Panel Technology

LCD Panel Backlight Technology

With the latest advancements in LCD backlight technology there are more options than ever when selecting a commercial-grade flat panel LCD display. The primary purpose of backlighting is to illuminate the LCD but the newest LED illumination options provide additional benefits that impact display size, power consumption, and weight.

While all backlights perform the same general function, the method in which they light up an LCD panel differs significantly. With a variety of backlight technologies that exist today the list and table below provides an overview of each backlight technology and how they compare against each other:


Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL) are arranged behind the screen. A diffusion panel spreads the light evenly across the LCD panel.

Pros:  Cost, availability
Cons: Thickness, mercury disposal, power consumption, higher weight

Edge-Lit LED

White LEDs are positioned around the edge of the screen. A diffusion panel spreads the light evenly across the LCD panel.

Pros: Ultra-slim depth, lightweight, energy efficient, low heat output
Cons: Limited selection (newer to market), higher cost than CCFL

Back-Lit LED

Full array of individual white or RGB LEDs are positioned directly behind the screen.

Pros:  Lightweight, energy efficient
Cons: Thickness, higher cost than CCFL


Model CCFL Back-lit LED Edge-lit LED
Depth < 4" < 4"  < 4"
Power Consumption High Low (20-50% less than CCFL) Low (20-50% less than CCFL)
Mercury Yes (~4mg per unit) No No
Heat Produced Moderate Low Low
Cost $ $$ $$$
  • Today's LCD displays offer a variety of backlight technology options
  • New LED illumination technologies offer benefits including size, weight and power consumption
  • Compare backlight technologies to determine the best fit for an application