Narrow Pitch Outdoor Is LED’s Next Big Leap Forward

December 1, 2023 by guest author, Larry Zoll

Guest post: Larry Zoll, LED Studio

We’re fortunate to work in an industry that innovates quickly, changes the way people interact with their surroundings and has the capability to excite and captivate. Nowhere has this been more evident than the past decade, with big leaps in technology moving us from DIP displays, to SMD, to FlipChip, and now to Chip On Board.

Each evolution has increased our ability to engage, astound and surprise. Working in the large format display industry for almost 15 years at this point, I’ve had the opportunity to work on these projects from an owner’s perspective, from a design and consulting perspective, and now from a manufacturer’s standpoint. Knowing what I know now, I couldn’t be more excited about what this industry will continue to bring to the public in the very near future.

Outdoor displays have not evolved quite as quickly as their indoor counterparts over the past five years. The technology had reached a plateau where the same 8mm and 10mm pitch displays were able to achieve the necessary resolutions for most spectaculars and billboards. In the meantime, the ever-shrinking pitch on interior displays has allowed designers to push the envelope and blur the lines between static and interactive spaces.

More and more people expect their surroundings to respond to them in one way or another, and largely interior technology has been able to facilitate that demand. I’ve long asserted that one of the things that makes LED so interesting as a display technology is that it’s becoming a building material. That it’s becoming as ubiquitous as any other finish in certain markets, but still, this has largely been limited to interior spaces.

Designers, audiences, the general public are all searching for ways to bring that cutting edge design sense to exterior projects, as well.

The manufacturers who have a history of driving innovation and supplying the industry with products that grow, change, and evolve are out there. They started by making the existing products lighter, easier to install, and more power efficient. They started with increasing quality and not relying on the same designs that have worked outdoors for the last 10 years. They tested the waters with tighter pitches, in existing form factors. They’ve brought existing products down past the traditional 8mm, 10mm, and up to platforms that are 6mm, and under 4mm.

Those same manufacturers are pushing the envelope again, bringing new products that can withstand the elements at sub 2mm pixel pitches. They’re here. They’re in native LED Outdoor kiosks replacing unreliable outdoor LCDs. Temporary, time-dependent immersive experiences pioneered by outdoor projection mapping can be made permanent. As an industry we’re ready for the emergence of fixed, ground-level immersive installs.

This industry has given designers and architects the tools to change the way people interact with their environments, and that creative process is starting to take its next leap forward, bringing that creativity to exterior, pedestrian-level experiences. Seek out the manufacturers driving innovation in the market and you’ll see it’s here already.

I’m here for it, let’s do this.


Larry Zoll is the President of U.S. Operations for the UK-based LED Studio. Located in Swindon, west of London, LED Studio is a turnkey solution provider and manufacturer of indoor and outdoor LED displays for commercial, corporate, retail, rental, sports, stadia and digital signage applications.

  1. Marty Durksen says:

    Yep, we have had these for a while. 1.9, 1.5, and 1.2mm pitch.

    1. Dave Haynes says:

      Yeah, I know a few companies have started showing fine-pitch LED street displays. I think the adoption barrier is like the early days of indoor fine pitch. Media companies are intrigued, but they need to see prices dip down to outdoor LCD levels, or find a way to work out that the TCO over an operating lifespan makes sense versus LCD.

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