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Edge Lit vs Full Array vs Direct Lit

When it comes to how TVs are lit, there's a lot to consider. Learn the differences and find the right TV for your home.

Edge Lit vs Full Array vs Direct Lit

When it comes to how TVs are lit, there's a lot to consider. Learn the differences and find the right TV for your home.

When it comes to home entertainment, most of us turn to our televisions for the latest movies, documentaries, shows, sports and more. And while we may notice whether our favorite programs appear brilliantly on our screens—with lifelike colors, and jaw-dropping detail—what most of us don't think about is how that happens.

The answer lies in how your television is lit and whether it includes local dimming technology—which allows your TV to dim the area of the screen where it's supposed to be darker, while keeping the bright parts of the screen bright. In addition, local dimming can increase the contrast ratio to form a better image.

As for lighting, there are currently three types used on televisions: Edge Lit, Full Array, and Direct Lit—and what you see on your screen is directly impacted by which type of lighting your TV uses. As you may have guessed, Edge Lit TVs use lights along the perimeter of your TV, while Full Array televisions have multiple zones throughout the display and, and Direct Lit TVs, like Full Array TVs, have LEDs placed throughout the back of the television (but fewer of them).

At this point, the technology may seem similar—lights are placed around or behind your TV—but there are some important difference to consider when choosing the right TV for your home. So, let's break down those differences in a couple of head-to-head comparisons.

Edge Lit vs. Full Array

For years Edge Lit TVs were the gold standard—and they're still the most common types of TVs available. They use LEDs placed along the edge of the TV, facing the center of the screen, to light the image. In terms of local dimming, they can typically only dim large sections of the picture, not the pin-point dimming you'd get with Full Array.

In the case of Full Array LED TVs, the LEDs are numerous, and spread throughout the back of the television. And because there are generally more LEDs on Full Array TVs than Edge Lit, local dimming is finer, more targeted, and produces deeper, darker, richer images that make what you're watching on the screen virtually come to life.

In the Full Array LED vs. Edge Lit TV comparison, Full Arrays come out on top. However, if a Full Array television isn't in your budget, or you don't want or need, a Full Array TV for work or your own personal use, Edge Lit televisions still do an excellent job of producing quality images that are crisp, deep and beautiful.

Edge Lit vs. Direct Lit

As with Full Array televisions, Direct Lit TVs use several rows of LEDs placed behind the entire surface of the screen. However, Direct Lit televisions don't use local dimming, which is a key factor in how Full Array TVs are able to produce deep, uniform blacks. Because of this, pictures produced on Direct Lit TVs tend to be lower quality, lacking in depth, and produce more gray tones—rather than deep, true blacks. And although Edge Lit TVs don't produce blacks on the same level as Full Array televisions, they do use local dimming technology to create deep, nuanced images that go far beyond what Direct Lit televisions are capable of.


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