What is an LED? How does it work? How do I know what products are right for me?
Are you asking yourself the right questions? Let us help you understand LED a little more. PixelFLEX prides itself on carrying products for virtually any type of installation you can dream of. In today’s digital world, LED can be utilized for basic messaging, all the way to high-resolution video playback. From concerts and events, to permanent install for advertising or branding in your retail or corporate environment, LED can transform your space to an unforgettable one.
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What is an LED? | Brightness | Resolution | LED vs Projection | Brightness Comparison | Cost Comparison
What is an LED?
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits visible light when an electric current passes through it. It requires much less power, making it very efficient and making its lifespan much longer than most other light elements. Unlike incandescent lamps, LEDs have no filaments that can burn out or fail.
Types of LED’s
Indoor LED Displays
SMD Red Green Blue LEDs in one package. Some outdoor displays do utilize SMD LEDs.
- SMD LED Advantages:
- Wide-viewing angle
- No color shift at extreme viewing angles
- Smooth color from short distance
Outdoor LED Displays
DIP Individual Red Green Blue LEDs
- DIP LED Advantages:
- Weather proof
- Extremely bright
- Great for longer viewing distance
Determining the right brightness for your application is extremely important. Having a screen that is not bright enough, or too bright, can render your installation useless and ineffective.
Here are a few things to consider when designing your LED wall:
- Indoor Brightness: 1000-1500 nits is enough for most indoor use
- Outdoor Brightness at close viewing: 2000-3000 nits is usually enough for most situations
- Outdoor Brightness with direct sun: up to 5,000 + nits should be enough in most situations
Pixel pitch is the physical distance measured in millimeters from the center of one pixel to its closest neighboring pixel. The higher the number, the less pixels and the lower the resolution; the smaller the number, the more pixels and higher the resolution. Let’s take one more step. Resolution is the number of pixels contained in the physical area of your LED display. The more pixels you have per square meter, the more detail your wall will display. Overall resolution is determined by display size, pixel technology, pixel pitch and viewing distance.
Here is an example showing resolution in 5mm steps from left to right, with the lowest resolution on the right.
Resolution vs Viewing Distance
Understanding how viewing distance and resolution correlate can not only help you better pair yourself with the right product but also save you a ton of money. Viewing distances are somewhat subjective, but can roughly be calculated based on the display type and the distance from the display. Each display will have a recommended minimum viewing distance that may vary based on application and your intended use.
The general rule is 3.28 feet per 1mm of resolution. Several factors can affect this practice such as screen size and viewing distance, but the chart above illustrates the accepted practice for the LED video display industry.
One aspect people seem to really worry about is text size on an LED display. Text is often misdesigned and can render your use ineffective if you are not careful. This can mostly be explained along with the following principle: The larger the character, the longer the viewing distance, while a small character will have a shorter viewing distance. The more pixel space and resolution you have, the better your content will appear.
LED vs Projection
Projectors and LED use two different forms of measurement when it comes to brightness. Projectors measure in LUX where LED measures in NIT.
3.426 LUX = 1 NIT
What does this mean?
It means a NIT is almost 3.5 times brighter than a LUX. This means LED walls can be run at 20-30% of its capable brightness, which in return prolongs the life of your LED wall!