What is an LED?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LEDs are much different and far more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. LEDs consume far less electricity, requiring only 1/10 to 1/40 the energy of incandescent bulbs. And light bulbs burn out relatively quickly; LEDs can last for over 100,000 hours.
What is a Pixel?
Basically, it is as simple as this: a pixel is a cluster of two or more LEDs, each delivering a single point of light or color. Some pixels are clusters of single colored LEDs; the pixels used in color signs combine red, green, and blue LEDs. Arranged in rows and columns, thousands of pixels go into every LED sign.
What does "pitch" mean?
The pitch of an LED sign is the distance between each pixel. If a pitch is 16mm, that means that each pixel (or LED cluster) is 16 millimeters apart. Smaller numbers mean a "tighter pitch". The closer the pixels (or the tighter the pitch), the crisper and more realistic your image appears, especially when viewed from shorter distances.
LEDs and Viewing Angle
The Viewing Angle refers to the angle from which an LED display is seen by passersby. When you look at an LED straight on, it is at full brightness. As you view the LED from different directions, the brightness changes and the image becomes less clear. This is typical for all LED signs, but some have a wider viewing angle, allowing you to see more of the image.
Determining Maximum Viewing Distance
Estimate one inch of character height for every fifty feet of viewing distance to determine the best character size for your location.
Example: 2” text is readable to about 100 feet.
LED signs work this way. Viewed up close, they're a jumble of colored dots. As you back away from the display, the dots become less noticeable. Eventually, your eyes stop paying attention to the display structure and concentrate instead on the images being formed. Depending on how coarse or fine the matrix of LEDs, this distance will vary from tens to hundreds of feet.
The matrix area is also known as the pixel matrix, which corresponds to the number of pixels that make up the display area. Electronic LED signs describe the matrix area by the number of pixels vertically by the number of pixels horizontally. For example, 16x80 (16 vertical rows by 80 horizontal rows).
The matrix of an LED sign determines how many characters will fit on a line, and how many lines will fit on a particular display.
Resolution is the degree of sharpness and clarity of a displayed image. In electronic LED signs, resolution is based on two primary factors, the matrix area and pitch.
The matrix area is also known as the pixel matrix, which corresponds to the number of pixels that make up the display area. Electronic LED displays describe the matrix area by the number of pixels vertically by the number of pixels horizontally. For example, 16x80 (16 vertical rows by 80 horizontal rows).
The Standard Character Matrix
A LED sign will utilize a matrix of 7 pixels x 5 pixels to show standard English characters.
Lines of Characters on a LED Sign
Because a space is needed between lines of characters, eight pixel rows are required to display a standard row of characters on a LED sign. A LED sign with 16 pixel rows will show two lines of characters. 24 pixels will display 3 lines, etc.
Number of Characters on a LED Sign
Because a space is needed between characters, it requires six pixel columns to display each standard character. Consequently a LED sign with 64 pixel columns will display 10 characters, 80 columns will display 13 characters, etc.