When it comes to the LED vs. LCD video wall debate, it can be hard to pick a side. From the differences in technology to the picture quality and the carbon footprint. There are several factors that you will need to consider when choosing which solution is most suitable for your needs.
With the global video wall market set to grow by 11% by 2026, there has never been a better time to get to grips with these displays.
How do you choose a display with all of this information to consider though? Keep reading to find out.
|LED Video Wall||LCD Video Wall|
Low-end average $40,000-$50,000
Low-end average $5,000-$6,000
|Lighting type||Full array- even distribution of LEDs across the screen. This allows for local dimming that improves image quality by creating more contrast.||Series of lamps at the back of the screen. These are spread evenly giving a consistent display.|
LCDs are unable to do local dimming due to the display producing consistent lighting.
|Resolution||This will vary depending on the pixel pitch|
640 x 360 or 960 x 540
|1920 x 1080|
|Size||LED panels are smaller and can be combined in unique ways to fit any size required||LCD screens are larger restricting the space they can be combined in. Can create large displays but has a limit.|
|Brightness||Range from 600 nits to 6,000 nits||Range from 500 – 700 nits|
|Indoor/Outdoor use||Suitable for outdoor as well as indoor||Suitable for indoor use|
Local dimming can give parts of the screen a more authentic black to increase the contrast ratio.
Even light distribution limits the contrast.
What’s the difference?
To start with, all LED displays are just LCDs. Both use Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology and a series of lamps placed at the back of the screen to produce the images we see on our screens. LED screens use light-emitting diodes for backlights, while LCDs use fluorescent backlights.
LEDs can also have full array lighting. This is where the LEDs are placed evenly across the entire screen, in a similar way to an LCD. However, the important difference is that the LEDs have set zones and these zones can be dimmed. This is known as local dimming and can significantly improve picture quality. If a certain part of the screen needs to be darker, the zone of LEDs can be dimmed to create a truer black and an improved image contrast. LCD screens are not able to do this as they are constantly evenly lit.
Image quality is one of the most contentious issues when it comes to the LED vs. LCD video wall debate. LED displays generally have better picture quality compared to their LCD counterparts. From black levels to contrast and even colour accuracy, LED displays usually come out on top. LED screens with a full-array back-lit display capable of local dimming will provide the best picture quality.
In terms of viewing angle, there is usually no difference between LCD and LED video walls. This instead depends on the quality of the glass panel used.
Resolution affects the sharpness and clarity of the content displayed on a screen. This is particularly important for video walls as it will determine the appropriate viewing distance.
A higher resolution will keep your content looking clear while being viewed up close from a short distance away, while a lower resolution video wall will be better viewed from further away. This ties in with the pixel pitch which will be explained in the next section.
LCD displays offer a much higher resolution when compared to LED options. A 55″ LCD display will offer 1920 x 1080 resolution. When your video wall is completed, the total resolution of your wall will depend on how many panels it includes. For example, a 3×4 LCD video wall will have a total resolution of 5760 x 4320.
As LEDs can have differing pixel pitches their resolutions will vary. An LED with a pixel pitch of 1.26 will have a resolution of 960 x 540. Over the same 3×4 video wall display, this LED would offer a total resolution of 2880 x 2160.
With a much higher resolution, this makes LCDs ideal for indoor viewing. They’ll be able to maintain a clear and detailed image while being viewed from a short viewing distance, for example in a security and control room, simulation room, education facilities and more.
LED video walls are a great choice for outdoor locations where the display will be viewed from a distance, meaning that the resolution is less important.
Pixel pitch is the distance between each pixel on an LED panel. The higher the pixel pitch the greater the spacing between the LEDs which will result in lower image quality, while a lower pixel pitch will offer a higher image quality. This will be especially noticeable in close-up viewing environments such as a board room or reception because the details of the content will be lost and viewers will begin to see individual pixels and not a clear cohesive image.
Understanding what pixel pitch you would require for an LED video wall in your chosen location typically requires input from technical specialists. However, here are two you can calculate this yourself.
- Multiply the pixel pitch of an LED display by 3 to get the minimum distance in feet a viewer must be from the wall to be able to interpret the content
- Multiply the pixel pitch of an LED display by 10 for the ideal viewing experience
For example, an LED display with a pixel pitch of 5mm would require a viewer to be 15 feet away to make out any details in the video wall and 50 feet away to clearly view the content.
LCD displays have a much smaller pixel pitch than LED displays, which makes an LCD video wall ideal for showing more informative and detailed content. If your video wall is to be placed in a control room, conference room or reception area, then an LCD display will provide a high-quality experience for this close-distance viewing.
Where the display is going to be placed and the size needed are significant factors in which screen is right for you.
LCD video walls typically aren’t made as large as LED walls. Depending on the need, they can be configured differently but won’t go to the huge sizes LED walls can. LEDs can be as big as you need, one of the largest is in Beijing, which measures 250 m x 30 m (820 ft x 98 ft) for a total surface area of 7,500 m² (80,729 ft²). This display is made up of five extremely large LED screens to produce one continuous image.
Where you will be displaying your video wall will inform you of how bright you need the screens to be.
Higher brightness will be needed in a room with large windows and lots of light. However, in many control rooms being too bright will likely be a negative. If your employees are working around it for long periods they could suffer from headaches or eye strain. In this situation, an LCD would be the better option as there is no need for a particularly high brightness level.
Contrast is also something to consider. This is the difference between the screen’s brightest and darkest colours. The typical contrast ratio for LCD displays is 1500:1, while LEDs can achieve 5000:1. Full-array backlit LEDs can offer high brightness due to the backlighting but also a truer black with local dimming.
The environmental effects on the planet are now at the forefront of many companies’ minds when making decisions. You could be looking for a video wall solution that has a smaller carbon footprint or complies with your green policies.
Commercial LCDs consume less power than commercial LED displays. This is because LEDs require more energy to power their high-brightness capabilities. LCD panels produce an evenly lit display but don’t reach the same level of brightness that LEDs do. As a result, LCD video walls are able to consume much less energy.
A 55″ LCD display will typically consume around 250W of power at its peak, while a 55″ LED cabinet will be consuming around 600W.
If your main concern is budget, then LCD is the obvious choice. You can usually buy a much bigger LCD display for vastly less money than an LED. LCD video walls are generally much cheaper compared to similar-sized LED displays. The low-end average for an LCD video wall is $5,000-$6,000, while an LED display will cost you $40,000-$50,000.
This is the same when it comes to maintenance. LED screens are more expensive to maintain compared to LCD displays.
How will you display your content?
With both LCD and LED you’ll be able to daisy chain your screens or connect a video wall processor. Daisy chaining involves connecting an input, such as a media player to one screen and then linking the remaining screens together. You’ll then be able to display the content from the input across your display.
A video wall processor offers more control and customisation as it comes with in-built software. Your chosen video wall will be connected to the processor and then you’ll be able to drag and drop content around the display and even resize it to fit your requirements.
To learn more about video wall processors and how they work, read this article.
Now that you are armed with this knowledge on video walls, you can take the next step in deciding which solution will be best for you.
You can explore our LCD video wall range here.
LamasaTech is a leader in digital display technology with over 12 years of experience. We support customers across a range of industries including retail, military and defence, government and public sector, technology, hospitality and education, contact us today!