backlight technology between Samsung Series 7 LCDs and Samsung top 2009 LED TVs, you would find that the more affordable lineup of conventional LCD TVs offer a similar feature set to that found on the most expensive of the three LED TV series, namely Samsung Series 8 LED TVs.

Samsung LED TVs vs. Samsung LCD TVs - Which is better?

Probably, if you have already gone through our detailed product evaluations of both the Samsung B750 LCD TV series and that of the latest Samsung LED LCDs for 2009, you could very well come up with what follows in this write-up.

However, for those who did not, here is what we think.

Samsung UN55ES7500 2012 Premium HDTV with voice and gesture control

UN55ES7500 55" 3D Samsung LED TV

Samsung vs. Samsung

There is no doubt the latest one-inch thick edge-lit Samsung LED LCD TV sets come with an impressive bundle of features, cutting-edge LED technology, and a stylish design.

And when everyone is becoming more aware of the world's sustainability in the use of available resources, these are also among the greenest HDTVs presently available on the market - with a default power consumption of around 100W for 46-inch Samsung LED TVs; this value falls even further in power saver mode. That's some 40% less than the power consumption of the corresponding 46-inch Series 7 Samsung premium LCD TV.

Additionally, Samsung LED TV sets offer very good picture quality, with relatively very deep black levels that are almost in line with those supported by Samsung A950 HDTVs using LED local dimming technology. Color rendering is also very accurate, while video processing is clean and free from video artifacts.

From a features' perspective, the more expensive LED TV lineups, the UNB7000 and the UNB8000 also support a full suite of interactive options. These include the latest trend - Internet-enable TV content - which with the latest addition of video-on-demand services from amazon and Blockbuster make them even more appealing. And with the UNB8000 LED TV series, you also get 240Hz refresh rate processing technology.  But then these same features are also available on the less expensive Samsung Series 7 LCDs.

There is one major problem though...

2009 Samsung LED TVs do not come cheap. At the time of this write-up, reduced pricing at amazon for the 46-inch Series 7 LED TV is still at least $300 more than the corresponding Series 7 Samsung LCD TV - this despite Series 7 LCD TVs are not among the cheapest you can get. Pricing is such that the 46-inch UN46B7000 LED TV costs the same as the larger 52-inch LN52B750 LCD TV - even though Samsung Series 7 LED TVs do not support the latest hot spec of the day - 240Hz refresh rate technology - as instead you find on Samsung Series 7 LCDs.

To jump onto the 240Hz bandwagon with an LED TV, you need to move onto the more expensive Series 8 Samsung LED TV series but... expect to pay at least $600 more than a corresponding B750 Series Samsung LCD TV.

Whether it is worth moving to 240Hz technology is another issue and this applies irrespective of LED TVs vs. LCD TVs. As expressed in our Samsung B750 LCD TV review, while this faster refresh rate results in improved motion resolution, yet it will be hard to perceive any improvement with typical program content. In fact, the difference between 120Hz and 240Hz is mainly one that can be identified only through the appropriate test patterns.

At this price difference, the issue is: Does the new Samsung LED TVs overall performance live up to their high price?

Well, when it comes to picture issues, the real major difference between LEDs and LCD TVs is that Samsung LED TVs come with a mega-contrast ratio rating against the 150,000:1 of the Series 7 LCD TVs. One may think this difference is huge; in absolute terms, it is so, but...

Does this really matter when it comes to picture performance? We say NO. You see, contrast ratio ratings by TV makers have reached a level that would be practically impossible for the human eye to perceive any difference between those supported by LED TVs and those supported by LCD TVs. And there again, contrast alone does not make the picture.

There are other issues like screen uniformity and off-angle viewing that also influence your overall viewing experience. These are picture parameters that are hardly considered when buying an HDTV. Yet these form an integral part of an HDTV picture performance; deficiencies in these areas may very well prove extremely annoying during TV viewing.

As expressed in the second part of our 2009 Samsung LED TV review, these are areas where conventional CCFL-based premium LCD TVs like the Samsung B750 LCD HDTVs deliver better than the more expensive Samsung LED TVs.

On the other hand, Samsung new LED TVs are capable of delivering inky blacks. This in itself is an important picture quality parameter as a deep shade of black helps improve the realism of dark scenes while making colors look richer and more saturated. In this respect, LED TVs surpass conventional LCDs even though the difference with respect to the latest Samsung premium CCFL-based LCDs is such that it would become noticeable mainly in side-by-side comparison. However, no matter how minimal it is, the difference is there and it is in favor of LED TVs.

LED TVs vs. LCD TVs: Concluding Remarks ...and discussion

All this may sound like we are giving the new Samsung 2009 edge-lit LED TVs our thumbs-down. This is not exactly so. If you were to go through our detailed review of the new 2009 Samsung LED TVs, you would soon realize there are features which we do like about these new LED TVs.

It would surely make sense to go for LEDs if power consumption is a priority though such a move has to be balanced against the additional out-of-pocket money that opting for a Samsung LED TV implies.

And admittedly, these LED TVs are exceptionally sleek - with an ultra-thin one-inch profile that better integrates with any room decor than any other conventional flat-panel TV with its typical three to four inch thick.

Besides, if you are after an LED TV, the latest edge-lit 2009 Samsung LEDs gives you the possibility to still get a great LED TV at a cheaper price tag than corresponding LED TVs using local dimming technology. This is apart from the fact that the new LED's overall picture performance is 'almost' superb.

We say almost because if what you are after is the best overall features-performance-price deal, we believe Samsung 240Hz Series 7 CCFL-based LCD TVs deliver better. It is not that Samsung Series 7 LCDs are perfect. While cheaper than their LED TV counterparts, Samsung Series 7 LCDs are still relatively expensive with respect to the competition, and their picture quality is not exactly up to that from the best plasmas and LED LCDs with local dimming, nor their shade of black is exactly in line with that of 2009 Samsung LED TVs.

But at an online price tag of around $1,600 for a 46-inch LN46B750 and $1,900 for the 52-inch LN52B750, Samsung Series 7 LCD TVs give you a 240Hz LCD with solid overall picture performance at a price that is significantly below that of Samsung Series 8 LED TVs. Samsung 46-inch UN46B8000 will cost $2,300 - over $700 more than corresponding Series 7 LCDs. Yet for the lower price, Samsung Series 7 LCD TVs will bring you an almost identical feature set to that on the more expensive Series 8 LED TVs. This means that apart from 240Hz processing, you will also get interactive Internet-enabled TV content, an extensive feature set, the best customizable dejudder mode as found on Series 8 LED TVs, and an equally extensive user picture settings that would surely make it easy to zero in to the best picture for your liking.

Note:  Amazon prices vary considerably; quoted prices in this LED TVs vs. LCD TVs article were correct at the time of this write-up.

Would you like to let us know what you think about this LED TVs vs. LCD TVs issue?

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All you have to do is to fill in the form below and submit your comments to be include on this page.

What Others Have Said

Click below to read what others are saying about this hotly debated issue.

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