Pitches For Outdoor LED Displays Getting Fine Enough To Rival High-Bright LCD Units

May 16, 2023 by Dave Haynes

The high brightness outdoor LCD business has been at least a little insulated from the rise of LED displays because the pixel pitch for outdoor units wasn’t anywhere near tight enough to supplant LCDs for applications that had messaging that would be read at close quarters. Outdoor LED was great, at a distance.

But now we have at least two LED display manufacturers marketing product with pixel pitches tight enough to be viewed from relatively short distances, with resolutions crisp enough to handle at least some kinds of text.

SiliconCore was showing a 1.2mm pitch outdoor unit at ISE several months ago, and now Planar (Leyard) also has a 1.2mm outdoor display, this one using microLED.

The new Planar unit is part of its Luminate Ultra Series line of outdoor LED displays. It pushes up to 3,500 nits brightness (the preferred spec for outdoor displays) and is manufactured with a “proprietary coating” that ruggedizes the unit.

“An increasing number of customers are designing fully outdoor applications that demand close viewing distances and high pixel density,” says Steve Seminario, VP product marketing at Planar. “With Planar Luminate Ultra Series now supporting down to 1.2mm pitch, we are able to deliver the ruggedness, brightness and fine viewing characteristics that meet this challenge.” 

SiliconCore’s units push 4,000 nits and use a pair of its proprietary technologies – Lisa for protection and Common Cathode for its drivers.

There may well be other companies – particularly those mostly present in the Chinese market – that also have 1.2mm outdoor.

While companies that are focused on high brightness LCD displays are undoubtedly watching advances with LED, they’re still a little insulated – because of price. LCD video walls didn’t really start being supplanted by LED versions until the cost differential between the two started to seriously close, and the same applies here. I forget what I was told back at ISE about the 1.2mm price, but I do remember it was a big number.

I don’t know if 1.2mm is a fine enough pitch to do support legible drive-thru menus, but there are numerous applications – like DOOH street furniture totems – that could shift to LED as costs come down.

SiliconCore 1.2mm


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