What is Fine Pitch LED? And Where Does It Begin?
An increase in demand for high quality video displays has led to rapid technological progress in LED display technology. One of the obvious improvements is the dramatic change in the physical distance between pixels on the LED screen.
The physical distance between pixels or LED clusters is known as pixel pitch. Pixel pitch is measured in millimeters (mm). As technology advances, pixel pitch is getting smaller and higher resolution is becoming possible. When pixel pitch is getting smaller than 2.5mm, fine pitch LED is born.
Many are aware of fine pitch LED. But do you really understand what is fine pitch LED?
Years Before The Introduction of Fine Pitch LED
In the early 2000s, projection screening was the most common display technology for indoor display applications. The main methods used were Digital Light Processing (DLP) videowall, edge blending and large format projection screens.
In 2007, a new display product was introduced to the consumer market. It was the famous liquid-crystal display (LCD) television. The introduction of the LCD TV was a huge success. Since then, LCD TVs have managed to replace most of the cathode ray tube TVs in our living rooms.
Big players saw great opportunities in LCD displays. More advanced LCD display techniques were invented, and LCD managed to expand its range of applications, such as the smart phone display, tablet display and LCD screen advertising.
To achieve a greater screen size in LCD display, LCD video wall was introduced too. Multiple LCD displays are tiled together to create a larger screen display. The LCD video wall was a perfect solution for video broadcast and advertisements.
In the early 2010s, LCD display had great market dominance. When compared to the projector screen, LCD display has outstanding advantages. However, LCD display has some limitations too.
Interference or digital noise is one of the common issues found in LCD display that uses an analogue input. It is hard to remove the digital noise completely.
Besides, LCD display has limited viewing angle. Most of us have experienced the viewing angle issues when we are using the laptops. Colour, contrast, and brightness vary with our viewing angles. We have to view the laptop screens as straight as possible to eliminate the issue.
Introduction of The Fine Pitch LED
Competition arises when LED displays were introduced to the market. A LED display is a display that uses light-emitting diodes (LED). When comparison is made between a LCD display and a LED display with the same display size, the LED display has better resolution and a wider dynamic range. The LED display is also more energy-efficient and has a higher refresh rate.
It is very obvious that LED display has more advantages when it comes to meeting the consumers’ strict demand for a better viewing experience. Since then, LED display has taken the top spot in both outdoor and indoor display markets.
As technology advances, demand is evolving and changing at an incredible pace too. Consumers want better resolution and closer viewing distance. Pixel pitch is extremely important when it comes to screen resolution and viewing distance.
As mentioned above, the distance from the center of a pixel to the center of the adjacent pixel is known as pixel pitch. Smaller pixel pitch means higher pixel density. Higher pixel density means there are more pixels within a limited space. We can achieve a higher screen resolution with a smaller screen, as long as the pixel density is high enough.
Smaller pixel pitch also allows closer viewing distance. Outdoor LED screen generally has larger pixel pitch such as 10mm because it does not need to provide a close viewing experience. However, unlike outdoor LED screen, indoor LED display needs to serve viewers who might stand or sit closer to the screen. When the viewing distance is short and the pixel pitch is large, the image might look less defined with the distraction of discerning individual pixels.
Fine pitch LED display is thus introduced to tackle the increasing demand of higher resolution and closer viewing distance. Fine pitch LED display is a LED display with pixel pitch less than 2.5mm. At the current stage, the most common available distances are 0.8mm, 0.9mm, 1mm, 1.2mm, 1.3mm, 1.5mm, 1.6mm, 1.8mm, 2mm and 2.5mm.
Fine pitch LED has some competitive advantages. It has higher resolution and brightness. It also has high contrast and high refresh rate. Hence, it is said that fine pitch LED is one of the important factors in ensuring a superior visual performance.
There are a lot of good reasons to upgrade to the fine pitch LED. Fine pitch LED is a great alternative to LCD videowall or LCD display. Fine pitch LED screens are widely used in retail malls, central control rooms, meeting rooms and TV studios. It can a great solution to indoor advertising and indoor display.
However, is fine pitch LED or smaller pixel pitch always the best display solution under any situation?
Choose The Right Pixel Pitch For Your Application
It is undeniable that smaller pixel pitch is the key component in ensuring a higher resolution display and a closer viewing experience. However, we need to understand that every great product comes with a price.
Fine pitch LED is a beast when it comes to captivating viewing experience for any indoor application, but it is expensive too. The smaller the pixel pitch, the higher the production cost.
Therefore, a superior viewing experience is not about choosing the smallest pixel pitch or purchasing the most expensive product in the market. The most important is how you can get the best value for your application.
Every application is different. For example, you would not buy an outdoor LED screen to display your content in your store. The weatherproof feature is not an add-on benefit for your indoor application. It is an unnecessary cost.
Before making a purchase, it is very important to determine the optimal viewing distance for your application. If the viewer is not viewing the screen content within the optimal distance range, the quality of the viewing experience would decrease greatly. One has to do his own research to find out the optimal viewing distance.
One of the easier methods that can be used is the 10x Rule. The formula is to multiply the pixel pitch by 10. For example, the optimal viewing distance for a LED display with pixel pitch of 2.0mm is around 20 feet. Besides, most LED display manufacturers will publish their own guidelines in determining the optimal viewing distance for their display products.
However, both 10x Rule and the manufacturers’ guidelines should be served as references only. Ultimately, the optimal viewing distance can be any distance as long as the viewer feels comfortable.
Beside of the optimal viewing distance, display size is an important consideration too. Different pixel pitch will need different display size for a specific resolution. For example, you will need a roughly 4.9m x 2.7m display size for a Full HD resolution if your chosen pixel pitch is 2.5mm. If you want a smaller display size for the Full HD resolution, the only way is to choose a smaller pixel pitch.
Fine pitch LED display has earned its spot in the display market. It is already a beast, but big brand manufacturers are still spending billions in research and development. We believe the fine pitch LED display can get more attention when lower production cost is made possible due to technology advancement in the future.