13 Options For Fine Pixel-Pitch Indoor LED Displays

November 23, 2015 by guest author, Curtis Tilly

RGB led diode display panel. Selective focus. Shallow depth of field.

You’re probably seen those big, bright digital billboards along a busy highway in your city, in a place like Times Square or in the form of those monster screens looming over the field at major sports stadiums. They look amazing … until you get up close. A few feet away they look anything but amazing.

That owes to the pixel pitch – the distance between the individual LED lights that make up these giant displays. When outside, that distance is 10 mm or more apart from one another. Up close, those dispersed pixels pull the image apart. At a distance, our eyes don’t see the gaps and the images look tight and crisp. The giant billboard that ate Times Square looks amazing up above the street, but it only has a pixzel pitch of 10 mm. If you got a ladder and got up close (without getting arrested), you’d see the LED diode gaps.

LED has been taking over from traditional static signage for years now, but it hasn’t really found its way inside businesses. But that’s changing. Fine pixel pitch LED displays are showing up in the digital signage marketplace with increasing frequency. Just a few years ago, an LED display with a 6 mm pixel pitch dropped jaws. Now, there are products with a 0.8 mm pixel pitch, with visuals that look crisp – even just a foot or two away.

The finer the pixel pitch, the more these units tend to cost. It’s like the display business in general. The latest and greatest always tends to cost the most. The highest resolution LED walls for indoor use can set you back as much as $25,000 – per square meter. That means that if you were interested in a billboard-sized indoor display, you’d be looking to spend around $500,000, or more.

That high cost owes to the number of LED clusters in the display. Atlanta-based NanoLumens has a good explanation. Its 114? display with a 4 mm pixel pitch uses 247,760 pixels, whereas a 6 mm LED display of the same size uses 96,000. The more LED clusters in your display, the company explains, the higher the cost.

So why go down that path? The answer is fairly straightforward.

Active Vendors

Most of the early entries into the fine pixel pitch LED market were Chinese companies with little global brand recognition. They include companies like:

Not all the companies come from Shenzhen …

Recently, a number of more familiar names have entered the very fine pixel pitch market:

Sorting Out Distances

Quality, price, supply chain and support are all huge factors at play when choosing the right LED supplier. However, buyers also need to understand what the job really needs.  There’s little point to paying a premium for a very fine pitch LED display if the viewing audience won’t typically get close enough to discern the difference.

Using a 1.9 mm pixel pitch wall, when viewers are all seeing the screen from many meters away, is largely a waste of money – with the saved budget far better spent on ensuring there’s always great content.

So how do you determine what to use? Here’s the industry’s rule of thumb: Christie suggests an easy way is to take the number from the pixel pitch, multiply that number (not the mm part) by 8 feet, and what you’re left with is the optimal viewing distance of the screen in question.

An LED display with a 1.9 mm pixel pitch will look fantastic from 15 or more feet away. If you get closer than that, people with very good eyesight will start to see the visuals degrade as they get closer, but even from a few feet away it looks pretty good.

A pixel pitch of 4 mm will look great from 30 feet or so. Any closer, and the same thing happens.

Daktronics has a useful guide on viewing distances at the bottom of this product page …

For jobs that have the audience in very close quarters, LCD video walls with super narrow bezels are still the best, and far more affordable option. But the people selling those LCD walls have an increasingly challenging competitor in indoor LED.


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