LEDs and LED display solutions were first developed for commercial application purposes. However, they have become part and parcel of everyday life for both individuals and businesses. They have thousands of applications and offer various benefits compared with other types of display and lighting technology. Their most critical characteristics are that they can deliver ultra-bright illumination and high-quality images on a massive scale.
What is an LED (Light-Emitting Diode)
LED is an acronym for light-emitting diode. To put it in its simplest terms, it is a semiconductor device. When you pass an electric current through it, it emits light. The production of light happens when particles carrying the current (these are known as holes and electrons) combine within the semiconductor material.
They are also known as solid-state devices. This is a specific category of light that is entirely separate from other technology, such as tungsten halogen and incandescent lamps that use heated filaments and fluorescent lamps illuminated by way of a gas discharge.
Different types of LEDs
There is a wide selection of light-emitting diodes. When they were first invented, their application and impact were minimal. Nowadays, however, LED displays and LED technology have helped develop this type of light, and there are many types to choose from.
DIP LEDs or Dual In-Line Package LEDs are more traditional LED lights. It tends to be what most people think an LED looks like. A chip is encased within hard plastic, often with two straight parallel connecting pins.
SMD stands for Surface-Mounted Device and is a popular LED used for illumination. SMD chips are mounted in the bulb, and this helps to increase the brightness and makes them perfect for office and household applications.
COB stands for Chip on Board. This can produce a denser illumination level compared to SMDs. As a result, the lumen to watt ratio is better, which is a very efficient arrangement.
Also known as µLED or mLED, this LED technology uses minute devices to create colour pixels directly. This kind of display technology is highly efficient and can produce amazing-looking and flexible displays.
An OLED uses organic materials to create light. They are the result of the most recent technological LED innovation. It needs no backlight to function because visible light is produced when a current passes through it. The electroluminescent layer that emits light is a film or organic compound. Light is created when electricity is applied to this compound. As a result, OLEDs can produce brighter, crisper displays when used in electronic devices. They also need less power.
What is an LED Display?
‘LED display’ is a term that’s often used by manufacturers to describe the LED screen you find on a variety of different devices, such as mobile phones, PC monitors, and TVs.
An LED display is a term used to describe a flat panel display that uses LE diodes for its video wall display. They are very bright and produce a high level of light intensity which means you can have them indoors and outdoors.
Another advantage of LED displays is that they are very efficient and need small amounts of power.
How Does an LED Display Work?
LED displays contain several LED panels, which in turn have several LEDs that are very close together. The brightness of these can be varied, which means the diodes can jointly form images on the display.
Additive colour mixing is the principle used to create a bright colour image. The display only contains red, green and blue LE diodes mounted in a fixed pattern. However, it’s possible to create new colours by mixing the red, green and blue lights in different combination settings. When the three colours are combined, they form a pixel, and by carefully adjusting each diode’s intensity, it’s possible to create billions of colours. When you view LED screens from a specific distance, the combination of settings has the ability to form an image.
Many technical terms are used when learning about light-emitting diodes. Let’s explore some of the most common:
- Pixel Pitch: Pixel pitch is a term used to describe the pixel density on an LED display. It directly matches resolution. You’ll also find pixel pitch referred to as dot pitch or simply pitch. It is an indication of the space between one pixel and the adjacent pixel. When the pitch is small, it means there is a smaller space between each pixel. The small space equals improved screen resolution thanks to the higher pixel density.
- Pixel Density: Pixel density is often denoted by the initials PPI or Pixels Per Inch. It is a calculation that indicates the number of pixels per inch on a display or screen size. Pixel density is an important characteristic because it has increased dramatically alongside the development of high resolution of LED screens. A high PPI improves the quality of viewing and user experience.
- LED viewing angle: A light-emitting diode’s viewing angle is the maximum luminous intensity emitted perpendicular to the location of the LED chip. Also referred to as the beam angle, it measures the usable light emitted from a LED source. Viewing angles are measured vertically and horizontally and indicate at what range an image on an LE diode screen is fully visible without a negative image quality on the screen. When the brightness of a screen is high, the viewing angle is low.
- LED scan rate: The LED scan rate describes how many pixels are scanned at a time. When the scan rate panel indicates 1:16, 1/16th of the pixels are lit at the same time. When the scan rate is high, it means that the display’s brightness will also be higher. A higher scan rate also has a higher refresh rate. However, to balance this out, a higher scan rate tends to consume more energy.
What are the Different Types of LED Display Technology?
There are many types of LED display technology to choose from. Some of the most common design options include dot matrices, 7-segmented displays, light bars, and alphanumeric grid versions. Let’s look at two of the most common display types in more detail.
Dot Matrix display diodes utilize a very straightforward basic operating process. Individual diodes are turned on and off in a programmable sequence. Reasonable detail is possible with this kind of technology, but it very much depends on the diode array density and dot matrix resolution. Dot-matrix LED display technology is commonly used for hoardings, billboards, video wall displays, information displays, and digital signage.
7-segment displays utilize an arrangement of seven separate LED segments, each of which is arranged roughly in a figure-of-eight configuration. They are one of the most common LED display configurations, often used to provide a system of simple numeric readouts for a wide range of devices. This kind of display is better for displaying numerical information rather than lettering. Segmented technology displays can also be 14-segment LED displays, and 16-segment LED displays.
Main Benefits of LED Illumination and Display
LED illumination and screens offer many advantages over traditional forms of illumination and alternative forms of module display. They are very beneficial for the following reasons:
- Long life: LED components and the technology they use to generate light extends the lifespan of the bulb because they are more durable, energy-efficient, and have low heat levels. They have the potential to outlast other bulbs by several thousand hours in high-usage scenarios.
- Efficiency: They have a high lumen output per watt, which means they use almost three-quarters of their power to produce lumination. They have higher efficiency than any other bulb. For example, an LED bulb that is 6 watts can produce the same amount of lumination as a 40-watt incandescent bulb.
- Intensity and brightness: The light produced by an LED bulb is extremely bright. When purchasing LED bulbs and components, lumen output is far more relevant than wattage.
- Range of colour: The diodes alter colour rather than using gel filters typically used by incandescent bulbs. The colour of an LED bulb will never fade or change.
- Low heat generation: They generate very little heat, making them safer to use and perfect for use in heat-sensitive locations.
- Reliability: They can operate in cold temperatures, withstand impact and vibration. This makes them very reliable and ideal in locations that suffer inclement weather, temperature fluctuations, and jostling.
- Instantaneous illumination: You don’t have to wait for LED modules to reach maximum illumination. As soon as you switch one on, the LED operates at optimum brightness.
- Directional illumination: The illumination produced by LED modules is in one direction. This characteristic makes them ideal for recessed downlights and task lighting.
- Environmentally friendly: They use smaller amounts of power, are more durable, produce no ultraviolet or infrared radiation, and are ecologically sustainable.
- Programmable: It’s possible to program LED displays anywhere, as long as you’ve got a device with an internet connection and the correct circuit board.
Uses of LED Displays
You can use LED displays for a broad range of applications in various industries. You’ll find them more commonly used in department stores, retail, and commercial installations. However, you’ll also find them in consumer-grade and domestic equipment and media. In addition, they are incredibly versatile components popularly used in electronic devices, video walls, signs, and similar on-site applications.
Some application examples of LED displays include:
- Event digital timers and countdown clocks
- Basic calculators
- Number display boards
- Programmable displays for prices, information, and advertising in a department store
- DVD players
- Electronic meters
- Control rooms
- Ovens and microwaves
- Car speakers and stereos
- Digital shavers and scales
- Slot machines and arcade games
- Public/audience information and advertising and exhibition displays in shopping centres and events
- Video walls and similar media
- Large scale installation and control systems
- Airport information, news, display screens and LED signs
What are the Differences Between LED and LCD Displays?
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. It uses a layer of liquid between two pieces of polarized glass. It doesn’t produce its own illumination but uses lighting located behind the screen to illuminate the crystals. With LED display technology, it is LEDs that produce the backlighting.
LED displays last longer than LCD technology and produce better images and picture quality on-site. LED displays also have greater efficiency, and power consumption is less.
LEDs have a critical part to play in your everyday life and you’ll find them providing solutions all over the world. They are used in a large number of applications, from car music control systems and garden lights to TV displays, billboards, and text message transmission. Knowing more about how they work on-site and the different options means you’re better able to make an informed decision.
LEDs are very efficient, but how much power one uses depends on the type of LED display technology and screen sizes. The average power consumption of an indoor full-colour LED screen is around 500W, for example.
The service life of LED screens can range from between 80,000 to 120,000 hours. In real terms, this is equivalent to around two decades when you use it for an average of eight hours per day. This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of LEDs.
Resolution is an important factor when choosing an LED display, but the ability to produce high resolution is not always better. The determining factor should be how much resolution is enough for your purposes, rather than simply looking for the highest resolution possible. Low resolution shouldn’t be a problem if you want to display minimalistic or abstract graphics. If the content you want to display on a video wall, for example, contains a lot of detail, such as a message, text, photos, and logos, a higher resolution will be best.
The answer to this question is hard to quantify as there are so many variables. A large number of models have prices around a few hundred dollars, but the most expensive can cost tens of thousands of dollars.