DisplaySearch: LED Costs Less Overall

The display market research firm DisplaySearch has released its latest “Quarterly TV Design and Features Report” for Q2’11, in which the company points out the energy-savings advantages of LED backlights for LCD HDTVs. An analysis of 40″ LCD TVs shows that consumers will save money over the life of the television set in spite of paying more for a model with an LED backlight.

For the average U.S. consumer, the payback period is just over five years. In spite of recent trends toward shorter replacement cycles, I expect that a 40″ set purchased today is likely to still be in use ten years from now, so it looks as though the extra cost for an LED backlight is worth it in the long run. (I also expect that energy costs are likely to rise, which presumably makes the analysis even more favorable for the LED model.) Higher energy costs reduce the payback estimate; DisplaySearch puts it at under four years for California consumers, and less than two years for consumers in Western Europe.

If you’re looking for a practical reason to justify going with a more expensive LED backlit model, this may be what you need. On the other hand, the energy savings advantage may soon be moot. DisplaySearch expects LED backlights to outnumber CCFL backlights two to one next year, with CCFL disappearing almost completely by 2015. So you won’t have to struggle with the choice much longer.