Skip to content

The 7 Best Reasons To Buy A Edge-Lit LED TV Today

Are you in the market for a new television but feeling overwhelmed by all the options available today? If you‘re looking for a TV that delivers excellent picture quality, saves space with a slim design, operates efficiently, and doesn‘t break the bank, an edge-lit LED TV is well worth considering. As a digital technology expert passionate about the latest and greatest screen innovations, I believe edge-lit LED TVs offer some of the best bang for your buck in today‘s market. Let‘s dive into the top 7 reasons an edge-lit LED TV may be the ideal choice for your home theater setup.

Direct LED vs Edge-Lit LED TVs

First, a quick primer on LED TV terminology. Both "direct" or "full array" LED and edge-lit LED TVs use an array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the liquid crystal display (LCD) panel that creates the picture you see. The difference lies in where those LEDs are positioned.

In a direct LED TV, the LEDs are placed in a grid directly behind the LCD panel, allowing for precise local dimming – meaning the LEDs can be brightened or darkened in specific zones to enhance contrast. However, this results in a thicker overall TV profile.

Edge-lit LED TVs, as the name suggests, feature LEDs along the edges of the screen that shine light inward, guided by "light guides" to cover the entire screen. While this doesn‘t allow for the same precision as direct local dimming, it enables incredibly slim designs. Many edge-lit models are under 2 inches thick, making them perfect for mounting flush against a wall.

So which approach is better? It depends on your priorities. If you‘re a home theater enthusiast who demands the absolute best contrast and black levels, direct LED still has a slight edge (no pun intended). But for most consumers, edge-lit LED hits the sweet spot of picture quality, form factor, and value. And that brings us to reason #1 to choose an edge-lit LED TV…

1. Stylishly slim designs that fit anywhere

One of the biggest selling points of edge-lit LED TVs is their sleek, ultra-thin profile. By illuminating the screen from the sides rather than the back, manufacturers can create amazingly slim designs – some models are just 1-2 inches deep at their thickest point. This makes edge-lit LED TVs incredibly easy to wall mount, even in tight spaces or flush against the wall for an integrated look.

Beyond saving space, an edge-lit LED TV can serve as a stylish centerpiece in your room. With ultra-thin bezels and minimalist frames, the TVs put the focus entirely on the vibrant screen, looking more like a work of art than a bulky appliance. They effortlessly blend into any décor style, from traditional to modern.

The lightweight designs (often half as heavy as comparably-sized direct LED TVs) also make edge-lit LED TVs far easier to unbox, lift, and maneuver into place – a major plus if you plan on setting up the TV yourself. Some large-screen models weigh under 50 pounds, compared to 100+ pounds for a full-array LED TV. Your back will thank you!

2. Vibrant, dynamic picture quality

While the slim form factor may be edge-lit LED TV‘s most immediately eye-catching feature, it would be a mistake to assume that requires compromising on picture quality. Thanks to steady improvements in LED and light guide technology over the past decade, the best edge-lit LED TVs today deliver truly impressive images that hold their own against bulkier direct LED competitors.

Colors pop with vibrant, lifelike saturation thanks to wide color gamut and 10-bit color depth support found on many mid-range and higher-end models. The LED illumination system, often enhanced with quantum dot film layers, enables bright, dynamic highlights for added realism and "pop," especially in HDR (high dynamic range) content.

Contrast and black levels, the traditional Achilles‘ heel of edge lighting, have improved dramatically. Many edge-lit models now boast local dimming – not with the same granularity as direct LED, but still enough to mitigate light bleed and create satisfying black depth. Especially when combined with an anti-glare screen finish, perceived contrast in real-world viewing environments is often excellent.

Screen uniformity is another area where edge-lit LED TV technology has matured. Unlike early edge-lit models where "flashlighting" and corner hotspots were common issues, the best new edge-lit LED panels achieve admirably consistent brightness and color across the entire screen thanks to advanced light guide designs and micro-lens optical layers that help evenly distribute light from the edges.

3. Energy efficient, planet-friendly performance

Beyond saving space in your living room, edge-lit LED TVs can also save you money on your power bill. Because the edge-mounted LEDs illuminate the screen indirectly via light guides, they generate and emit less heat than the direct LED arrays found in full-array backlight TVs. This means the TV components stay cooler and require less power to operate.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, edge-lit LED TVs are 20-30% more energy efficient on average than comparably-sized direct LED models. For a 55-inch TV, that can translate to $20-30 per year in electricity cost savings. Over the 7-10 year lifespan of a typical TV, that‘s some serious change – and a considerably smaller carbon footprint.

Many new edge-lit models also feature ambient light sensors that automatically adjust screen brightness based on room lighting conditions, dimming the image in low light to save power. Combined with settings to disable motion smoothing and dynamic contrast, which can waste power on unnecessary processing, the power savings of edge-lit LED really add up.

So why not go green with your next TV? Your wallet – and the planet – will thank you. Manufacturers like Samsung and LG have made great strides in improving the energy efficiency of their edge-lit LED TV lineups, with some models exceeding the stringent requirements for Energy Star certification. When buying a new TV, be sure to look for the Energy Star label and compare power consumption specs to find the greenest option.

4. Wide viewing angles for flexible seating

If you have a wide living room layout or like to host movie nights for a crowd, edge-lit LED is a great choice. The best edge-lit LED TVs today feature IPS (in-plane switching) LCD panels that maintain consistent color and contrast when viewed from an angle – up to 60 degrees or more off-center.

In contrast, direct LED TVs with VA-type panels often exhibit dramatic contrast and color shifts at wide angles, with the picture washing out and looking patchy. This can be frustrating if your seating arrangement requires some folks to sit off to the side.

For maximum viewing flexibility, look for an edge-lit LED TV with an IPS-type panel. You‘ll be able to enjoy vibrant, colorful, and consistent images whether lounging on the couch directly in front of the TV, sprawling in a recliner off to the side, or peeking over the breakfast bar from the next room over. It‘s the best of both worlds – slim design and flexible seating.

Note that OLED TVs still reign supreme in viewing angle, with near perfect consistency up to an 84 degree angle. But OLED technology remains considerably pricier than edge-lit LED, and only a few screen sizes are available. The latest IPS edge-lit LED TVs get you 90% of the way there for a fraction of the cost.

5. Fast response times for sports and gaming

If you‘re a gamer or sports fan, you know that fast-moving action can be ruined by motion blur, judder, and "ghosting" artifacts that leave smeary trails behind moving objects on screen. Luckily, edge-lit LED TVs are some of the most responsive TVs on the market today.

Because the LEDs are arranged along the edges, there are physically fewer of them than in a direct LED backlight system. That means each LED can turn on and off extremely quickly – in a matter of milliseconds. This allows the TV to display fast action with minimal motion blur and near-instant pixel response times.

The best edge-lit LED TVs boast response times under 10ms, meaning the pixels can fully change color in well under 1/100th of a second. This results in clear, fluid motion for everything from hockey to race cars to frenetic online shooters. Many models feature HDMI 2.1 inputs with support for higher frame rates up to 120Hz at 4K resolution, taking advantage of the speedy response times.

Motion handling can make or break a TV for sports and games. With an edge-lit LED TV, you‘ll see every detail with crystal clarity – every blade of grass on the field, every wrinkle in the superhero‘s cape. It‘s truly a game-changer for fast-paced content.

6. Excellent value for the money

At the end of the day, we all want the best possible picture and features for our hard-earned money when buying a new TV. While early edge-lit LED TVs admittedly sacrificed some image quality in the pursuit of slim designs, today‘s best models deliver both style and substance at very competitive price points.

In general, a midrange or higher-end edge-lit LED TV from a major brand like Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL or Hisense will cost hundreds less than a comparably-sized OLED or direct LED TV with similar specs. For example, a 65-inch Samsung Q60T QLED edge-lit model currently retails for around $1000, while a same-size Samsung Q80T with direct LED starts at $1700.

Unless you‘re a diehard cinephile who demands the absolute highest contrast and black levels, an edge-lit LED model can deliver 90% of the picture quality and features at 60-70% of the price. It‘s an unbeatable value for most living room and home theater setups.

For perspective, a 65-inch edge-lit LED TV today costs about the same as a 42-inch plasma TV did a decade ago – but with a far bigger screen, massively better brightness and color, integrated smart TV features, and slimmer design. Talk about progress!

7. Smart features and easy connectivity

Last but certainly not least, edge-lit LED TVs today are brimming with smart features that make streaming your favorite content and connecting your go-to devices a breeze. Most models come with built-in Wi-Fi, ethernet jacks, and Bluetooth support for fast, easy networking.

All the major streaming apps and services are supported, from Netflix to Hulu to Disney+ and beyond. Simply sign in with your account and you‘re off to the races with thousands of shows and movies to choose from. The intuitive smart TV interfaces make it easy to switch between apps, rent new releases, and even mirror content from your phone or tablet.

Edge-lit LED TV platforms like Samsung‘s Tizen, LG‘s webOS, Android TV and Roku TV support voice control through digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby. So you can simply speak to search for content, launch apps, adjust settings, and more – no more fiddling with sluggish TV keyboards. Many models also feature Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in for seamless casting from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

Gamers will appreciate the abundant HDMI 2.1 inputs found on the latest edge-lit LED TVs, which allow for 4K 120Hz signals from PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles as well as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to eliminate screen tearing. Auto Low Latency Mode switches the TV to Game Mode when a console is detected to minimize input lag. It‘s clear edge-lit LED TV manufacturers have gamers‘ needs in mind.

Edge-Lit LED vs the Alternatives

Of course, edge-lit LED isn‘t the only TV technology on the block. Let‘s see how it stacks up to the key competitors:

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode): OLED TVs are widely considered the pinnacle of picture quality, with pixel-level dimming, perfect black levels, and near-infinite contrast. However, they come at a steep price premium and are more susceptible to burn-in. For most folks, an edge-lit QLED TV will get you 90% of the way there for a lot less cash.

Direct/Full Array LED: Direct LED TVs place the LED lights behind the LCD panel rather than along the edges, allowing for more granular local dimming and better overall contrast. However, they‘re a fair bit thicker and pricier than edge-lit models. Again, the real-world performance gap has narrowed considerably in recent years.

QLED (Quantum Dot LED): QLED is actually a type of LED TV technology that can be applied to both edge-lit and direct LED backlights. By combining blue LEDs with a quantum dot layer that emits red and green light, QLED TVs can achieve higher brightness and wider color than traditional LED TVs – narrowing the gap with OLED. Many of the best edge-lit LED TVs today use QLED tech.

The Verdict: Edge-Lit LED is a Winning Choice

When you add it all up, the case for choosing an edge-lit LED TV today is compelling. You get sleek, space-saving designs, vibrant and punchy HDR-grade picture quality, smooth motion handling, wide viewing angles, and gamer-friendly features – all at prices considerably lower than OLED and direct LED TVs.

Edge-lit LED TVs are a great all-around choice for most living rooms, offering that difficult-to-beat combination of style, performance, and value. With models available from all the major brands in a wide range of screen sizes, there‘s sure to be an edge-lit LED TV that fits your needs and budget.

So if you‘re in the market for a new TV, give edge-lit LED strong consideration. It‘s a shining example of how far TV technology has come – and how a slim form factor doesn‘t have to mean compromising on image quality or features. The best edge-lit LED TVs truly let you have your cake and eat it too.

Frequently Asked Questions about Edge-Lit LED TVs

Q: What is an edge-lit LED TV?
A: An edge-lit LED TV is a type of LCD TV that uses LEDs mounted along the edges of the screen to provide backlighting, as opposed to behind the screen in a direct LED TV.

Q: Are edge-lit LED TVs better than direct LED TVs?
A: It depends on your priorities. Edge-lit LED TVs are considerably slimmer but don‘t allow for as precise local dimming as direct LED. However, today‘s best edge-lit TVs deliver excellent picture quality for most content.

Q: Do edge-lit LED TVs have good viewing angles?
A: Many edge-lit LED TVs use IPS LCD panels which maintain good color and contrast at wide viewing angles – though not quite as wide as OLED.

Q: How do I know if an LED TV is edge-lit or direct?
A: Check the specifications – TVs with "edge LED" backlighting are edge-lit while those with "direct" or "full array" are direct LED. Edge-lit models are usually 2 inches thick or less.

Q: What are the best edge-lit LED TV brands?
A: Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL, and Hisense all make excellent edge-lit LED TVs with the latest features and picture enhancements. Look for models using quantum dot technology branded as QLED or QNED.

Q: Can I mount an edge-lit LED TV on the wall?
A: Yes, edge-lit LED TVs are incredibly slim and lightweight, making them ideal for wall mounting. Just make sure to use a mount rated for your TV‘s screen size and weight.