Buying tips: does mini-LED matter?
An LED backlight in a TV was a high-tech feature at one time, but now even mainstream sets use LED backlights. What’s less common is mini-LED backlighting, where an array of tiny lamps are used to illuminate the TV’s LCD display panel.
As with quantum dots, different TV brands use different terms to indicate the presence of mini-LED backlighting in their sets. Samsung, for instance, calls its mini-LED models “Neo QLED,” while LG, Sony, TCL, and Hisense all just use the term mini-LED.
A key advantage mini-LED offers over regular LED TVs is that the smaller lamp modules used in the backlight allow for finer control over local dimming. That’s a process where the individual modules are grouped in zones and dimmed according to the brightness level of the onscreen image. For example, the LED zones in shadowy parts of the picture will be dimmed or shut off completely, while bright highlight areas get a full blast of light.
With a higher density of LED modules spread across the backlight, mini-LED TVs can also deliver higher overall brightness, with some sets like Samsung’s QN95B having twice as much or more measured light output as regular LED-lit TVs. That Samsung model is the company’s top-of-the-line Neo QLED offering, but even more affordable mini-LED TVs like the Hisense U8H series can provide almost as high peak brightness.
Where that extra light output will matter is if you’re going to be watching in a well-lit room – daytime sports viewing, for example. But it can also help bring out the full level of highlight detail in HDR sources by reducing the need for tone mapping, a process where the TV scales the brightness range of programs to accommodate its maximum light output capability.
To sum up, mini-LED can make a difference when viewing in rooms with bright lighting conditions, and it also adds a welcome level of visual punch when watching movies and TV shows with HDR. It’s a feature you’ll pay extra for, but for some folks it will be well worth it.
Do not miss this 65-inch LG C1 deal!
This is one incredible Black Friday OLED TV deal, especially for gamers, but also for movie lovers. You can now get the 65-inch LG C1 OLED TV for just $1,197 (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab) at Amazon, which is the lowest it’s ever been priced.
Amazon has listed its previous price as $2,499, which is not really correct – that was its launch price. Most recently, it cost about $1,500, which was the lowest it had even been before, so we’re still getting a 20% drop here from its previous best.
The LG C1 is a model from 2021, and when we reviewed it we gave it five stars and raved about its image quality and future-proofed technology. There’s now a newer version (the LG C2) that improves image quality further… but does it for a higher price. At just just $1,200, this catapults the LG C1 back into being excellent value.
Welcome to Black Friday, TV lovers!
The big deals day is here! Thanks for joining our live coverage of all the latest Black Friday TV deals.
We’ve been following the deals all month, so we’ve been keeping track of great deals that are still live, and new deals that have launch for Black Friday itself.
Our team of AV experts has been doing the combing through the sales, looking for discounts on TVs we rate the most (or that are just so big and juicy we have to tell you about them), and we’re bringing them here to you today.
And don’t forget streaming services too! There are some great deals going on there too, so we’ll explore those too, and why we think they’re worth buying now.