By 2011, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will become the primary light source for LCD flat panel televisions according to a recent report from DisplaySearch.

The research firm estimates that 56% share of all LCD televisions will be illuminated by LED, up from 27.8% in 2009. Currently most LCD televisions use fluorescent tubes (CCFL and EEFL).

The primary benefit for consumers of using LED illumination for backlighting an LCD panel (and it's a big one) is to improve black levels. When watching High definition video, a television with poor black levels results in a poor quality video image because the colours are washed out, shadow areas look gray, and overall the picture looks flat.

The superior black levels that LED lighting provides give the viewer a sense of greater depth in the video image along with more vibrant colours. Additional benefits from LED backlighting are reduced power consumption, longer bulb life and much thinner LCD panels. Some new LED driven panels are less than one inch thick!

Growth in the use of LED backlighting is expected to accelerate as manufacturers continue to reduce the cost of production.

The following chart highlights the expected growth of LED backlighting in coming years.

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