One of the more confusing developments in LCD TVs in the past few years has been the introduction of LED backlights to many models. LEDs are brighter and consume less power than other lamps, but the basic display tech is the same as any other LCD, which generally have a harder time rendering deep blacks than, say, plasma sets.
Sharp might beg to differ, today unveiling a whole new line of Aquos LED sets with features like advanced pixel control (to reduce light leakage from the backlight when the pixel is black) and a wider aperture (to let more light through when the pixel isn't black). But then Sharp goes off citing virtually meaningless (or at least wildly exaggerated) specs like a 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, which doesn't do much to convince me. Especially when some other TVs can perform local dimming of the backlight to get even better contrast, a trick the new Aquos sets don't do.
Still, I recommend Sharp's new Aquos LED sets for the simple reason that they consume a lot less power than non-LED models. Thanks in part to an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the set to keep wattage to a minimum, Sharp Aquos LEDs cut power consumption by over a third. The above picture is from a side-by-side demo with an LED set (right) next to a conventional model displaying the same material. Those little digital readouts allegedly show the power consumption, with the LED TV consistently and significantly lower — and looking better, to boot.
You're stil paying a premium for this technology, though. Aquos LED comes in four sizes, from 32 to 52 inches, priced from $1,100 to $2,800, respectively. That's well north of plasma TVs with similar screen sizes, but at least you'll be saving a few bucks on your power bill. That's something, right?