For this month’s Ask Alfred I want to talk about LED Video Panels. While these have been around for many years, their popularity is sky-rocketing just now. Thanks to recent advances in technology, the price of LEDs has dropped significantly, which means that LED screens are now affordable in many situations where they would have been well out of the available budget just a few years ago. Here at ADJ, we entered the LED panel market around 18 months ago, with the introduction of our ground-breaking AV Series. This has proved incredibly successful and at the end of last year we expanded the range with the addition of the AV3 panels. But what are the advantages of LED video? And what are the differences between the original ADJ AV6X and the new AV3? I’d like to take some time to answer those questions.
Screens made up of LED video panels are becoming more and more prevalent, both as part of fixed installations in venues such as churches and nightclubs, as well as for one-off and touring productions for concerts, dance parties, and corporate events. They are increasingly being used to replace projectors as they offer a number of significant advantages over this older technology. Firstly, LED screens are generally much brighter than projectors, making them more suited for use in daylight or on brightly-lit stages. Secondly, they offer better contrast, making for more vibrant colors and better video reproduction. And, finally, they are more flexible. A projector needs to be positioned either in front of, or behind, its screen with an unobstructed space between the two. However, an LED screen can be positioned right at the back of a space, for example a stage, with no clearance needed behind, and the image won’t be blocked by performers positioned in front of it.
So, it’s clear that LED screens offer significant advantages over other large-scale display options, but what are the differences between the various LED panels on the market? The most important technical spec to look out for is ‘pixel pitch’. This is the spacing between each of the LEDs that make up the screen. The smaller (or tighter) the pitch, the better the image quality (resolution) of the display. As you may have guessed, this will also impact the price of the panel. A panel offering a tighter pitch will pack in more LEDs, which means that it will be more expensive. And it’s not necessarily the case that the tightest pitch is always the best solution for a given situation. If the viewing distance between the screen and an audience is large, then a lower pitch screen may actually look just as good as one with a higher pitch, as the human eye won’t be able to detect the improved image quality given by the extra LEDs.
Let’s put this into context, using the ADJ AV Series as an example. The original ADJ AV6X video panels have a pitch of 6mm, which means that each of the panels’ LEDs is spaced 6mm apart. This makes the panels ideal for constructing screens that are to be viewed from a minimum distance of 25’. These panels also have a – relative – low cost, meaning that a larger screen can be constructed for a given budget. The AV6X is perfect for creating a large screen to serve as the backdrop to a stage, or in a large club for when a screen is positioned behind the DJ, well away from the dancefloor.
The AV6X has proved extremely popular, both for fixed installations and also for event production and mobile entertainment companies. However, many of our customers asked for an LED panel with a tighter pitch that could be used in situations where the audience would be closer to the screen, which is why we expanded the AV series with the AV3. This is an LED panel with a pixel pitch of 3.9mm. This may not sound like a big difference, but it means that the AV3 has a pixel density of 65,536 per square meter, compared to the AV6X’s 27,777. This is a significant increase, which gives the AV3 noticeably improved clarity that allows for a shorter viewing distance. The AV3 is ideal for screens that are positioned closer to an audience, for example in a smaller club or bar. It is also ideal for corporate events when presentations are to be displayed featuring text that must appear sharp and crisp.
Each panel model is suited to a different situation and there are even some circumstances when both screens could be deployed simultaneously. A great example is a large church setting. Here the AV6 panels could be used to create a backdrop to the stage for displaying ambient visuals over a large area. Meanwhile AV3 panels could be used to create screens at either side of the stage, positioned closer to the congregation. The higher pitch of the AV3 panels would then allow for crisp song words to be displayed as well as live camera feeds.
An example of how both panels could be utilized for a one-off event could be for a large wedding. An entertainment and production company could decide to setup a large screen made up of AV6X panels at the back of the main ballroom, a significant distance away from the dancefloor and tables, for displaying music videos and ambient visuals. Meanwhile they may also install a smaller screen, consisting of AV3 panels, in the reception area to display a welcome message and photo montage during the cocktail hour.
In addition to the difference in pitch, the other key variation between the AV6X and the AV3 is that the newer panel offers a useful curving feature. Not only can it be setup to be perfectly flat, but it can also be curved by 10-degrees in either direction, to create either a concave or convex shape. This adds to the flexibility of the panel and means that, for example, a screen positioned in the corner of a room can be curved in to reduce the dead space behind it.
Having enjoyed great success with our 6mm panels over the past 18 months, the new AV3 – with its 3.9mm pitch – is already receiving lots of positive feedback from our customers. The AV series is opening up LED video to venues and companies for which this technology had previously fallen outside of their budget. I know of lots of production companies who are purchasing AV Series systems as they know it can offer great return on investment, as well many mobile entertainment companies who are using the panels to transition into event production.
Here at ADJ, we’re not only making LED panels that offer excellent brightness and contrast, fantastic build quality, and outstanding reliability, we also aim to simplify LED video. We’re offering packages that not only include the panels themselves, but also the processor and cables needed to get them up and running. We also pride ourselves in offering unrivaled pre-sales and post-sales support, to help our customers get their LED video system up-and-running quickly and also deal promptly with any problems should they arise.
The trend of LED video panels replacing projector-based AV systems is one that is sure to continue, and we’re ready to support our customers as they choose to invest in this advanced technology. Put simply, the future of the AV Series is bright at ADJ!
Learn more about the AV3 features: http://www.adj.com/av3
Learn more about the AV6X featrues: http://www.adj.com/av6x