In my mailbag today, I received a question from Joe W. regarding the topic of the “LED Monitor”. Yesterday I wrote a piece titled “BenQ V2400 Eco: 24-inch LCD Monitor with LED Backlight“. In it I expressed my dissatisfaction with BenQ’s use of the term “LED monitor” to describe its V2400 Eco. I also pointed the finger at Samsung for starting an deceptive marketing campaign that confuses the marketplace with the term “LED TV”. Joe W. posed the question:
But Apple call their display an Apple LED Cinema Display – so by this is it not the case that either a) such a thing does exit or b) Samsung are just following the lead of others?
I’ll try to answer Joe’s question as simply as possible. What Apple is doing is fine by me. And that’s not because I am an Apple fan but because Apple is doing something that is materially different from what Samsung, BenQ and others are doing. What Apple is doing is putting a descriptor in front of a discreet product name. The previous large LCD monitor from was called the Apple Cinema Display that used a 23-inch IPS TFT LCD panel with CCFL backlight technology. The term “Cinema Display” is a product name used for Apple’s line of LCD monitors. Apple is not trying to convince the market that its Cinema Display is a different class of monitors separate from LCD monitors. The Apple LED Cinema Display simply adds the word LED to denote that this new LCD monitor uses LED backlight technology; the term LED is not used to signify that this LCD monitor is not a LCD monitor, something completely new. This is not the case with what Samsung is doing with the term “LED TV”.
If you look at Samsung’s TV portion of its website (clipped above), the company’s intentions with the term “LED TV” is clear: it wants to separate it out as a different type of TV compared to LCD TV or plasma TV. Samsung wants you to believe that LED TV is not a LCD TV. The fact of the matter is that the “LED TV” that Samsung is referring to is actually a LCD TV. I cannot stress that enough. I have had several of my friends ask me what I thought about the new LED TVs that are now coming out into the market. They were surprised to hear that these are not a new type of TV but a LCD TV with a different light source. What Samsung is doing has created a lot of confusion among consumers. In my opinion, the company’s practice of using the term “LED TV” is dangerously close to false advertising.
Thanks to the precedent set forth by Samsung, LCD monitors that make use of LED backlight technology is now starting to be called a “LED Monitor”. This term also misleads consumers into thinking that it is a new kind of monitor and different from a LCD monitor. I would expect many of my friends will soon be asking me what my thoughts are regarding the new LED monitors and how they are better than LCD monitors.
PS: Large billboards that you see in cities are in fact made of LEDs and these are called, correctly so, LED displays. LED displays use LEDs as the primary method of displaying text and graphics. The LEDs are not only the light source but the main technology to control brightness and color.