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LED Displays vs. Projection

By velocityav | July 14, 2017

LED Displays vs. Projection

The use of LED’s as a display has been around for decades. Originally LED displays were for outdoor use and utilized DIP LED’s which consists of a pattern of individual red, green and blue diodes that together produce the image you see on the screen. See DIP Image Below.

The latest technology in LED displays utilize SMD or, Surface Mounted Device, which acts as a single image diode. The SMD chip is made of the same individual red, green and blue diodes that are all together in one chipset. 
See SMD Images below.

DIP lamp technology is still in use today for most outdoor billboards and large format displays due to their
brightness and reliability. This is an acceptable application since the viewer is far enough away from
the display so that the image appears to be very sharp and clear. Image below of DIP vs SMD Module.

If you were to get closer to the display, you would have difficulty reading, and/or trying to determine what the image is on the display. This is where SMD Technology takes over. SMD Chipsets are used today for most indoor and outdoor applications for the Rental and Staging markets as they are usually temporary indoor/outdoor screens. Only a few years ago the highest resolution or pixel count on an outdoor display was 8mm to 10mm pitch. This number specifies the separation between each SMD chip or pixel. The smaller the number, the higher the resolution of the display. LED’s have a lamp life typically rated as 100,000 hours. Today, most temporary outdoor displays are 3mm-8mm in resolution.

Indoor LED displays can have resolutions as high as 1.2mm which can make a 4K LED display.
This type of display is very fragile and is used for permanent installation applications such as Advertising
or for TV Stations to be used as backdrops on the news desk sets. Most indoor events today use SMD chipsets
with pixel counts of 2.9mm to 6mm, with 3mm currently being the most commonly used.

LED displays have an advantage over projection due to how the image is seen. A projector must project the image onto a surface from a light reflected off a mirror surface. Sample of projection blur below.

This tends to blur the image even with the most expensive higher lumen projectors. All projectors using lamp technology tend to lose brightness over time and typically have a lamp life anywhere from 300 to 1,000 hours.

New laser projector technology has extended this life but these projectors still tend to blur at the projected surface. LED displays use direct light which results in a much sharper image and has a higher brightness capability.

Projector brightness is measured using “LUX” or “Lumens”, which is a reflected light measurement. LED displays are measured using “NITS” which is a direct light measurement. Because of the difference, LED displays can be used in direct sunlight with a NITS rating between 2000 and 5000 NITS, whereas a projector will not be able to project a visible image in direct sunlight.
This same principal applies to indoor LED displays. The displays can range from 1200 to 2500 NITS and results in an image much brighter with more contrast, better color saturation and replication than a projector can produce. It is very common today for an event to have all LED displays and no projection. Over the past couple of years, we have had several longtime clients request that we provide only LED displays going forward, and not to use projection as they love the higher resolution, clarity and color of the LED displays. Sample Photo of Center LED Display.

Velocity was an early adopter of LED Technology and has years of experience using LED displays. We have a large inventory of indoor and outdoor LED displays for all applications. Call Velocity today and find out how LED Technology can upgrade your event look and feel to help deliver your message.

Written by: Dave Howell – Owner, Velocity Audio Visual, Inc. (858)-279-2255