One thing that keeps me interested in my career is that our industry is ever-evolving as technologies are introduced and evolve over time. After 17 years of working in the world of Pro AV distribution, I never stop learning new things. Most recently, I was tasked with learning about dvLED to help support our sales team and customers on projects. While I still have a lot to learn, here are some key takeaways that I can share based on what I have learned thus far.
Pixel Pitch & Viewing Distance
The term pixel pitch was new to me, but it is one of the key factors to think about when designing a dvLED display project. Simply put, pixel pitch is the measurement, in mm, between the individual LEDs or pixels, measured from the center of one LED to the center of the LED adjacent to it. Naturally, as the pixel pitch value decreases, the resolution in a fixed size cabinet increases and allows for a closer optimal minimum viewing distance.
For this reason, it is important that you discuss with the client where the closest viewer will be in relation to the display so that you can choose a pixel pitch that is appropriate for the specific application, remembering that as pixel pitch decreases, the equipment cost increases. As a general rule of thumb that has been shared with me, you can multiply the pixel pitch by 10 to give you the approximate closest viewing distance in feet. For example, the recommended minimum viewing distance for a 2.5-pixel pitch wall would be 25 feet.
If you are like me, then often when you think about display resolution for common applications it is typically 1080p (1920×1080), WUXGA (1920×1200), or 4K (3840×2160), understanding that there are many others, but these are most common. With flat panel displays and projectors, the image size can vary while the resolution remains constant. For example, a 4K display can be 55” in diagonal, 98” in diagonal, or several other sizes, but the resolution will always be 4K. With projection, a native WUXGA projector, whether displaying a 110” diagonal image, a 216” diagonal image, or any size for that matter, the resolution will always be 1920×1200.
This is not the case with dvLED, as the individual LEDs (or “pixels”) mounted on the surface of the module are a fixed size, so that when the size of a dvLED display changes, so does the resolution. To illustrate this, let’s look at a dvLED panel that is 16:9, 27.5” in diagonal with a pixel pitch of 1.58. The resolution of this panel is 384×216. If you require a 1920×1080 display, you will need 25 panels in a 5×5 array making a 137.5” diagonal display, while if you require a 4K 3840×2160 display, you will need 100 panels in a 10×10 array making a 275” diagonal display, requiring four times the real estate!
In many cases, dvLED displays will either be wall-mounted or flown, although sometimes they can be ground stacked with the appropriate stacking hardware. Depending upon the size of the display, they can get quite heavy. For example, a recent 165” diagonal display (6×6 array) I quoted weighed just shy of 500lbs, and a 275” display (10×10 array) weighed over 1300 lbs. It is absolutely crucial that the structure or wall on which you are mounting the dvLED or the structure from which you are rigging can support the load.
Additionally, in order for a successful installation, the dvLED cabinets need to be perfectly aligned along the x, y, and z axes so there are no visible seams between the individual panels that make up the display. Since most walls will have some imperfections and not be perfectly flat, you will be faced with either using shims or exploring mounting hardware that provides post-installation adjustment of all three axes.
Power and Data
Unlike a traditional flat panel or projector, the display does not have a single power cord with dvLED. Instead, depending upon the size and resolution of the display, multiple AC circuits are required. If we go back to the 165” 6×6 array I referenced earlier, this display required six dedicated 110v/10A outlets. In this case, each AC circuit is powering six panels with a main connection to the first, then daisy-chaining with power jumpers to the next five.
In addition to power, every dvLED display requires multiple data connections between the display and the dvLED controller/processor using data cabling, such as Cat6. The number of data runs will vary based on the overall resolution of the display, but you can expect that the manufacturer will advise you during the proposal stage on the required cabling and power requirements for the specific project.
I am seeing more and more projects come across my desk that involve dvLED, and there has been dramatic growth in overall product sales in the category over this last year. There is no reason to believe that these trends will not continue, and I look forward to continuing my education on the subject.
For more information, visit https://www.exertisalmo.com/products/direct-view-led-displays, and get in touch with your Exertis Almo regional service development manager today.
I couldn’t wait for my TV to die. Crazy, right? Read on and I’ll explain.
More than half the TVs installed in outdoor spaces are engineered for indoor use. And I was like most people. Why would I spend more on an outdoor rated display when I could get something for less than half the price? If it dies I can run out and pick up a newer model and throw it up on the wall without much down time. And when my first display died I did just that. I found an old plasma in the house and hung it up outside. Eventually, as expected, its performance began to decline.
What’s the black box in the corner of my screen?
“Die, you imperfect plasma, just DIE!” I muttered to myself in the fall. Here’s a snapshot of its demise, notice the upper right hand corner image fade. It was only a matter of time!
(Full disclosure, Brian Rhatigan, my coworker and display expert tells me this isn’t a typical symptom of aging displays, and probably has more to do with the source. But that doesn’t work with my story. Read his blog here.)
Living in paradise has its perks
Cut to earlier this month. A recent Polar Vortex had 75% of the country experiencing below freezing temperatures. I was in chilly, snowy Chicago (my hat is off to those of you who can handle that!) and I couldn’t wait to get home to my beloved South Florida, the 85°+ December weather and watching the Miami Dolphins claw and fight their way to their first winning season since 2008 in my outdoor football paradise.
Flag on the Play!
It’s a Saturday night prime-time Dolphins v. Jets showdown in New York. December football in-conference rivalry at its finest! The bevvies were ice cold, the sausage dip was made, and the propane tank was full. I was ready! But I was unprepared for a dead display. It was a football fail, to put it mildly. Yes, I’d wished ill-will upon my clunky old plasma, but the timing was terrible! I’d wanted to brag to my northern neighbors! (Karma much?) We watched the Dolphins trounce the Jets, 34-13 in the living room on the couch. Booooo!
Can this be corrected in the second half?
Earlier this fall SunBrite TV introduced their new Veranda Series 4K UHD outdoor displays for full-shade outdoor spaces. These beauties are up to 30% brighter than typical indoor TVs, and they’re weather proof! And while that was always a major selling point for buying an outdoor display for outside, now… NOW they’re affordable!
My Spirit Reptile
If there’s such a thing as a spirit animal, mine is an iguana. (OK, spirit reptile). Not glamorous, cuddly or even cute. What we have in common, according to Wikipedia is that we thrive only in temperatures between 79-95°F. This makes South Florida the perfect place for me to live. And ideal for outdoor winter TV watching.
You can’t keep a true Dolphins fan down for long. My Veranda is on a truck headed to South Florida. Just in time for college bowl games and the NFL playoffs… I’m holding out hope that my Dolphins are still standing by mid-January! Stay tuned for Part II, as I turn my Football Fail into Veranda Victory!
Do you have an outdoor setup you LOVE? Share a picture in the comments, I’d love to see what you’ve got!
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you and say I’m a little glad the E4 events have wrapped up. It has been a busy year for the Almo team and we are all ready for a breather. Not so fast – Chicago is March 22nd and San Jose is April 19th (deep cleansing breathe). It’s time to reflect on the top 5 moments of the E4 2016 tour:
Top Moments of 2016 E4 AV Tour
1. Almo Becomes First Distributor to Live Stream a CTS RU Certified Class
We wrapped up 2016 with a bang by becoming the first AV distributor to live stream a CTS RU certified course on Facebook. With over 100 online attendees, we were excited to extend the education of the E4 beyond the Dallas, TX area to the whole world.
2. Almo Services Offering Launches
Although we introduced Almo Connect in late 2015, the first time Almo customers got to really learn about it was at the E4 in Atlanta. In talking about the bandwidth needs in the 4K keynote, it was a perfect foray into conversations about reselling Almo Connect services. Next we launched Almo Control at the Boston event, our new control systems programming.
3. E4 Experience Launches
We take feedback from the tour very seriously. One aspect that was missing from E4 was a more hands-on approach to product learning. So we launched the E4 Experience with two “experience rooms” – Design a Huddle Space and Create & Publish Digital Signage Content. Each experience was sold out for every event.
4. World’s First Keynote in True 4K
Last year Gary Kayye came to me and said he had a “killer” keynote idea. To present the keynote about 4K IN 4K! We did it with some magic from Barco in Atlanta and rocked the house. I’ve never had so many comments about an E4 keynote about how much they learned about 4K and all the myths dispelled.
5. Almo Announces Acquisition of IAVI at Washington DC Event
While in the middle of planning two E4 events, we were also gearing up for the acquisition of IAVI in April and announced the news to our vendors at what they thought was an appreciation event but ended up being more of a press conference. Surprise – we just doubled in size! Very exciting times!
Just because the tour is over doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Check out our recorded classes, including Gary’s Keynote where you can STILL earn CTS RU’s, our videos, blogs and photos.