Large Format Display Technologies and What You Need to Know
When considering what to choose for a display solution, Large Format Displays or LFD’s are often a better choice as they are offering increasingly lower price points as the volume of sales and production efficiency increase. In fact, according to a recent report by Research and Markets, the large format display (LFD) market was valued at $9.51 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $14.93 Billion by 2023.
Ranging in sizes from 32 inches to over 100 inches, the versatility to fit application needs and budget constraints is now much easier than ever before. But, when considering a display solution, there are many aspects to take into account such as whether it will service a classroom or conference room, restaurant or retail space? Does it need to be interactive? Will it be located indoors or outdoors? There are several nuances to display technologies that you’ll also want to consider when making the right choice.
The most common resolutions for LFDs are Full HD (also called 1080p), with almost two million pixels (e.g. 1,920 x 1,020), and 4K (or 4K UHD), with about eight million pixels (e.g. 3,840 x 2,160). Currently, many manufacturers offer dual format (1080p and 4K), but this trend will change as they move towards a static 4K format. 4K is undeniably the better experience. In the case of 1080p, 1,080 vertical lines make up that high definition resolution, while 4K features 2,160 pixels vertically—a big difference that is plainly visible and even awe inspiring. With a 4K screen, the viewer can be positioned much closer to the screen without seeing the pixelation that would occur on a lower definition screen. The cost for 4K is higher however, and depending on the application, may or may not be warranted.
Brightness is described in nits when it comes to displays. The higher the number of nits, the brighter the screen. Common brightness requirements are 800 to 1,500 nits for indoor displays and 1,500 to 2,500 nits for indoor displays in direct sunlight. For outdoors, up to 5,000 nits is generally recommended and for those in direct sunlight, 5,000+ nits is recommended. Additionally, keep in mind that all screens lose brightness over time so purchasing an LFD that has a calibrated brightness 25-50% above the required nits for a given space may be prudent.
- LED vs. LCD
Of the two technologies, LED is currently the leader. LED’s require less maintenance and have a longer life span of 100,000 hours compared to 30,000 to 50,000 for LCD’s. LED’s also provide higher contrast in the presence of ambient light. Design capabilities with LED’s afford much flexibility, as displays can be virtually any size or shape, whereas LCD’s are typically only rectangular in shape. For video wall applications, LED’s can give a seamless appearance since they have no beveled edge, as their LCD counterparts do. However, this is changing as LCD’s are being produced with smaller and smaller bezeled edges.
Overall, LCD’s still provide a good solution to many applications as they are bright and offer very high resolution. They are also still more affordable than LED’s, though costs are consistently decreasing for LED’s.
- Pixel Pitch
The distance from pixel to pixel, or pixel pitch, dictates the distance a viewer can get to the screen before the image degrades and becomes too coarse to be discernible. LCD’s currently have smaller pixel pitches, typically at 0.5mm to 0.6 mm while LED’s are still hovering around 2mm-5mm. The newer narrow pixel pitch (NPP) LED’s are now available at 0.9mm, so the LED’s are beginning to catch up and therefore become more suitable for applications that require close-up viewing, but LCD’s still have the edge for now.
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