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Curious about LED displays, what they’re made up of and how they work? We put together this guide to help you learn more about this new, exciting technology.

Are you ready to become a graduate of LED Academy? Let’s get started –

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about LED displays!

What is an LED Display?

LED display is a flat panel display that uses an array of light emitting diodes (LED) as the light source. This is in contrast to LCD display, which uses less efficient cold cathode fluorescent lamps as the backlighting. Due to the efficiency of LED, it is much more popular today in regular flat screen TV’s and video walls alike.

Read more: Are LED or LCD Displays Best for Your Next Event?

LED Display Capabilities

With an ultra-bright screen, LED displays are great for indoor and outdoor applications, alike. They can be seen perfectly in direct sunlight and are incredibly vivid at night or in the dark. Outdoor screens are generally weatherproof and will operate in rain or shine. 

Learn more about Getting the Most Out of Your LED Display

What is an LED Video Wall?

An LED video wall is a set of multiple displays linked together to form a single display. Individual video panels or tiles can be linked seamlessly to form unlimited sizes and shapes – making them popular for special indoor and outdoor events that require large displays or custom aspect ratios/shapes.

Basic Types of LED Walls

Outdoor LED

Outdoor LED panels are designed to withstand natures elements and can get extremely bright, so they can be seen under direct sunlight. Outdoor events that benefit from LED include concerts, festivals, tailgates, sporting events, and watch parties to name a few.

Indoor LED

Indoor LED video panels typically have higher resolutions due to the decreased viewing distances and are great for trade shows, worship events, press conferences, permanent LED installations, and more.

Mobile LED

Mobile video walls use led video display panels that are permanently constructed onto a truck or trailer. This significantly reduces setup time and is typically less expensive to rent due to decreased labor.

Modular LED

Modular LED walls are constructed on-site using trussing and rigging. Modular LED is popular for events that require a custom video size, ratio, or aesthetic. See a timelapse of our crew building an indoor modular LED video wall to the left! 

Learn More: 5 Benefits of a Mobile vs. Modular LED System

Understanding Image Resolution

Image or video resolution is the detail that an image or video holds. A pixel (sometimes referred to as “dot”) is the smallest addressable element in a display image. Thousands, sometimes millions of pixels combine to form one image or video frame. The more pixels an image or video has, the more detail that is displayed and the sharper/clearer the image is. The most popular way of measuring image resolution is the pixel count. For example, 1080p HD has a resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall.

Another useful form of measurement for image resolution – specifically with LED video walls – is “pixel pitch” or “dot pitch”. Pixel pitch is defined as the distance, in millimeters, from the center of one pixel to the center of the pixel adjacent to it. The lower the distance, the higher the pixel density which translates to a higher image resolution in a given amount of space. For example, if the pixels are 4.8 mm apart from each other, then that screen’s pixel pitch is 4.8mm, written as p4.8.

Another important measurement related to image resolution is aspect ratio. An image aspect ratio is the ratio of pixel width to pixel height, written as pixel width: pixel height. For example, a 1920x1080p display is technically a 1920:1080 aspect ratio. However, we want to simplify 1920:1080, thus a 1920x1080p display is a 16:9 ratio. 16:9 ratios are today’s standard display ratio. You can learn everything you need to know about aspect ratios and video walls here

pixel pitch guide

Pixel Pitch Viewing Distance

Pixel pitch is important to consider in relation to the viewing distance of an led video wall. If a video board has a high pixel pitch (low relative resolution) then the viewer will need to be a far distance from the screen in order for it to appear clear. High pitch screens, such as 20 to 30mm, are common with billboards due to the far-distance viewing. And conversely, an image with a low or “tight” pitch will appear clearer from a closer distance. That is why indoor events typically want a tight pitch.

LED Brightness

The brightness level is important to consider when using LED. If it is not bright enough under sunlight, it will not be visible, and if it is too bright at night time it can strain viewers’ eyes. The unit of measurement for LED brightness is nits. Here is a general guide in determining nit requirements:

  • Indoor  Brightness: 1,000 – 1,500 nits
  • Outdoor Brightness: 2,000 – 3,000 nits
  • Outdoor Brightness Under Direct Sunlight: LED panels may need to output as much as 5,000+ nits

Another important thing to consider with brightness is power. All LED screens require different amounts of power to run at their full brightness capacity. For example, our 6mm outdoor SMD LED panels require 1 20 amp breaker for every 5 panels. So for a video wall that is 9 panels wide by 5 panels high, power requirements would be 9 20 amp breakers.




All pixels consist of the three colors: Red, Green, and Blue (RGB). DIP LED has these three colors separated, whereas SMD has these three colors soldered into a single, seamless square. In general, both LED styles appear the same from normal viewing distances, but SMD LED allows for brighter display and tighter pitches.

The Moire Pattern

The moire pattern is an effect that takes place when photographic or videotaping an LED display, posing a big challenge. The resulting patterns and colors can all but ruin a photograph or video of an LED display, so knowing how to combat the issue is a must for any professional in the event technology industry. The moire pattern occurs when the pixel structure of the photo/video device conflicts with the pixel structure of an LED screen. Because it needs to be seen from a distance, an LED screen has a lower pixel density and larger pixel size than your camera, which needs a high resolution for a variety of applications. 

Learn moreabout removing the moire pattern here.

What Does IP Rating Mean for LED Displays?

Ingress protection (IP) is a rating system that determines how effective a given piece of electronic equipment, such as an LED display, can resist harmful external elements. The IP rating provides a standard way to measure the quality of a piece of electronic equipment’s seal. For example, if you want to host an outdoor event that could be subject to rain or dust, you’ll need an LED display screen that has an IP rating near IP65 to ensure it stays powered on. 

Written as a two-digit number, with the prefix “IP”, the first digit represents the ingress protection against solid objects, such as dust and dirt, and the second digit represents IP against liquids, such as rain or melting snow. The first digit (protection from solids) ranges from 0 to 7, where 0 indicates no protection and 7 indicates 100% dust tightness. The second digit (moisture protection) ranges from 0 to 9, where 0 represents no protection and 9 represents protection from full prolonged immersion under water. For the optimal viewing experience, whether indoor or outdoor, rent an LED display that has the best IP rating for your specific applications. Click the link below to find out more about how IP ratings create a better audience experience.

Learn more about IP Rating for LED Displays here.