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How Display Brightness Affects Your Digital Signage Application?

For years, businesses have been changing and improving their ways of communicating with their customers and audiences. In today’s world, consumers are asking for more information. In order to reach consumers, businesses need to improve the interaction with their audiences by utilizing digital signages.

When you want to purchase a digital signage, you need to take many aspects into consideration such as the display size, the useful life, and the cost. In our opinion, one of the most important aspects is the display brightness. Display brightness plays a very crucial role because it is directly related to the visibility of your visual displays.

Allow us to explain more about display brightness and other important parameters. You will understand why you should choose a
digital signage with the most suitable display brightness level.


Illuminance measures how much incident light (light that hits the surface) lights up the screen surface. The incident light could be natural light or any light that comes from any light source within the room or the space. Illuminance is measured in lux. In short, we can say that the surrounding is bright when the illuminance level is high.

Brightness & Luminance

Brightness is a subjective impression of how bright a screen display is, while luminance is the objective measurement of how much emitted light a screen display has. Luminance is measured in nit or candela per square meter (cd/m2). A screen display is bright when it has higher luminance level.

Digital Signage Luminance & Illuminance


When making purchase decisions, most users tend to ignore some important parameters. Beside of high brightness, you also need a digital signage which has the right contrast ratio, the comfortable viewing angle, and the anti-glare surface coating. These three parameters have direct relationships with the display brightness and they should never be overlooked.

Contrast ratio is the ratio between the luminance (brightness) level in the brightest white and the darkest black of an image. When the brightness difference between the brightest part and the darkest part increases, the contrast ratio becomes higher.

A contrast ratio of 1000:1 means that the full white is 1000 times brighter than the full black. An image with a high contrast ratio has brighter highlights and darker shadows.

Depending on the lighting condition of the surroundings, you might need different contrast ratios for different environments. However, a higher contrast ratio is preferred in most applications as it adds more details to the image and ensures an optimal viewing experience. Adding contrast can make an image looks more vibrant while decreasing contrast can make an image looks dull. 

Contrast Ratio

High contrast ratio vs low contrast ratio.

Viewing Angle

Viewing angle is the maximum angle at which a display can be viewed without a change of colour, contrast, and brightness. A zero-degree angle is when you are looking right in front of a screen. A 180-degree angle means the screen can be viewed completely from all directions (90-degree to left & right and 90-degree to top & bottom).

A wide viewing angle or an angle closer to 180-degree is better in ensuring an optimal viewing experience. Viewers can choose to stand at anywhere in front of the display and they can still have a clear viewing experience without any colour shift or change in brightness and contrast.

A digital signage with a wide viewing angle is extremely important especially when your target audience is none other than the pedestrians or walking customers in shopping malls. You want your audience to be able to view the content whether they are standing or walking. 

Viewing Angle


Glare is a phenomenon caused by extremely high luminance in an image. It is mostly caused by the intense brightness produced by the image itself or by the ambient light reflection on the screen surface. A glare is too bright for our eyes to handle, and thus viewers would not be able to view the details in the image.

Glare can affect viewing experience badly. Your digital signage will turn into a useless display if the content could not be viewed clearly. Glare is more obvious in the darker part of the screen. In order to reduce the effect caused by glare, you should pick a digital signage with less glossy screen surface or with anti-glare coating. You can also avoid placing your digital signage in direct sunlight or other strong light source.


In order to have a visible screen display, the display needs to have the appropriate brightness, contrast ratio and viewing angle. It also needs to have the ability to reduce glare. Most importantly, we need a screen which is brighter than its surroundings. The screen display will need a luminance level that is brighter than the maximum illuminance level of the surroundings.

In general, outdoor digital signages will need higher brightness level compared to indoor digital signages. However, take note that there are situations where you might need a higher brightness level for your indoor digital signage, especially when your digital signage is constantly exposed to sunlight or other light source.  

Is Higher Display Brightness Always the Best?

A great feature comes with a greater price. Digital signage that comes with a very high display brightness is more expensive. It is very important to find the right display brightness for your application. You do not need a display brightness level which is way higher than the illuminance level of the surroundings. A screen that is too bright can turn your digital signage into an ineffective display. Viewers might feel discomfort when reading a very bright screen.

Besides, a digital signage with higher display brightness will consume more power than those with lower display brightness. Using the wrong display brightness will achieve nothing but a waste of money.

So, when should you use a very high display brightness? When should you use a lower display brightness? And what are the most suitable display brightness for different kinds of application? Take a look at the recommended display brightness for different use case scenarios in the table below. 

Digital Signage Display Brightness

Recommended Display Brightness by NEC Whitepaper, 2015.

For indoor application, you need a display brightness which is higher than the ambient brightness. The general rule is you can use a display brightness that doubles the illuminance level. In most indoor cases, a maximum display brightness level of 1,000 to 1,500 nits is good enough to ensure a clear and a great viewing experience.

On the other hand, a maximum display brightness level of 2,500 nits is good enough for most
outdoor applications. You may go for a higher brightness level under some extreme cases such as places with strong direct sunlight.

However, if you find that the ambient brightness varies throughout the day, or you are seeking flexibility in your application, some digital signages offer adjustable display brightness. These digital signages have light sensors and they are capable of adjusting the display brightness level accordingly to the illuminance level of the surroundings. For example, an outdoor digital signage can have a higher display brightness during daytime. When night falls, the digital signage will lower its display brightness to ensure a better viewing experience at night. 


There are valid reasons why commercial digital signages exist. Every tool serves its own purpose. When it comes to retail advertising or commercial usage, digital signage is always better than consumer TV. Display brightness is one of the most crucial aspects in ensuring a great viewing experience. Always get yourself a professional consultation and a right display. It can help you to achieve more in your business. 

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