The Clear and Colorful World of Direct View LED Displays
Indoors or outdoors, Direct View LED displays offer strong, detailed images.
- by John Edwards
- Veteran Business Technology Journalist | February 08, 2018
The evolution of display technology has yielded a new crop of higher-resolution light-emitting diode (LED) systems. These Direct View LED displays, which feature better image quality and lower pixel pitch than many other video technologies, deliver an exciting new option for a wide range of imaginative indoor and outdoor applications.
“The future of large displays, at least near term, will likely revolve around LED Direct View technology,” says Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst for the Enderle Group.
The Direct View LED Advantage
Unlike conventional LCD screens found in living rooms and offices worldwide, Direct View LED panels are based on an array of light-emitting diodes. “Instead of LEDs serving as a backlight, as in an LCD display, Direct View LED displays produce images by themselves via LEDs — each diode forms the actual display pixel,” says Chris Mcintyre-Brown, associate director of Futuresource Consulting.
This results in images that are brighter and offer better contrast than traditional displays, with no tangible loss of quality. Each LED pixel can generate more than 16.7 billion colors. Meanwhile, the tighter pixel pitch offered by current Direct View LED displays boosts resolution, enhances image detail and improves close-up viewing.
Compared to conventional LCD screens, Direct View offers powerful, clear and detailed images that are perfectly suited for a wide range of indoor and outdoor applications. A bezel-less modular design allows nearly infinite configurations with a 160-degree viewing angle, enabling the display to be seen from almost any vantage point.
Building a Video Wall
Because Direct View LED panels have no image-disrupting bezels, they can be tiled together to form a seamless video wall.
“No-bezel, large screens create the ‘wow’ factor,” says Chris Mcintyre-Brown, associate director of Futuresource Consulting.
Organizations deploying these displays don’t have to settle for a flat video wall. Panels can be mounted on virtually any interior or exterior surface: vertical, curved, concave or convex. Video wall controllers, which can be either built into each panel or integrated later, simplify the management of content and information across multiple screens.
Pixel pitch, which determines how close someone can approach a display before starting to see individual pixels, is an important consideration when selecting a Direct View LED panel for use in a video wall. Also important is how the video wall will be supported. Panels attached to non-loading bearing walls, for instance, can flex over time, potentially affecting the viewing experience.
For organizations that address these considerations effectively, Direct View LED opens a staggering number of possibilities. “When you consider all of the unique application and installation benefits, as well as the projects already completed using this display technology, imagination is the only true hurdle,” says Dan Wheeler, key account manager of digital signage for LG Electronics USA Business Solutions.
Since Direct View LED is a component-based system, the number of ways it can be used is essentially limitless. “From lobbies to conference rooms, it can be suspended or mounted flush to a wall,” says Lenny Kleyman, senior business development manager for Samsung. “It’s used in retail, hospitality, control rooms, transportation and corporate verticals. Anywhere a large image of any shape and size is needed, Direct View LED is the solution.”
Retail displays: Direct View LED displays can show the fine details of an advertisement, present information clearly and create a compelling ambience. These capabilities make it ideal for retail environments.
“Digital signage is changing the face of our public spaces and enriching the experience with informational messages, entertainment and architectural ambiance,” says Nick Begleries, director of channel sales for Leyard and Planar Systems.
Outdoor signage: Direct View LED displays are often used to enhance the entertainment value in outdoor venues, thanks to their sharp picture quality, even from far distances, says Daniel Wheeler, key account manager of digital signage for LG Electronics USA Business Solutions.
Direct View LEDs are more durable than other display technologies, enabling them to withstand harsh conditions and maintain image quality over time. They also create a unique atmosphere in arenas and stadiums, capturing the excitement of the event and maximizing the fan experience. The displays can also be used as wayfinding tools to help fans find their seats and can deliver live event feeds when fans are away from their seats.
Corporate environments: Existing projection systems, LCD video walls and other types of conference room installations have been staples in corporate settings for years, but Direct View LED offers some distinct advantages over these displays. “Direct View LED displays do not have bezels to break the image up, an issue with LCD video walls,” Kleyman says. “Nor do they suffer from brightness issues that projectors face, so there is no need for blackout shades or control of light in a conference room.”
Workspaces: Direct View LED displays can also be used on the desktop for creative multitasking. “Unlike flat-panel displays, LED display panels can be assembled in a curved arrangement, allowing for complex and interesting designs while sustaining a wide 160-degree viewing angle,” says Grant Wylie, senior product manager for LED solutions at NEC Display Solutions. “With the ability to add more components, these displays can also be any width and any height.”
Control centers: Command and operations facilities need highly visible displays for mission-critical tasks. Since Direct View LED panels are bezel-less, an entire multipanel display appears as a single flat or curved surface. “It can also be installed in spaces where there is either rear or front access or both for service,” Kleyman says.
Planning for Direct View LED
Organizations looking to adopt Direct View LED displays should consider several important factors when planning a deployment. “Each application is unique, but key factors include installation environment, including size, indoor/outdoor application and exposure to light, as well as desired brightness and pixel pitch,” Wheeler advises. Pixel pitch, for instance, affects the resolution and optimal viewing distance. The lower the pixel pitch, the greater the number of pixels and, therefore, the greater the resolution from further viewing distances.
Direct View LED displays are regarded as a key step in the evolution of large image displays. “Anywhere you want to create a large image, a Direct View LED will be the ideal solution because it produces a bezel-free image, has a long lamp life, is easy to install and maintain, and can scale to almost any size project,” Kleyman says.