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How to Buy an LED sign

What Type of Display Do I Need?

Monochrome, Full Color or Video – Which type of display is best for my application?

  • Monochrome – If you only need to display basic text messages or prices, a simple monochrome display should fit your needs. Gas stations, convenience stores and motels that display frequent price changes typically use single color price changers.
  • Full Color – if your messages are graphics based then a Full Color display will best serve your display requirements.
  • Full Color VIDEO – For a sports bar that wants to display sports highlights or a movie theater that wants to display movie trailers, a Full Color Video capable display would be the most appropriate choice.

Viewing Distance – Rule of Thumb is 1″ character height for every 35′ of viewing distance. 

The viewing distance between the LED display and its audience is one of the most important factors to consider in choosing an LED advertising display. Longer viewing distances require lower resolutions and closer viewing distances require higher resolutions. A sign on the freeway that needs to be legible from 600 feet away needs a 20″ high character, whereas a street-level sign 120′ away needs a 4″ high character to be legible.


Government Sign Regulations

In most U.S. cities and in some states, there are government regulations that dictate the size, height, and placement of LED signs and signs in general. In considering any new LED sign installation, it is very important to contact the local Planning Dept. or Inspections Dept. to determine the local sign restrictions. AD SYSTEMS can also assist you in contacting local officials.

Buyer Beware! – Caveat Emptor

There are only a few major U.S. LED sign suppliers, all offering nearly identical 5-year product warranties; however, there are countless offshore companies listed on the Internet that have no U.S. technical facilities and support personnel. These offshore suppliers usually offer low prices and products with a 2-3 year warranty that do not meet U.S. electrical regulations.

Virtual Pixel vs True Pixel – Don’t get fooled by the hype!

There are a few small LED companies that promote “virtual pixel” technology, also referred to as “pixel sharing”, “enhanced pixels” or “dynamic pixels”. These companies falsely claim, that by sharing LEDs from adjacent pixels, the resulting images have twice the resolution as a corresponding True Pixel display. For example, they claim that a 20mm 64×128 “virtual pixel” display has the same resolution as a 10mm 128×256 display. This isn’t true since one module pixel cannot memorize and hold the information from another module without the resulting images and colors becoming distorted.

With a True Pixel display, each pixel is distinct using individual groups of LEDs. The diode density of a True Pixel display has 4x the diode density of a virtual display, resulting in 4x the brightness, greater color depth, and better color accuracy. All of the major U.S. LED companies feature True Pixel technology rather than ‘virtual” display technology.

Pixel Comparison