September 10, 2009 by Steven Castle
It’s safe to say that LED-backlit TVs are here to stay. What form they take is the question.
LG and Sony have revealed new LCD TVs using LED technology, though four of the five models the companies have announced will be edge-lit by LEDs only on the sides of the screen. The announcements were made at this week’s CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo in Atlanta.
LG’s 55-inch 55LHX wireless HDTV model is the only one backlit by a full array of LEDs. The full array of LEDs is capable of local dimming, in which clusters of the energy-saving LEDs can be shut off during dark scenes, enhancing the picture’s contrast and saving even more energy. Consumers will pay for that level of performance and eco-friendliness, along with the wireless functionality, to the tune of $4,799.
LG’s edge-lit LED LCD TVs include the slender, 1.15-inch-thick 42- and 47-inch SL models ($2,599 and $2,099. By edge-lighting with LEDs, manufacturers can make the sets slimmer, though features like local dimming are not available. The new TVs will also include Internet connectivity for enjoying content from Vudu and other partners.
Other green features in the LG TVs include an Intelligent Sensor that automatically optimizes the picture to the lighting conditions in the room for potential energy savings. LG says the 55LHX will be available soon, with the SL90 series models available later in the fall.
Sony’s 46- and 52-inch XBR10 LED TVs due in October are also edge-lit. The TVs will also have 1080p resolution, 240 Hz refresh rate, and Internet video and widgets including Netflix streaming.
Sony says it has plans to make full-panel LED–backlit TVs in the future. Sony’s vice president of TV Jeff Goldstein said the move to edge-lit LEDs is in the interest of aesthetics, enabling the panels to be thinner than those with full LED backlights. But let’s face it: edge-lit LEDs can also be cheaper. And edge-lit models could faze out as LED pricing comes down.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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