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The 7 Best Reasons to Avoid an Edge-Lit LED TV Today

avoid an edge-lit led TV

The 7 Best Reasons to Avoid an Edge-Lit LED TV Today

What are the reasons you should avoid an edge-lit LED TV? Edge-lit LED TVs have a number of benefits, such as their low cost, but there are some definite drawbacks compared to other display technologies.

If you’re on the fence about the sort of TV to buy, there are seven solid reasons why you might want to avoid an edge-lit LED TV.

What Is an Edge-Lit LED TV?

Edge-lit LED TVs use only a couple of edges to light the whole viewing area. Lower-cost TVs will often just use two zones, where the light is later placed with a diffuser to illuminate the entire screen.

Since there are only two active zones with LEDs, this can help to keep costs down. However, there are some definite drawbacks to purchasing an edge-lit LED TV, which has been discussed with some degree of derision since the technology’s introduction.

Reasons to Avoid an Edge-Lit LED TV

Edge-lit TVs have been a cost-effective solution for high-definition televisions since the technology first debuted. You can get quite a thin and attractive display when you only have to contend with a handful of lighting zones. However, the same handful of lighting zones leads to less-than-desirable results.

Reason #1: Restrictive Viewing Angles

avoid an edge-lit led tv
Edge-lit LED TVs suffer from less-than-ideal viewing angles when in a larger space.

Since the whole television isn’t lit on an edge-lit LED TV, this leads to issues where some viewing angles can have atrocious color degradation. When viewed from an optimal angle, you might get bright and crisp colors.

Other display technologies have access to better viewing angles, thanks in part to full local illumination per pixel. Other displays also cost more, as you will find when shopping for a new TV. However, if you’ve got a large home theater seating area, this is one of many reasons to avoid an edge-lit LED TV.

Reason #2: Blooming

So, what is blooming? Blooming refers to uneven illumination of areas on the screen. Since edge-lit LEDs don’t have lighting sources throughout the whole screen, this can lead to issues while viewing certain types of media.

Now, with other display technologies, this can be a problem, as well. With lower-cost edge-lit LED TVs, it is extremely noticeable. You’ll see LED light bleed and blooming which become very noticeable in low-light conditions. As such, this is one of the primary reasons to avoid an edge-lit LED TV.

Reason #3: Variable Picture Quality

This calls back to the less-than-uniform lighting throughout the whole of an edge-lit TV. If you have an edge-lit LED TV, the picture can vary quite a bit depending on the media. As there are typically only two or so lighting sources to illuminate the entire screen, this can greatly affect the picture’s quality.

When you consider that the advent of HDR contrast ratios and HD resolutions has led to a certain expectation in regard to image quality, this is a real bummer when considering purchasing a new TV. If you’re after a crisp and consistent picture, this is one of many reasons to avoid an edge-lit LED TV.

Reason #4: No True Blacks

avoid an edge-lit led tv
Edge-lit LED TVs suffer from poor color reproduction, especially with black tones.

There are a few different aspects of image quality that directly correlate to the limited lighting zones on an edge-lit LED TV. Chief among them is the reproduction of colors when viewing media — notably blacks.

As edge-lit LED TVs require the use of a diffuser to pump light through the entire display, this can lead to blacks that appear to be more gray in nature. If you’re after accurate color reproduction on a display, then an edge-lit LED TV is a poor choice.

Reason #5: Poor HDR Support

Yet another aspect of image quality that is directly impacted by the limited illumination zones is how modern edge-lit LED TVs interact with HDR media. HDR, or high dynamic range, refers to more intensive contrast ratios and colors when viewing a piece of media.

Modern edge-lit LED TVs do come with HDR support. You might expect this from any television made in the last ten or so years. However, you’re not getting the rich and deep colors you might expect from an OLED TV, especially one with HDR10+ or Dolby Vision support.

Instead, colors can appear washed out or overly bright. It can be a tough pill to swallow when purchasing a new TV. So, this is another reason to avoid an edge-lit LED TV.

Reason #6: Fragility

One of the benefits of an edge-lit TV is that displays can be made much thinner. They are more akin to an OLED display in terms of thinness and weight. However, this same thinness can lead to issues with structural support. This can come to the fore when moving the television into place.

While OLED displays can also be fragile, they at least have the benefit of being flexible while being moved. Edge-lit LED TVs can be more prone to shattering, which means you’re out of a purchase.

Reason #7: Less Precise Local Dimming

The final flaw you can attribute to the limited lighting zones is related to local dimming. Modern LED televisions use local dimming to control brightness areas. High-end televisions use per-pixel dimming to give uniform dimming.

Edge-lit LED TVs are less than precise, at least in regard to local dimming. As you’ve only got a handful of lighting zones, this leads to inaccurate local dimming. If you’re after a great uniform picture, this is a reason to avoid an edge-lit LED TV.

Alternatives to an Edge-Lit LED TV

There are, of course, alternatives to any viewing technology used in modern TVs. Edge-lit LED TVs are similar to LCD displays in that they’re cost-effective ways of getting a high-definition viewing experience. However, if you’re willing to stretch your budget, you’ll have a much better picture.

QNED TVs

Our Pick
LG 75-Inch Class QNED85
$1,796.99
  • a7 Gen5 AI Processor 4K
  • Voice control
  • 120 Hz refresh rate
  • Mini-LED backlighting
  • Features Precision Dimming
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 04:27 pm GMT

QNED TVs use a combination of quantum dot and NanoCell technologies with Mini-LED backlighting, resulting in great picture quality. This also helps to keep costs down while giving you access to all the modern amenities you’d expect from a modern television.

The LG QNED85 is a great mid-range option that comes with built-in Alexa support and LG’s AI-powered upscaling. If you’re after a great image, QNED TVs are a reliable option. They make for a great alternative to more expensive OLED displays.

OLED TVs

OLED TVs are the way to go if you’re after vibrant colors, great image quality, and uniform lighting. The LG G3 is hard to top, although it might be out of the budget of most viewers. OLED displays are great for slim, accurate displays.

They might not have ideal color reproduction for things like true whites, but you’re always going to make trade-offs when purchasing a television. The G3 is one of the absolute best displays on the market and is the high-end TV to beat if you’re after stunning picture clarity in 4K media.

QLED TV

Best Overall
TCL 75″ Class 5-Series QLED
  • Quantum dot technology features more than a billion colors
  • Supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG
  • 120 Hz refresh rate
  • Supports Dolby Atmos
  • Contrast Control Zones (up to 40 local dimming zones)
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The more expensive alternative to edge-lit LED TVs uses lighting zones throughout the whole display. This can drive up costs considerably but also leads to a more uniform picture.

A great display for mid-range budgets is the TCL Class 5-Series, which is one of the more affordable QLED displays you can purchase. You get uniform lighting throughout, a massive display, and 4K resolution support.

It also comes bundled with the Roku operating system, meaning you can forego other streaming devices and get right to watching your favorite shows.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve come away with a deeper understanding of why you might want to avoid an edge-lit LED TV. They certainly can be affordable displays, but there are options in similar price brackets if you’re willing to stretch your budget a bit.

Edge-lit LED TVs can be great if you’re less worried about how your media looks. However, if you’re a media buff, you might as well spend a little more and get better picture quality.

Summary Table

Reason NumberReason to Avoid an Edge-Lit LED TV
#1Restrictive Viewing Angles
#2Blooming
#3Variable Picture Quality
#4No True Blacks
#5Poor HDR Support
#6Fragility
#7Less Precise Local Dimming

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is uniform lighting important for a TV?

Think about the cinematography of a film or show. Lighting conditions are rarely just flat, they are often quite dynamic. If you’re wanting to reproduce the image as the creator intended, uniform lighting is vital for that experience.

Are edge-lit LED TVs viable?

If you aren’t concerned with image quality and are just after a TV that works, then an edge-lit TV is certainly worth a purchase.

Can edge-lit LED TVs have more than a couple of lighting zones?

They can, but to keep costs down it is usually restricted to just two larger zones on the sides of the display and a diffuser to disperse light throughout.

What is the best sort of display available to consumers?

OLED televisions have caught on in a big way. They may be a more premium choice, but it is hard to top the image quality for most viewing experiences when using an OLED display.

Are LED TVs still usable?

Absolutely, there are many different takes on display technologies that make up the current market. It really comes down to matching what fits best with your overall budget.

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