How to choose the right display for your content: introduction to pixel pitch

Today I’m talking about LED pixel pitch.

If you’ve ever browsed the features of a screen of any kind, you’ve already come across this term. The pixel pitch defines the size of a single pixel in any display or video projection.

But what is a pixel?

To understand what a pixel is, just think of a mosaic. Any display or video projection is composed of many pieces of a mosaic, the pixels precisely.
If the display you are using has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels it means that you are looking at the images on a mosaic of 1920×1080 tiles.

Obviously, the greater the number of tiles in your mosaic compared to the total size, the greater the definition of the image that is reproduced.

Returning to the pixel pitch, we can say that the latter defines the size of the mosaic tiles of your display.

A few practical examples:
Your computer’s display may have a diagonal 15 “size and 1920×12000 resolution.
In this case, your display will have a size of 320 meters horizontally and 200 vertically, resulting in a 0.167mm pixel pitch
The TV of your home, with a size of 55 “and a 4K resolution (3840×2160).
Horizontal dimension in 1220 millimeters and vertical 680, 0.31mm pixel pitch.
The cinema screen where you take your children:
A size of 12 meters of base and 6.32 of height for a resolution of 4096×2160 pixels, pixel pitch 2.93mm.
The screen of the latest iPhone Xs: size 5.8 “and resolution 2436 × 1125.
Horizontal dimension in millimeters of 129.58 and therefore a pixel pitch of 0.053mm.

As you can see from the examples I have given you, the pixel pitch varies in a very important way based on the screen you are viewing and is always proportionate to the viewing distance.

“Ok everything clear, but then how do I choose the right display for my content?”

The answer, of course, is that it DEPENDS.

It depends on a series of variables that I now show you:
The content: does the video you need to run on your display already exist or do you have to create it ad hoc?
The viewing distance: how far do you expect your viewer to enjoy the content?
The environment: is the display to be placed in a very bright place? Outdoors? At the fair? Or in a very intimate and cared for environment?

Let’s go with order:

The content

If your video already exists, you must first consider its size and proportions. Most of the videos that are produced are FHD (1920×1080) or 4K (3840×2160). This, depending on the production company that made them from the production year. To date, many professionals still work with FHD, but 4K is spreading more and more.

The horizontal / vertical proportion of these two formats is 16/9, the current standard. It should be taken into consideration that all the somewhat dated content you may have, up until the time of the DVDs to understand, could be in the old PAL format, that is, with a H / V ratio of 4/3 and with a maximum resolution of 720×576.

So, if your content already exists, it is advisable to use a display that respects the proportions, so as to avoid cuts or deformations to adapt the content to the display.

You can know the size of your video in pixels by opening it with VLC on your computer and clicking on Window -> Media Information -> Codec Detail
Tools-> Encoder Information

If instead the content is produced based on the display, you can give vent to all your creativity; Here are some examples of creative displays:

How to choose the right display for your content: introduction to pixel pitch

Producing content based on your display is essential if you use a creative display, but it is also very useful if you use a traditional display. In fact, it is possible on all modern screens to reproduce content at 60 frames per second, for example.
I refer you to another article about the explanation of how and why to produce high frequency content on large displays [Hi frequency content: why produce hi FPS content for your display].

The viewing distance:

As can be seen from the example above, it is very important to assess how far your audience will view the images.
Let’s take the example of a trade fair stand.
If your display is positioned in the lane, or just inside the stand, your audience will be able to view it very closely. Even if the display is large, it is advisable to keep the pixel pitch as low as possible, so you can enjoy the images up close.
If, on the other hand, your display is positioned high above 2 meters, for example, and is visible from a distance of at least 4 meters, you can easily switch to a 3 or 4 mm step LED without letting your user perceive an unpleasant display. .
Let’s take as a further example the most common LED currently on the rental market: the 2.8mm
With this LED it is very common to construct displays of approximately 4 meters of base. A display of this type is appreciable at least 2 or 3 meters away. If your audience is closer, my advice is to stay on a smaller display, but still one of impact. For example an 80 or 100 inches.
A traditional display, but of that size, will still attract the attention of your audience and allow a much better display of the content.

How to choose the right display for your content: introduction to pixel pitch

Also remember that if you have FHD content and you want to display it on a 2.8mm LED, you will need an LED of about 11 meters of base for 6 of height to see all the pixels!

How to choose the right display for your content: introduction to pixel pitch

Better then, in many cases, to be on a video monitor of seamless monitors, which has an extremely higher definition, with a pixel pitch of about 0.5 mm. It is a solution that allows you to have large surfaces and resolutions while maintaining a comfortable vision even from very close.

How to choose the right display for your content: introduction to pixel pitch

The environment:

The amount of light present where you will install the display is the last factor to consider, but not the least important.
If you are in a controlled light environment, the most cost effective solution is definitely the video projection.
With video projectors it is possible to make very large screens with an extremely limited budget and installation difficulty.
In exhibition environments, any display is right for you, but the video projection will certainly be evaluated very carefully, going to build structures to protect it from light pollution.
If, on the other hand, you are in a state of exposure to daylight (outside or shop windows), you can surely forget the video projection and pay close attention to the display you are choosing. In this case, the brightness and contrast of the display must be evaluated.
The brightness is usually reported in “nit”, that is in candles per square meter.
A normal TV has a maximum brightness in nit of 200/300. The screen of a normal 50/80 nit laptop, that of a macbook pro up to about 130.
A professional display has at least 500, usually 700 and then there are outdoor LEDs that can even reach 5000, to be displayed even if directly illuminated by sunlight.
So be careful when choosing, for example, the monitor to be placed on your stand. Having a 200 nit mall display is quite different than having a professional 700 nit display!

I hope the article was useful to you! If so, share it with your colleagues and if you want to make a comment or ask me for a consultation do not hesitate to contact me!

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