Finer pixel pitches and lower costs have made direct LED displays a viable option for digital signage and other indoor applications. AV News looks at the technical advances and the operational requirements for LED modules in its first ever detailed report on the subject.
LED display modules used to be very much a minority sport, with a small number of suppliers serving a niche market. But things are changing: Jonathan Cooper, Business Development Consultant for NEC Display Solutions, describes the trends: “It is slowly moving into the main stream as the expectation of what organisations seek to communicate broadens and a number of factors evolve.”
“In particular, the number of requests for LED is increasing where static posters are changing to dynamic posters. Also, buildings are being used as communication tools with the use of LED lighting and mesh. New markets are appearing too with Education (Higher) embracing LED and cinema chains looking to update their posters to a more dynamic solution. Signage must be a key opportunity too. The desires of organisations are still quite rightly tempered by the planning departments of local government seeking to control the growth in the market of LED walls externally.”
Steve Scorse VP for SiliconCore within EMEA, concurs: “The use of LED has certainly become more prolific and taken over from other technologies in a growing number of applications in recent years. The developments such as the invention of Common Cathode LED systems have hugely improved the resolution and display quality, opening up the market to new applications. This technology also enables LED to be used in environments where sustainability is higher up the agenda, such as the corporate market, who also need closer proximity viewing. In major sports events this year alone, LED was used in the snow at the Winter Olympics, as an overview display in Chess championships, in the America cup sailing. It’s pretty much everywhere.”
SiliconCore Technology recently launched the Magnolia 1.5mm pixel pitch LED display. Driven by Common Cathode technology (see the box below for an explanation, the 1.5 mm pixel pitch display makes direct view LED displays an option for close proximity applications. Scorse explains: “The 1.5mm LED display is suitable for shorter viewing distances, resulting in the resolution of a videowall but with far superior image quality. The technology is modular so it can be configured for any size or shape, without any seams, gaps or bezels.”
“Typical applications include corporate lobbies and conference suites, high-end signage in retail environments, VIP areas in sporting arenas and large format displays for command and control centres. The very tight pixel pitch of the Magnolia results in the elimination of Moiré effects and, combined with the specialised circuitry that eliminates ghosting, these displays are particularly well suited for TV broadcast studio applications.”
With these developments, a onetime minority sport for rental companies, and outdoor or semi-outdoor fixed installations at sporting venues and music events, is on the cusp of much broader adoption.
Read more about LED technology on page 14 in the AV News November 2013 issue