With Indoor LED Signage, You Should Say You Want A Resolution

April 26, 2016 by Dave Haynes


It’s just been in the last two or three weeks that conversations I’ve had about those super fine pixel pitch LED displays coming on the market started to include references to their resolutions. Until then, the chatter had always focused on the steadily shrinking gaps between the LED lights – what’s called the pixel pitch.

I’d seen, at DSE, displays that referenced 720P and 1080P, but they also more expressly made hay about being 1.2mm pixel pitch, or whatever the size. I also had a recent chat with a manufacturer exec who suggested I needed to start thinking less about pixel pitch and more about the resolution.

Then last week, at the giant NAB broadcasting show in Las Vegas, Leyard and Planar’s combo booth had what it touted as an 8K indoor LED wall. I’d never heard of 4K LED, never mind 8K.

Which brings me to this very helpful note from Steve Seminario, the VP of Product Marketing for Leyard and Planar Systems (which now owns Planar). The company wanted to add a little more knowledge and clarity on why resolution is part of the indoor LED conversation.

“In the not-too-distant past, you never heard about resolution with regard to direct view LED,” says Seminario. “When the state of the art for indoor LED was 4-6mm pitch, the focus was on filling a large area with pixels, running custom-scaled content and supporting viewing distances of 40-60 feet. Hitting an exact resolution was not a real consideration, and LED display manufacturers didn’t even design their LED displays to be able to hit popular resolutions like Full HD or 4K exactly when tiled into a wall.”

“As LED display pitches have gotten below 2mm,” continues Seminario, “they’ve become a compelling alternative to existing high-resolution video wall technologies, like narrow bezel LCD or rear-projection or 4K projection. At pitches like what we demonstrated at NAB – 1.2mm and 0.9mm – direct view LED becomes an excellent solution for close-viewing applications such as conference rooms, auditoriums, control rooms, high-end retail, broadcast and even high-end home.”

High-end home??? Whoa.

“Customers with those types of applications are typically using a lot of full HD, 4K and other 16:9 aspect ratio content.   They care about minimum viewing distance, and they care about hitting exact resolutions  — the two characteristics we optimized for in the LED walls we demonstrated at NAB.”

 Here’s how it broke down at NAB, if this helps clear some of the fog about resolution: 

The 8K resolution 1.2mm video wall at the Leyard booth was an 8 x 8 set-up of Leyard TWA displays that hit 8K (7,680 x 4,320) exactly. 

At 1.2, says Seminario, viewing distances as close as 10 feet are very comfortable. 

Based on the photos I saw and social media buzz, the 8K wall was impressive and got a lot of attention. It also ended up winning a pile of Best of Show NAB awards.

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