- 1 What local array dimming is
- 2 The Function of LED TVs
- 3 Does local array dimming apply to mini-LED TVs?
- 4 Does Local Array Dimming Exist on OLED TVs?
- 5 Does Local Array Dimming Pay Off?
- 6 What Number of Local Array Dimming Zones Are Required?
- 7 OLED Is Exempt from Local Array Dimming
- 8 Final Words
“Local array dimming” is one of the most used buzzwords in LED LCD marketing. Theoretically, local dimming can maintain the bright areas of the screen bright while dimming the necessary areas of the screen. With the use of this technology, images can be produced with more contrast. Obtaining the most intense highlights possible with High Dynamic Range (HDR) content is also crucial.
However, not all forms of local dimming operate in the same way, and some are more effective than others. This article is an elaboration and distillation of a brief explanation of the longer LED LCD backlights. For much more details, see that article. Read on if local dimming is the only thing that interests you.
What local array dimming is
OLED displays have higher contrast ratio potential than LED LCDs (or plasma, may it RIP). As a result, their photographs lack some of the depth and three-dimensionality that other technologies can provide.
To enhance the performance of LED LCDs, local dimming was created. You can increase apparent contrast ratio by keeping bright areas of the screen that should be bright (like a nearby window with light coming through it) and dimming areas of the screen that should be dark (like a character in shadow, perhaps). Local dimming has developed along with LCD technology. Local array dimming was modified to function with these TVs as the LCD industry shifted to the less expensive, narrower edge-lit techniques.
Full-array local dimming
The whole shebang is here. The name alludes to a collection of individual LEDs that are arranged behind the LCD panel and are all directed at your eyes through the screen. The front LCD layer being removed to reveal the LED backlight would result in the mock-up example on the right.
The most popular approach is a predetermined number of “zones,” even though individual control of each of these LEDs would be ideal (but seldom accomplished). These could number in the dozens or more, depending on the TV. Sadly, the majority of manufacturers of LED TVs withhold the figure.
Each zone is in charge of a particular portion of the screen. Stars in the night sky are an example of an object smaller than the zone that does not benefit from the local array dimming and may appear muted as a result. Additionally, if a zone is lighted but its surrounding zone isn’t, you might notice a halo or bloom around the lit zone as it becomes brighter than the unlit zone. The term “blooming” refers to this object.
The greatest visuals you can obtain from an LCD are produced by full-array backlit local dimming. Additionally, it always costs more than TVs from the same manufacturer that use one of the other backlighting technologies covered below.
Full local array dimming is the greatest option for displaying HDR material on an LCD.
Size and price are drawbacks. There is more depth compared to edge-lit models since the LEDs must be slightly offset from the screen (the farther away, the less you need to cover the same area).
Most manufacturers’ top-of-the-line models come with a comprehensive variety, but not always. Edge-lit TVs are much more prevalent because they are thinner and less expensive to manufacture. It’s crucial to verify the specs (or our evaluations) to see which models are full array as “local array dimming” is now a catch-all phrase.
Local edge lighting dimming
Edge-lit LED LCDs are the most popular type. All of the LEDs on edge-lit LCD TVs are oriented toward the center of the screen.
In this situation, the term “local array dimming” is somewhat ambiguous. Yes, the TV may still darken portions of the screen, but as you can see in the image above, those portions are considerably larger than they would be with full array.
In the worst situation, the “local array dimming” would be almost undetectable or might dull large portions of the screen at once, neither of which would be advantageous. In other circumstances, it might produce a worse picture.
In the best situation, the picture quality is noticeably better, though not by as much as there would be with full array. Although certain models may still offer Wide Color Gamut, HDR’s pinpoint highlights are not achievable here (which is related to HDR, but separate).
Edge-lit local array dimming can behave very differently depending on where the LEDs are placed (along all four sides of the screen, just the right and left, just the top and bottom, or just the bottom or the top).
Visit LED LCD backlights explained for a complete explanation of all the various approaches as well as examples of how each might appear in real-world settings.
The final trick will make the entire screen darker with dark situations and brighter with bright ones, although it won’t truly be “local” array dimming, more like “dimming,” or perhaps “global array dimming.” Meaning that the entire backlight serves as a single source of light. The cheapest LCD TVs frequently have this.
On many of these models, for instance, the LEDs will totally turn off when presented with a fully black screen (similar to the fade-out that occurs before a movie’s credits), giving the illusion that the TV has excellent black levels.
Of course, this is a hoax. The LEDs turn back on if anything should show, and the black level rises, revealing the TV’s actual (and much more subdued) contrast ratio. The LEDs can be turned off to save a little bit of electricity, however this can be annoying visually.
Another variation on this theme adjusts the entire illumination down during darker scenes based on the scene’s average brightness. Again, because the entire screen is darker, the black levels get better, but the brilliant highlights suffer. This occasionally results in observable changes in overall brightness.
The Function of LED TVs
You must first have a basic understanding of how TVs operate in order to comprehend what full-array local array dimming is. Most TVs on the market today use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, which are small lights that shoot light through filters to create images.
The LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, which opens and closes to allow a specific quantity of light to shine through at the pixel level, is one of the most significant filters in a TV. However, even with the LCD panel closed all the way, some LED light will still be visible.
The range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image that a TV can display is called the contrast ratio, and LCD TVs typically have low contrast ratios. Low contrast results in blacks that aren’t as dark as they should be, dull colors, and an overall “washed-out” appearance to the image.
Since contrast is so crucial, “local array dimming” is a feature that TV manufacturers have implemented to enhance the picture quality of LED TVs.
Does local array dimming apply to mini-LED TVs?
With the introduction of Mini-LED TVs, TV producers began to reduce the size of the backlights so as to have more control over them. Mini-LEDs are typically 200 microns thick, compared to the typical 1,000 microns (or 0.04 inches) of conventional LEDs (or 0.02 inches). As a result, the TV can have more local dimming zones, improving contrast ratio.
The necessity for local array dimming is best illustrated by mini-LED TVs. As an illustration, LG just unveiled new Mini-LED TVs with 30,000 LED lights but only 2,500 dimming zones. In each dimming zone, the TV therefore mixes roughly 10 LEDs.
Does Local Array Dimming Exist on OLED TVs?
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs, in contrast to conventional LED TVs, allow for individual pixel control. As a result, you can get the deepest blacks and a virtually perfect contrast ratio in gloomy scenarios by totally turning off the pixels. Because each pixel essentially serves as its own local array dimming zone, OLED TVs don’t require local array dimming zones.
Micro-LED TVs are now being produced by several TV makers because OLED TVs have a risk of burn-in and don’t get very bright. Because each pixel requires a red, blue, and green LED, the LED lights in these brand-new models are smaller than the size of a pixel. Therefore, a 4K TV would require roughly 25 million LED lights, which is one of the reasons these devices are now so expensive.
Does Local Array Dimming Pay Off?
Local array dimming will almost always be more cost-effective in the long term if you want the best picture quality but aren’t prepared to spend a lot of money on an OLED or micro-LED TV. Some LED TVs have so many local array dimming zones that they resemble OLED TVs nearly exactly.
Additionally, you can always turn off the local array dimming option by going into your TV’s settings if you don’t like it.
What Number of Local Array Dimming Zones Are Required?
Modern TVs can have hundreds or even thousands of local array dimming zones. The most value for your money will, however, likely come from a TV having a large number of local array dimming zones. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that your TV will require more dimming zones the larger it gets.
The starfield test can be used to evaluate a TV’s dimming capabilities. Next, scan the area surrounding each star for any light that may be emerging from the night sky. You might even be able to make out small squares of light encircling the stars if you look closely enough; they will help you determine how large your dimming zones are.
Additionally, when a bright object moves across a dark background, local array dimming can interfere with motion. This is due to the possibility that the LED zones won’t be able to turn on and off rapidly enough, leaving a trail of light in their wake. This test will allow you to determine the speed of your local array dimming feature.
OLED Is Exempt from Local Array Dimming
Local array dimming zones are not a concern if you plan to purchase an OLED television. Each pixel in an OLED display may provide its own light output since OLEDs are self-emissive. Since there is no backlight, there is no need to dim one.
Don’t trust the marketing hoopla, at least not at face value, sums up everything. The picture quality can be approached by using local dimming. The image would be pleasing, if not the best in its class, or it could provide some improvement over standard TVs. Or, it might be a marketing term for a product that offers little to no advantage at all. The best way to find out is to read evaluations, where TVs with good local dimming perform exceptionally well.
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