There is a high probability that there is an LED display near you right now. While you might be able to tell it’s an LED display, it would be quite hard to tell what form of LED display it is. However, being able to have several benefits. In this article, we focus on the differences between two common forms of LED displays — LED Signage vs LED Screens.
Comparing LED Signage vs LED Screens
Digital displays is the umbrella term used to describe these forms of displays. It is built on the idea that a display — primarily installed on walls — is made of digital modules or panels that are powered by various display technologies.
In this case, the two types of displays are powered by LEDs. LED (Light Emitting Diode) is a technology that uses semiconductors to convert electrical currents to light. The actual technicalities of LED are quite straightforward. Nevertheless, the technology has undergone several modifications that have shaped it.
Most forms of conventional signs used in commercial settings were not illuminated in any way. In the last few decades, this has changed with the introduction of LED signages.
What is LED Signage
Broadly, LED signage refers to the concept of using LEDs to create various forms of signs for advertisement, entertainment, and other use cases. The color, brightness, vibrancy, and flexibility of LED are some of the factors that propelled this idea of incorporating LED technology into signage.
There are many ways in which LED can be used to make signage. One approach is to line up LED strips behind a transparent sign. The other method is to use LED panels to display a digitally-produced sign.
To understand this application of LEDs, let us explore the common types of LED signage being used today.
- Directional and message signs: Signs used to show directions are fitted with LED lights to illuminate them. The aim of doing this is to improve visibility when it’s dark. It can also serve as a decoration.
- LED billboards: These are the most common in places like town squares. They essentially are made up of many LED panels stacked together to make one large display that broadcasts diverse content types. LED billboards are popular in town centers, moving trucks, or inside or out of commercial buildings.
- LED message boards. Boards are made using a similar concept of billboards, but there are obvious differences between them. These differences are in form factors and use cases. LED boards are used mostly in malls, metro stations, and airports to display messages to a specific audience.
Essentially, LED signage comes in three forms; billboards, boards, and signs. Their aim can change depending on the setting and needs of the user. Also, since they are controlled digitally, their displays can be changed periodically.
There are various types of screens used to display content and LED screens are just one of them. What sets them apart from the other types of screens is basically the specific display technology used in their manufacturing.
Definition of LED Screens
LED screens utilize LEDs as a key component of their display technology. This means LEDs make up the pixel composition of the screen’s display. As you already know, the resolution of a display is tied to the pixel density. With that premise, the resolution of an LED screen depends on its number of pixels.
These types of LED screens can either be made as a standalone display or a combination of multiple screens. This all depends on how large the screen is supposed to be and its make size. In other words, the size of an LED screen is modifiable through extensions or manufacturing.
The concept of sizing can be elaborated by understanding the different types of LED screens. Fundamentally, the big difference lies in the display device being used.
- LED Television screens: Some TV manufacturers used LED technologies to make bright screens. Examples of LED screens include OLED and QLED displays.
- LED video walls: These are common in places like conferences, studios, exhibitions, and large commercial spaces. LED video walls are just a name given to large screen displays made using multiple LED modules.
- LED Scoreboards: In places like arenas, stadiums, and other sports and game conventions, you will find large LED screens being used as displays. These types of digital displays are particularly common in these settings due to their various benefits that we will discuss in another section of this article.
There could be other types of LED screens based on various factors. In some industries and use cases, the classification of LED screens can be broken down based on multiple parameters. For instance, you will find some being classified based on display color, installation, and design.
Major Differences Between LED Signage vs LED Screens
Being in a position to differentiate between these two types of digital display systems requires minor observation skills. For the most part, you would need a basic understanding of what to look for, applications, and functionalities.
How They Differ in Design
Design in this case refers to the overall aesthetics that embody each type of display. This aspect can be identified easily by observing elements like form factors.
LED signages can take diverse forms depending on the application or installation environment. In other words, their designs are tied to the use case. For instance, an LED-illuminated directional sign would look different from a message board.
LED screens on the other hand have quite distinct designs. As their name implies, they are primarily screens. However, this presents a challenge. Provided that there are many display technologies used to make screens, singling out an LED display technology would not be as straightforward.
On one hand, many display technologies are ramping up to keep up with the power of LED technology. This has made most screens look as bright and vibrant as LED screens.
How They Differ in Functionality
LED signage serves a different purpose from an LED screen. As such, this is a good aspect to differentiate them. Functionality refers to what they are capable of doing. It also stands for the installation and maintenance differences that exist between them.
Installation and maintenance practices of LED signage will depend on the particular type of sign being used. This also applies to the functionality. When discussing LED signages, we suggested that they are flexible in usage scenarios. While that is correct, there are types that are exclusively configured to perform a specific function.
Similarly, the functions of LED screens can vary based on many factors. In general, LED screens are meant to be used in large spaces where there is a huge audience. They can be used to display various types of content including video, images, text, and other types of graphics.
The variation between each in terms of functionality is evident. While various types or designs of an LED screen, for instance, can share fictionality, it would be hard for the same flexibility to apply to LED signage.
How They Differ in Applications
Both LED signage and LED screens have applications or use cases that best fit them. Still, some use cases might overlap in certain situations.
The applications of LED signage are mostly for static content. When you think of an LED directional sign, for instance, you envision an illuminated sign. Furthermore, LED signages are mostly used in outdoor and semi-outdoor environments. A great example is the use of billboards for DOOH adverts.
LED screens on the other hand are especially used for dynamic content. These include videos and animations. In most cases, they will be used in indoor settings for OOH advertising and displays. LED screens are also used as event backdrops.
Those aspects clearly show the difference between LED signage and LED screens. As far as comparisons go, they categorically reveal the fine lines between the two. Nonetheless, their features are another way to differentiate them.
LED Signage vs LED Screens: Features
Features can be considered as the attributes that give identity to the type of LED display. In this case, the characteristics differ. Let us look at the individual aspects.
Features of LED signage
The following are some of the features of LED signs.
Resistant to Environmental Stressors
Given that most LED signs are used in outdoor conditions, it is imperative to incorporate environmental resistance in their manufacturing. By this we mean they should be able to endure different conditions of the environment. These conditions include weather, shock, natural calamities, and so on.
Should Require Minimal Maintenance
Whereas maintenance is essential to keep the sign functioning optimally, there should be minimal need for it. Some LED signages are installed in busy streets, on high elevation points, and in other unreachable conditions. Having to repair them frequently could be challenging.
They Are Cost Effective
You are already aware that there are two major ways to get LED displays—by purchasing or renting them out. Whichever means you use to acquire them should be economical. To clarify, you need to be able to use LED signage for multiple adverts depending on your marketing strategy.
Features of LED Screens
LED signs also have distinct features. Here are some of them:
- Wide Viewing Angles and Distances
Unlike LED signs which people don’t stare at for long, screens are meant to be interactive, and thus visual appeal is critical. Viewing angles and distances are some of the factors that impact the visual appeal created by an LED screen. The high resolution and brightness of LED screens greatly contribute to this feature.
The idea of scalability in this context refers to the ability to extend the usability of an LED screen. In other words, how can you expand or increase the size of an LED screen to fit a certain use case? Scalability is achievable because most LED screens are modular.
This is a feature that is shared by both LED signage and LED screens. An LED screen is required to be durable for the same reasons as the LED signage. You might be wondering why that is the case. Well, the point is, longevity does not only serve as a protection from hazards but it also saves on operation costs.
- Energy Efficient
LEDs are generally known to be effective at utilizing energy sources. Since they transform electricity to light rather than heat, there is less energy loss. This is the reason why most LED screens do not heat up like other display technologies.
- Easy Connectivity with Peripherals
LED screens can integrate easily with other systems for enhanced performance. They have USB and other ports that allow for this connectivity. This feature augments their use cases and makes the flexible in multiple situations. It also makes them more interactive, controllable, and reliable.
LED Signage vs LED Screens: Advantages
Each of these displays will have benefits depending on the applications. These advantages make them suitable for a specific use case. Some of the advantages can be deduced from the features discussed above.
Advantages of LED Signage
These advantages are primarily compared to the traditional signages but also they can be compared to the LED screens. Some of them include;
Visibility is important for a sign since it needs to be seen for its purpose to be achieved. It can be defined as the ability to view the content on the sign regardless of the lighting conditions, viewing distance, or content displayed. In this case, LED signages are quite visible in these conditions.
Ability to Customize
Customizability comes with many advantages. For one, you will have flexibility in terms of what to display. On the other hand, you can choose various designs of LED signage based on the theme or goals of your advertising campaign. This helps you have multiple uses for the LED signage.
When compared to traditional signage, LED signage are milestones ahead. The technology used in LED signage improves the quality of signs. This has the effect of enhancing advert messaging. As a result, there is a higher ROI and more conversion from the adverts.
Advantages of LED Screens
LED screens have many advantages. They include the following:
Quick and Easy Integration
LED screens can be installed in diverse settings and form factors. This ability makes them easy to integrate in different locations. For example, they can be integrated with a wall inside a building. This integration can also be attributed to their modular nature and flexibility in application.
Wide Range of Colors (Color Gamut)
This is particularly beneficial because it allows for diverse use. A wide color gamut allows for a wide range of displays. This means an LED screen can display various types of content with high color accuracy.
Low Heat Dissipation
The nature of LED superconductors where they produce more light and less heat enables them to converse energy. Being able to produce less heat means less energy will be required to keep screens powered. It also removes the need for cooling systems which are costly to maintain.
High Contrast Ratio
The contrast ratio is the display spectrum of dark and light shades. That means when a display has a high contrast ratio, it shows more accurate content. Images appear clearer and there is less strain. Such benefits enhance the viewing experience and make dynamic content more immersive for viewers.
Many LED modules can be interconnected to form one large screen. Similarly, a few modules can be used to make a smaller LED display. It all depends on the size of the screen you are looking for.
LED Signage vs LED Screens: Disadvantages
It is equally essential to discuss drawbacks when comparing LED displays. As you will notice, both have pretty damning disadvantages that can affect their productivity.
Disadvantages of LED Signage
Some of the common disadvantages include:
High Initial Cost
LED technology is not cheap. Particularly, the initial costs incurred in acquiring an LED sign or renting it out are high. This applies mostly to large LED signs that are used for commercial purposes. You will incur costs related to installation, purchases, fees, insurance, and other applicable fees.
Contributes to Light Pollution
This is a term used to describe the use of too much artificial lighting. Since LEDs produce bright light, they are considered to be a light pollutants. If you look at most town squares, for instance, you will see a lot of light pollution from LED signs.
Not Suitable For Small-Scale Use
LED signages are effective when used on a large scale. This is because there is more flexibility in terms of applications. It also makes sense to use LED signages for large spaces because of the viewing angles and distances.
Countries like the US have institutions such as the FCC that stipulate and regulate the usage of LED lights. Regulatory measures in place could limit some aspects of the LED signs such as design, installation, and types. Therefore, this could be limiting in case you want to put up custom LED signage.
Disadvantages of LED Screens
Some of the disadvantages of LED screens include:
Low Resolution From Poor LED Displays
LED displays are made using different display technologies. Technically, the techniques used to pack LEDs on a display interface affect its resolution. In other words, LEDs that have small pixel pitches have high resolutions, and vice versa. This aspect is especially common when viewing large screens made from inferior LED displays.
Some LEDs Screens Have the Moire Effect
The concept of the Moire effect has been observed severally in LED screens. It refers to a situation where there is a visual distortion in a display. This effect creates an odd pattern that disrupts the content displayed on a screen. It is usually annoying and can affect the viewing experience and lower engagement.
Glare From Natural Light
When LED screens are mounted in well-lit areas they can reflect light and create a glossy glare that is unpleasant to see. Glare affects the visibility of the content displayed on the screen. This is why LED screens are best suited for indoor and semi-outdoor conditions.
LED Signage vs LED Screens: How to Choose
In cases where the functionalities and applications of LED signage and screens overlap, you will have to deliberate which one best fits. The following tips will help you choose.
Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing
When comparing LED signage vs LED screens and trying to decide which one to use for your adverts, consider the following factors.
- Installation environment: Your decision should be influenced by the environment where the display will be installed. An LED signage will be suitable for location X while the screen would not.
- Future plans: Are you planning to expand your LED display in the future? If that’s the case, you should pick a screen rather than a signage.
- Budget: The amount of money set aside also influences decision-making. A budget will help you know where to compromise or what to focus on. In other words, budgets are essential considerations.
- Range of applications: Since you might have different use cases lined up, you need to choose a type of display that can support a range of applications.
- Required level of interactivity: This is a critical consideration since it dictates the level of engagement of a display. A high level of interactivity is a necessity, especially in events, public places, and some indoor situations.
Considering the above factors and how they affect your decision is critical. Decisions like these have financial implications that need to be factored in. Most of the above factors are actually influenced indirectly by finances. Therefore, you need to think about them when choosing between LED signage and LED screen.
With this detailed comparison, being able to clearly distinguish between LED signage and LED screen should now be easier for you. We have covered everything from different features, specifications, benefits, and disadvantages. For more information, read more about LED signage here and LED screens here.