A very simple description of an LED display is "a video display which uses light-emitting diodes to show or display a picture". You may be thinking that's pretty self-evident. Well, it may be, but in reality it expresses what an LED display is very neatly. Which is of utmost importance, especially when you factor in how marketing is used when describe items like LED TVs (I'll talk a bit about this later). You are probably most used to seeing LED displays being used as billboards and scoreboards or for signs outside shops. Usually these sorts of LED displays have very low resolution and normally you can sort of see the individual "pixels" being used. However, with advancements in electronics, we are seeing Light emitting diodes being used more and more - for example in torches and taillights. Heck, they are so good that we even have flexible screens made up of them.
We can classify LED displays into two distinct types. these are usually called conventional or surface-mounted LED panels. Conventional LED display panels are more than likely what you are used to seeing (on billboards or signs). Basically these are a collection of individual LEDs mounted onto a board. These consist of pixels which are square combinations of blue, green and red. The design is intrinsically unsuited to higher definition viewing and leaves us with the sort of pixelated look that these types of signs get. When we mount a group of red, green and blue LEDs onto an individual chip and then further mount it onto a PC board, we call it a surface mounted device panels or SMD for short. They have the advantage of being smaller than a pinhead which conventional displays are definitely not!. So, the surface mounted displays help us create panels which are better for closer viewing than conventional panels, basically getting rid of the pixelated look.
Now obviously, we have all heard of using LED displays in televisions - it is an obvious evolutionary step for the technology. Surface Mounted Display panels are ideal for home electronics because they are so small which allows for things like the flexible TV. Televisions with LED display panels tend to be thinner and lighter than before. Now, even though are only now becomming a reality for an average household, the first flat panel LED television screen was actually made in 1977 by a scientist who managed to create a prototype panel that was a quarter inch thin. Back in those days, blue LEDs were not as good as they are today which meant the prototype LED panel television was was made intentionally monochrome. The original research that created the prototype LED panel also recommended the use of LCDs in televisions as an alternative to CRT based models. 30 years later, we are at last beginning to make LED televisions en masse.
Display pannels that are LED based have given us light and thin televisions which is certainly better than the old clunky CRT screens. You also get better picture quality giving you the option of true high definition television, . However, as I mentioned originally, the strict definition of an LED panel is very important - especially if you are paying a premium for your LED TV. You see, marketing TVs is often about seeming to have better technology and unfortunately, electronics manufacturers started using the term LED TV to refer to televisions that simply use LEDs as backlighting rather than TVs that have an actual LED display panel. On the other hand, if you do your research carefully and you buy an LED panel TV, you will get fantastic image quality in a stylish thin and light television.