LED backlighting for LCD displays is clearly a hot topic in display design these days (see LCD backlighting using 2-D LED dimming boosts TV performance and saves power" and Turning LED backlights into gold: Can it be done?
.) But, as evidenced by recent new product introductions, good old-fashioned CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent) backlights are still alive and kicking, and may still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Consider the new low cost CCFL controller from Maxim, for example, which reduces the parts count in LCD monitors and TVs (see CCFL controller reduces BOM cost for LCD backlighting).
And from Endicott Research, a new line of "smart" CCFL inverters with better efficiency, wider dimming range, and more consistent current (see CCFL inverters have a very low profile.)
And a short while ago Fairchild introduced what they claimed was the most integrated CCFL inverter to date (see CCFL backlight inverter drive ICs simplify design and increase reliability).
Clearly, LED backlights have captured the spark and imagination of the design community. But so long as CCFLs remain the inexpensive tried and true solution for LCD lighting, they're likely to continue for some time to come.