It’s not easy to pitch a more expensive system when a seemingly comparable system is available at a cheaper cost. That’s the case with direct-view LED displays and video walls versus their LCD counterparts.
To the layman, it does seem that there are few differences between LCD video walls and direct view LED video walls outside of the bezels. As the price gap increases those bezels may become easier to deal with.
However, smart decision makers know that the differences between direct view LED and LCD video walls are much more staggering than simple seams on the screen.
Giving the decision makers a clear return on investment explanation makes them feel better about the price of a direct view LED system. Perhaps more importantly, though, it gives them the ammunition to make a case to those that need to approve the purchase internally.
Consider these topics when you’re pitching a direct view LED system:
Customization and Aesthetic
Outside of control rooms and larger boardrooms, video walls are most often used as a visual stimulant and distributor of information. Retail spaces, lobbies, digital billboard in cities and on the side of highways – this is where you’ll likely run into large-scale video walls.
They offer a variant aesthetic and tell those visiting that the space is owned by a high-tech, forward-looking company.
Walk into the lobby of a building in any major city and you expect to see a rectangular video wall. It’s becoming commonplace, and doesn’t deliver that same message of forward-thinking that it did ten years ago. Instead, it’s a standard. If your business or org wants to rise above that standard? Move on to the next iteration of the technology.
“You can do a lot of creative layouts, like columns, curves around structures, and you can even have the display wrap around a corner,” says Mark Miller, product specialist for NEC. “There’s a lot of versatility in that regard.”
Direct view LED video walls don’t have the bezels that LCD video walls have.
They’re seamless, and come across as a larger-than-life single display when looked at with non-technical eyes. Even in a standard, rectangular form there is a clear indication of a step up in technology.
The systems can be curved and cut into any shape imaginable. They can be made to fit with the architecture and enhance the aesthetic of a space. They help the customer stand out – and why does anyone need a video wall other than to stand out?
Application and Location
Depending on the space that a video wall is going to be placed, direct view LED may be the best available option regardless of price. Direct view LED video walls offer bright images for bright spaces, and don’t suffer from glare when awash with direct sunlight.
“With direct view LED, each pixel is an LED bulb, if you will,” says Miller. “You’re able to get a super bright image in spite of ambient light. What’s cool about it is you can scale it to any size without any seams going across the image.”
Outdoor applications are the most obvious consideration here. Those screens will be out in the sunlight all day. There isn’t much sense in spending all of the money on an LCD video wall just to see faded, washed out images on a bright day.
Moving indoors doesn’t automatically solve the problem. Modern architects are increasingly turning to large windows that let in greater amounts of ambient light to communal spaces – which means more ambient light hitting indoor video walls as well. When that’s the case, again, there’s no sense is spending money on a video wall that’s going to be washed out.
“In areas where there’s a lot of ambient light, direct view LED is the right solution,” says Miller. “With a lot of light coming in the image can be washed out with LCD, even more so with projectors. Direct view LED, even in direct sunlight, the image is still going to pop.”
“It may not always be the right fit. There are a lot of situational and environmental factors to consider,” says Miller.
“If there’s constant vibration there’s certain considerations because the pixel cards are held on to the screen via magnet, so it could have the possibility of falling off. If there’s magnetic dust it can get attached to the screen. Possible exposure to oily smoke like menu boards, the oil can damage the direct view LED so you can’t use it in that situation. They require regular cleaning if they’re in a dirtier environment.”
Don’t push a direct view LED screen where it doesn’t make sense. There are plenty of applications where it does.
Quality and Support
“The LEDs we used are called Multi-Color LEDs,” says Miller.
“There’s a certain failure called the caterpillar effect – they’re hardened against that by the way they are designed. They stand up to humidity better than standard LEDs. They’re a higher quality LED.
“We also have a full, dedicated team for LED. They handle the installs for people – our team would handle the site survey, go out, and actually install the LED for them. We also are certifying certain resellers to install our LEDs. We offer a class they can attend to learn how to install our specific LED. They go through a training and certification process,” says Miller.