Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is an LED screen?

An LED Screen is like a giant television, but with one fundamental difference: instead of the picture being beamed from a cathode ray tube, each pixel is made up of a cluster of tiny LEDs (like the one's you find in modern bike lights, but brighter).

Each cluster on an LED screen has a red, green and blue LED, which light up accordingly to create the correct colour.  If you look very closely at your television set then you can see individual pixels.  If you look very closely at an LED screen, all you see is lots of very bright little lights, because the pixels are much bigger, but when you get further away the picture becomes clearer. 

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So it's not an LCD screen then?

No, LCD screens are much smaller and use a different technology.  Unlike the clusters of LEDs that make up an LED screen, a picture on a LCD screen is produced by electrically ‘relaxing' twisted liquid crystal molecules and passing light through them from a backlight. A completely relaxed molecule will become almost completely opaque, while a fully twisted one will allow the full luminosity of the backlight through, and this method creates the picture which is shown on the screen.

However, if you would like LCD  screens or plasma screens, we also offer them for both rental and sale.  Many of our customers require LED screens for their main event and plasma screens to show it in corporate areas. 

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What about LED TVs – are these the same as LED screens?

LED TV is a very misleading name for these consumer products, and one that complicates people's understanding of LED screens even more!  In short, an LED TV is not an LED screen and using completely different technology to LED screens.

The so-called LED TV is fundamentally exactly the same as a normal LCD television.  However, instead of using a fluorescent tube to backlight the screen, it uses individual LEDs.  A more accurate name for LED TVs would be LED backlit TV.

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Why use LED screens instead of LCD screens?

The two technologies are used for hugely different applications – although these so called LED televisions are being released for home use, LCD screens are for use in indoor environments, typically for close viewing and for use as either televisions or computer monitors, while LED screens are more suited to large screens and for making an impact

The key reasons for this are:

  • Brightness – We've all seen what an LCD screen or CRT television looks like when the sun shines on it – you can't see the picture. LED screens use incredibly bright LEDs, designed specifically to be visible in bright sunlight. This is the key strength of LED screens; LCD screens simply are not usable in an outdoor environment and even indoors they don't have the same impact. The same goes for projectors – these are only effective in low light conditions; fine if it's a dark night, but not much good during the day!
  • Strength – LED screens are made up of individual panels which are put together seamlessly. Imagine if you were to do that with LCD screens? Besides having borders around each panel, they are very fragile and easily cracked if moved around a lot, and once this happens the LCD screen is useless. LED screens are far more robust and easy to service – should an LED be broken it is easily replaced – making them far more usable as well as cost effective.
  • Impact – If you want your message to stand out, then LED screens are the way to go, as they are bigger and brighter with much richer colours.

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How about Projection Screens?

Again, these are different types of giant screen.  Projection screens are like a cinema – they are a sheet that you project an image onto.  They come in ranges of sizes, although – unlike LED screens – they are not at all effective in daylight and are generally for indoor use only.  Because of their lower brightness, they also do not tend to make such a dramatic impact as LED screens.  Again, at ADI we also offer projection screens if you so require. 

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I've heard of a Jumbotron – is this an LED screen?

LED screens go under a number of monikers and there are many brand-names, of which Jumbotron is one (used by Sony).  Other examples of LED screen brand-names are: Megascreen, Lighthouse R7, Barco, D-Lite, Starvision, Monsterscreen and Optiscreen.  People also refer to LED screens as giant screens, big screens, concert screens, big tvs… you get the picture! 

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What are SMD LED Screens?

SMD LED Screen Pixels

Traditionally LED screens have been made using individual, ‘discreet' LEDs, with a cluster of red, green and blue LEDs creating each pixel which were spaced apart evenly.  In recent years SMD technology has enabled us to create LED screens with much higher resolution. 

SMD LED screens use tiny (the size of a pin head) red, blue and green diodes, set very close together in a single package measuring only a few millimetres across. 

SMD screens have much shorter viewing distances than discreet screens and because of their compact package size can be made with much higher resolutions.

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I've heard people talk about ‘pixel pitch' with LED screens.  What does that mean?

On LED screens, the pixel pitch is the distance between each cluster of LEDs that makes up a pixel and is measured in millimetres.  It ranges from around 3mm for indoor LED screens for very close-up viewing, to around 30mm for outdoor LED screens to be viewed from a distance. 

Pixel pitch is important when you choose an LED screen, but a smaller pixel pitch doesn't always make sense and can cost far more – it all depends on the distance the screen is being viewed from.  Pixel pitch is only a small factor from many that determine the quality of a giant screen, so don't be sold on that alone!

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What About ‘Virtual Pixel Pitch'?

On many LED screens, a technique known as ‘virtual pixel pitch' is used which shares LEDs between pixels, thus making the giant screen appear to be a higher resolution.  So when someone talks about a ‘virtual pixel pitch' of 10mm, the screen is likely to actually have a 20mm pitch, but use virtual pixel technology.

It's important to be aware that a virtual pixel pitch does not make a huge amount of different.  For instance, a 10mm ‘virtual' screen will never look nearly as good as an ‘actual' 10mm screen, so it is always best to go for the smallest ‘actual' pixel pitch that you can afford.

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What does an LED screen cost?

We offer LED screens not only for sale, but also LED screen hire.  Costs of LED screens have lowered significantly in recent years, as the technology has advanced and all ADI Virtuality LED screens are available in either E, S or P specification to suit all budgets and requirements. 

You can get a quick quote by filling in our online rental enquiry form or sales enquiry form.

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If I hire an LED screen, what can I put on it?

Unlike many of our competitors, at ADI we offer full broadcast solutions.

So not only do we handle the LED screens, but also everything that goes onto it, be it for LED screen hire or installation.

For LED screen hire we can provide full event programming solutions, encompassing both pre-produced programming, graphics and playlists as well as event broadcast services, including camera men and directors to help you get the very best out of your LED screen.  See our Event Production page for more details.

The same goes for our LED screen installation customers; at project planning stage we discuss the long term needs and aims of our customers and are able to design and install a full supporting hardware solution for their LED screen.  This could be anything from a content management system to a full live production studio.  See our Content Delivery & Production page for more details.

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