Digital Signage: Why pixel pitch matters

Content and pixelation tolerance
Going back to the situations mentioned earlier, the content in Scenario 1 is intended to be quickly consumed and processed in passing, to help influence the viewer’s purchasing habits in the store. The information conveyed is more important than the clarity or resolution of the images. The graphics will still need to be eye-catching and flashy, of course, but the tolerance for pixelation is relatively high.

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In a less open indoor environment, such as a sports bar, the average viewing distance will be relatively short.

The content in Scenario 2, on the other hand, is intended to attract, capture, hold and entertain customers at the resort bar for an extended period, during which they may consume food and beverages and encourage acquaintances to do the same, generating revenue for the facility. The tolerance for pixelation will be significantly lower than in Scenario 1.

When the pixel pitch for a given display area is reduced, the number of individual LEDs in that area is increased, translating into higher costs. In many applications, this is why pixel pitch becomes an important consideration. Digital signage operators may well adjust their expectations and find compromises in what can be done affordably.

So, the higher the resolution, the higher the cost of the display, due to the higher number of LEDs—but as described earlier, it is important to choose the right display based on the application conditions, not based on resolution alone.

Further, not all LED displays are created equal. A 4-mm (0.16-in.) pixel pitch display from one manufacturer will not necessarily produce the exact same image as one from another manufacturer.

It is important to perform an actual visual evaluation of each display under consideration. In addition to the factors mentioned herein, displays will also vary in brightness, colour contrast, off-axis viewing angle, power consumption and total cost of ownership (TCO).

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Brett Farley is director of sales and demand development for NanoLumens, which manufactures slim, light, energy-efficient LED displays. For more information, visit

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