In a relatively short amount of time, LED Walls have taken over the display market. They went from an expensive novelty with limited applications, to something you can expect to see at nearly every venue.
According to the most recent outlook, the global market for LED Walls was 6.33 billion dollars and trending upward.
As the industry has grown, the average cost of an LED Wall has decreased, and smaller (fine pitch) displays have grown to nearly one-third of the market. More commercial venues and home theater projects have implemented small LED pixel displays.
There are dozens of manufactures worldwide, with the top eight manufacturers puling only 50% of the market share. With no monopoly in a relatively young market, there are hundreds of potential options for you. That’s information overload!
If you’re considering incorporating an LED Wall, or if you’re simply curious, you’ve come to the right place. It’s important to get educated before you make a decision, and it’s important to understand such a disruptive force in the technology world.
Here are a few things to know before you begin shopping. The two main competitors of LED Walls are LCD TV displays and projectors, so we’ll also look at some comparative factors between them all.
They Win In Terms Of Brightness And Clarity
Let’s start with the obvious. If you didn’t know, LED Walls are brighter than the rest! They have the potential to shine brighter than LCD and projectors.
If you’re curious about the technical details, LED displays are measured in terms of nits as opposed to lux. Nits are a measure of direct light rather than reflected light, as with projectors. One nit is about three times as bright as one lux.
Most LED Walls can be manually brightened or dimmed with the turn of a dial, and have a wider range of brightness than projectors and LCD displays. The higher brightness leads to greater contrast and image clarity!
Higher Investment, Less Maintenance
An LED Wall costs significantly more to purchase and install than other systems. While they used to cost multiple times more, now they only cost 15-50% more than a similarly sized display.
What you may not know is that they have far lower maintenance costs. Generally speaking, LED lights use half the electricity and last 30-50 times longer than incandescent lights as found in projector bulbs.
The caveat to this is that if your LED Wall is significantly larger than your previous display, it may end up using more electricity. Talk to an expert and find out the specific usage and whether your venue can handle it.
For most applications, you can expect your LED Wall to last 5 to 10 years, depending on the initial quality. This lifespan can be lengthened by keeping it dry, transporting it as little as possible, and keeping it in a temperature-controlled environment.
Projectors have a similar lifespan, but you can expect to change the bulb or lamp every 1,000 to 2,000 hours of use. Lamps tend to cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands depending on the variety of the projector.
Also regarding maintenance, most LCD displays require complete replacement when something happens to them. LED Walls often come with spare panels that you or an engineer can swap out and get repaired.
There Are Different Walls For Different Venues
As you consider LED Walls for your specific purpose, you need to consider how you want to use it.
The first thing to decide is whether it’s going to go indoors or outdoors. In outdoor settings, the panels need to be much brighter than they do in an indoor setting. An outdoor LED Wall could be 2.5 times brighter than one used for indoor, which uses more electricity and possibly different panels.
Additionally, some panels are manufactured for greater durability and weather resistance. This works well for outdoor concert venues and situations where the display needs to be packed up and moved.
If you’re going for a semi-permanent display in an indoor setting, your panels can be dimmer and less durable.
The other important setting to consider is the pixel pitch. This technical term can be thought of as the distance between each cluster of LEDs, ranging from less than a millimeter all the way up to ten millimeters or more.
A higher pixel pitch means fewer LED lights in the wall overall and tends to be optimally viewed from farther away. A lower pixel pitch makes for a higher number of clusters, higher resolution, and shorter viewing distance.
This is one of many technical terms discussed in our LED Wall Buyer’s Guide, and we go into more depth in another post! [Eventual Link To Pixel Pitch Post]
This presents one of the biggest advantages of LED Walls over LCD and projector displays. It is extremely easy to build your desired shape!
Projectors and LCD displays typically have fixed resolution, a small range of sizes, and of course, cannot change shape.
LED Walls tend to come in rectangular panels that are twice as long as they are wide, and they can be mounted in any configuration you desire. It could be a square, rectangle, circle, a split display, or even turned 45 degrees to make a diamond shape! The options are limited to your imagination.
They Require a Special Controller
This is different from a projector or TV, which typically has one output connecting a computer/media player to the display.
LED Walls come with their own controller computer in addition to whatever device you use to run display software. This controller helps translate your output, mapping it to the pixels on the wall in real-time. Controllers typically come with additional software providing more options and layers for the wall.
Be aware that when you purchase a wall, you’ll likely need to purchase a controller along with it. When you talk to an expert, make sure to ask about the controller.
They Take More Time to Obtain
You can typically go out and get an LCD TV today, or possibly even a projector that suits your needs. Larger TVs and projectors may take a few days or a week to get, but LED Walls can take weeks or months.
They require coming up with a budget, talking to a pro, often getting onto a waitlist, and a day or two for installation and training. Make sure you have budgeted a fair amount of time for a project like this.
It’s important to work with someone you can trust. You need to talk to an expert who can explain things well and answer any questions you may have. At ALTA, we have friendly engineers ready to talk to you about your project and set up your next win.