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How LED Screens Work, a Comprehensive Guide

insane impact max mobile led screen team

How do LED Screens Work?

When you’re in the market for a big, bright screen, it’s important to understand what you’re buying before you invest. If you’re starting with the basics of screen technology and looking for answers on why a modular or mobile LED wall is the best choice, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re ready to dig a little deeper, just reach out! We’re happy to answer any technical or practical questions that come to mind.

What does LED stand for?

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. This acronym refers to a technology that allows screens to produce lots of light, with little electricity. Along with the technology of a light-emitting diode comes the specific requirements like power adapters, or drivers that assist in regulating voltage. The technology is extremely durable. In the early 90s, it was advanced to include red, green, and blue colored lights, which were developed into what we now use in LED screens.

LED Screen with Insane Impact branding

What are LED displays?

LED displays are flat-panel displays that use individual light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as pixels to create images on a screen. The diodes (that’s the “D” in LED) are electricity conductors that, when a voltage is run to them, light up. When varying voltage is applied to each individual LED, they shine at various levels of brightness, creating images. There are multiple types of LED display panel types with differences that make them better for different usages. These types include lightbar, dot matrix, 7-segment, 14-segment and 16-segment.

When were LED displays invented?

The first LED display was invented in 1962 by an engineer at General Electric. Due to technical limitations of the time, it could only produce monochrome red images. Despite continuous development over the decades, full-color LED screens weren’t available until the late 1980s. You might remember from early science lessons that incandescent light, you know Edison, is a result of a heated filament. Well, the light produced by an LED is actually considered cold light because it is generated within the diode itself. This is a much more effective and efficient way to produce light.

Are LED displays good?

LED is the best choice for a variety of screens for multiple reasons. First, LED is extremely energy-efficient. Its low energy consumption makes it ideal for rechargeable handheld devices like phones, tablets, and laptops. Second, LEDs can be arranged in very dense arrays (thousands of cells very close together), which means they allow for incredibly detailed, crisp static and moving imagery. Third, LED screens produce very bright images, which makes them fantastic for outdoor use and for viewing at a distance. They can be illuminated brightly enough for viewing at night or in bright sunlight.

Is LED better than LCD?

LED is a type of LCD! LCD stands for liquid crystal display. The crystals are what determine how much illumination is displayed in each pixel (or diode, in the case of LED) at any given time. As a broad category, most LCDs have made way for LEDs. Instead of using CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) to illuminate each pixel, most modern LCDs use LED.

Is an LED screen worth it?

Yes, an LED display is worth the investment. When you’re trying to capture the attention of a large crowd, there’s no other display on the market today that’s as bright and captivating.  LED displays can be used in almost any weather condition, at any time of day. They don’t consume a lot of electricity to power their high refresh rate and dazzling color. Plus, depending on how often you’re using your LED screen, they can last a very long time.

LED screen at a concert by Insane Impact

How do I know which LED display is right for me?

Internet research can only get you so far. When you’re serious about an LED display screen purchase, reach out to the experts at Insane Impact. With an understanding of your goals and use cases, we can ensure you make the perfect choice of LED display.

Screens are one of those things we all use, but few of us actually understand how they work.

At Insane Impact, LED screens are what we do. We build custom solutions to create unforgettable experiences and it all starts with a little light.


Red, green, and blue (RGB) are the three basic light colors that make up every visible color. LED screens have many red, green, and blue LEDs expertly placed to create the picture you see. Mixing hue (level of color) and saturation (lightness or darkness) those three colors of LEDs make any color and image.


Resolution is a combination of the number of pixels and how close they are together. Here’s how it works. LEDs are grouped in RGB groups. The grouping is called a pixel. The distance between pixels is called pixel pitch.

Still with me? An average high-definition television will have a resolution of 1920p x 1080p with anywhere between 3mm to 6mm pixel pitch. That means there are 2,073,600 pixels and they are roughly 3-6mm from one another.

However, the further away you are from a screen the fewer pixels and higher pixel pitch you need. That’s the way our eyes work. Looking at a MAX 2313, our 23 ft by13 ft screen, is a lot different for our eyes to take in than 72 in television. You view a television anywhere from 10 ft to 30 ft away, but you’d view a 23 ft screen across a football field. It makes a higher resolution unnecessary because your eyes won’t really be able to tell the difference at a distance.

The next functional component of a screen is called NITS. Nits measure the brightness of the screen. You can have all the pixels as close together as possible, but if you don’t have the proper brightness you won’t be able to see them. When it comes to brightness, the brighter the space you are viewing the greater NITS needed. We recommend a minimum of 5000 NITS for viewing in direct sunlight.


All of the functional components of your screen are only of value if your content is designed for it. For example, you wouldn’t try to view a 4k blu-ray on a high-definition screen. The resolution of the content is too much for the screen. The best viewing experience is when the content is designed to be compatible with the way it is being displayed.

Did you know graphic designers and photographers use different color types depending on how it will be viewed? They actually design in RGB for digital content so that it will appear properly on an LED screen.

It’s our job to help you create a display that will connect you with your audience. Give one of our representatives a call and we’ll get started.