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Today more organizations and businesses have adopted digital signage kiosks and displays for the purpose of communicating everything from restaurant menu-items to traffic information. It has also become important for the value-added resellers within the pro AV space in designing solutions that are matched closely to the environments that they are deployed in.
When it comes to designing outdoor digital signs, there are a number of differences in comparison to indoor solutions. One of the main considerations will be their brightness, whether they will or will not display content that is interactive, and how durable the signage is to operate in outdoor environments. Below are a few considerations when investing in an outdoor digital sign with local sign companies.
1. The Brightness
Brightness is regarded as one of the more important factors to consider when selecting a LED display for outdoor digital signs, which is closely followed by contrast. Choosing high-contrast and high-brightness displays are especially essential if the signs are exposed to sunlight.
Brightness is typically expressed in a numerical value known as nits. One nit is the measurement unit of luminance, better described as the intensity of the visible light. 1 nit is equivalent to one CD/M2 (candela per square meter).
The more nits present, the brighter a digital screen becomes. Choosing the correct brightness for a digital outdoor sign is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. The typical requirements for brightness range between 800 to 1,500 nits for the indoor displays and 1,500 to 2,500 for outdoor displays that are exposed to sunlight. However, 5,000 nits are typically suggested for signs that are used permanently outdoors and 5,000+ nits are suggested for signs constantly exposed to direct sunlight.
Even when your digital sign has been installed under a protective enclosure or an awning, the majority of monitors are not bright enough to efficiently operate in sunlight unless the brightness range is 2,000 nits or even higher. LED outdoor-rated displays are typically available in a variety of sizes and can also be installed in an environmental enclosure for larger screens. Additionally, many manufacturers now produce the LED displays that offer high contrast and crisp images along with just about invisible bezels and ultra-fine pitch, which is a major benefit for the LED outdoor installations.
2. Pixel Pitch
All the LEDs will be defined by what is known as pixel pitch. This is a metric that will define how fine or coarse the image appears as well as how near or far the viewer will need to stand from the display. Pixel pitch is a physical distance that occurs between 2 pixels of the display. This distance measurement occurs between the middle of 1 pixel to the middle of the following pixel.
NPP (narrow pixel pitch) will be classified under a 3-millimeter spacing and SPP (small pixel pitch) is classified between 3 to 6-millimeter spacing. The NPP LEDs have become a significant sector for indoor video-display spaces. When there are significant spaces between the pixels it creates black spaces with low resolution, yet the fill factor is what provides a way to enable nearer viewing distances for the LED displays. The tight pixel-pitches that are combined with the larger diodes are what results in high fill factors which result in much clearer visuals. When the fill factor increases, the nearer the viewing distances become.
The important factor to consider when arriving at the correct pixel pitch will be to note how close you want the viewing-distance to be. There are 2 basic formulas that will help you to decide on the size that your pixel-pitch needs to be when based on the distance:
- The Closest Viewing Distance measured in meters = 1 X pitch
- The Optimal Viewing Distance measured in meters = 2.5 X pitch
One of the other important considerations of LED signage is whether you want it to be interactive. Keep in mind that LED monitors that will be exposed frequently to direct-sunlight will become too hot in order to be effective in the form of interactive touch displays. It is suggested that the interactive LED monitors need to be installed under an awning of high-quality or moved to an area that is protected from direct sunlight. The latest LED monitors are now designed with a protective, vandal-resistant cover glass, which is important in urban or high traffic locations.
4. Moisture And Water Resistance
The hardware of LED outdoor displays will not operate well in high-humidity conditions, but spec sheets that come with a unit will usually indicate the best operating ranges. Ideally, you should be looking for the LED panels which are able to operate in ranges between 70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, along with humidity that ranges between 25 to 65%. Humidity levels that exceed this percentage, may cause the unit to fail until the humidity levels drop.
The Ingress Protection (IP) rating is what measures protection and water resistance against contact against solid objects. It is also a description of how the display should be protected when it is exposed to several substances and conditions. Search for the highest IP ratings when it comes to both solid object and moisture intrusion.
5. Durability And Ruggedness
When choosing an outdoor digital display, you need to consider the ruggedness of the unit. It is necessary to choose an LED display that has been designed specifically for use in outdoor and extreme conditions. It is also suggested to use the displays with a protective glass that has been bonded optimally to the display surface of the LED, which removes any air cavities that could result in condensation.
6. The Temperature Range
Today, the latest in LED technology now offers a significant amount of monitors that have been designed to operate under outdoor temperature conditions. The ideal operating range should be between -40 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the outdoor digital display should be installed in an appropriate environmental enclosure that will keep out fine particles and dust that might interfere with the display or operation.