Understanding the Different Types of LED Display Technologies

In today’s world, visual communication plays a major role in engaging and attracting customers. LED display technologies have become vital for brands, entertainment houses, and sports arenas to display their messages and attract attention. 

The demand for LED display technologies is at an all-time high, which stems from their smart lighting, energy-efficient solutions, and diverse industrial applications. 

Whether you are an advertiser or just looking for a way to grow your brand and communicate your message, understanding the different types of LED displays is crucial. Let’s explore the various types of LED display technology that can bring your ideas to life.

Types of LED Display Technology

With light-emitting diodes, LED display technologies can generate beautiful visual displays of diverse types, each with benefits, disadvantages, and application modes. Some of the most common types of LED display technology include:

outdoor LED video walls

1. Surface Mounted Device (SMD) LED Displays

SMD LED displays use surface-mounted parts to create an efficient viewing experience. Since the displays are mounted directly on a circuit board rather than through a hole, SMD LED displays are more space efficient, unlike conventional LED displays. 

This type of LED display technology incorporates three color lamp beads (red, blue, and green) in a single system. You can line up these lamp beads to create images and videos in different patterns. You can also customize SMD displays to meet your needs, as they come in different sizes and colors.

Some of the advantages of SMD LED displays are:

  • Their small size makes them fit for use in areas where space may be an issue. 
  • Energy efficiency: they can run on a single power source for a long while.
  • High resolution: they do not rely on backlighting to emit light and create high-quality pictures.
  • Lifetime color compatibility: they retain their original colors for a long while.

Although they have many benefits, some features of SMD LED displays, such as the following, may make them undesirable:

  • Cost: they are more expensive than traditional LED display technologies.
  • The need for specialized equipment and expertise to install and operate them makes it difficult for novices to use them.
  • The intense light it displays may be harsh on the eyes, especially in poorly-lit areas.

The scope of SMD displays is wide, and their application spans different industries for advertisement and dissemination of information. The most common applications of SMD displays are in small electronic devices, calculators, and digital clocks. 

In the automotive industry, speedometers and odometers use SMD LED technology. On a larger scale, SMD LED displays are popular in producing smartphones, televisions, stadia scoreboards, and electronic billboards.

2. Chip-On-Board (COB) LED Displays

Chip-On-Board (COB) mounts LED chips on a printed circuit board (PCB) to create a high-intensity lighting solution. Placing the chips directly onto the PCB creates a higher chip density and a flat, uniform LED surface.

The combination of the red, green, and blue LED chips allows the COB display technology to produce a higher color range and replicate images correctly. The COB technology can accommodate more LEDs than other types of LED displays.

The COB technology has had great breakthroughs in LED due to its awesome benefits, including:

  • Fine pixel pitch: this display can deliver tight pixel pitch and a resolution of up to 4K.
  • Improved thermal management: its large surface area allows for better heat dissipation and reduces the risk of overheating.
  • Improved reliability: its surface has dustproof, water-resistant, and anti-corrosion capabilities.
  • Energy efficiency: it produces more light and consumes less energy.

Conversely, the COB LED display technology has a few disadvantages, such as:

    • The manufacturing process requires precise alignment and specialized equipment, which makes it costly.
  • The potential for thermal runaway occurs when it exceeds its maximum operating temperature.
  • The high maintenance cost is a deterrent for people working on a tight budget.

COB LED display technology is common in applications that require high brightness and energy efficiency, like display backlighting, automotive lighting, street lighting, signage, and general lumination. It is also fit for producing smartphone flashlights.

3. Direct-View LED Displays

Unlike the other LED displays, the direct-view LED display requires no encapsulation layer to display high brightness and contrast. They use individual LED modules to create a seamless display with high resolution. 

The direct-view LED display technology contains many tiny LEDs on a panel, which work together to display content like a single screen. Some advantages of this technology include the following:

  • High resolution and image quality: They can produce high-quality images and video content with a pixel pitch as low as 0.9mm.
  • Flexibility: considering their sizes and shapes, they are flexible and can fit in many forms, making them ideal for creative application.

Even with these advantages, they have some disadvantages that hinder their application, including the following:

  • Cost: compared to the other types of LED displays, they are quite costly as they need technical tools for installation and care.
  • Power consumption: they consume much power to operate at high brightness levels and may require a different ventilation system to maintain a safe temperature.

If there is any place that requires bright displays with high resolution, you can bet that a direct-view LED display is close by. With the aid of this technology, you can easily create an immersive experience for football fans. 

You can attract customers through eye-catching and compelling displays in the business sector with direct-view technology in digital signage. The entertainment sector is no exception, as most of the high-quality images and videos that enhance an artist’s performance in a concert result from this technology. 

4. Transparent LED Displays

This LED display technology has a transparent design that allows you to see through the screen. It’s like a two-way mirror, only that you get to see the visuals on both sides of the screen.

Transparent LED displays allow light to pass through the screen and create a unique visual effect. With this technology, you can easily integrate high-resolution designs into different settings. Based on its innovative quality, transparent LED display has the following benefits:

  • Aesthetics: if you’re looking for stylish, beautiful, and visually appealing content, then transparent LEDs are your best bet.
  • Permeability: they can create a striking visual display and convey a message without obstructing the environment or affecting the ambient lighting.
  • Flexibility: you can customize them to fit any space or shape you desire, which makes them ideal for creative applications.

Unfortunately, this technology has some disadvantages that come with using it:

  • Cost: compared to traditional types of LED displays, transparent LED displays cost a lot to install and produce.
  • Reduced brightness and image quality: as light passes through the display, it can affect the screen’s brightness and, consequently, its image quality.

You can easily spot a transparent LED display screen in a museum, commercial setting, corporate setting, etc. With this LED display design, users can interact with your brand in a new and exciting way while learning more about your product offerings.

SMD Flexible LED Display Module

5.  Flexible LED Displays

When considering flexible LED displays, ponder the concept of versatility. You can curve, bend, and shape the displays with this technology in any way you choose. Unlike their rigid counterparts, they have a flexible design that suits various applications. 

They are achieved by putting the LED chips in a flexible material like plastic. Many people choose flexible LED displays because of their benefits, including:

  • Ultra-thin design: flexible LED displays are super light and flexible thanks to the special materials and technology that go into their production.
  • Durability: they can withstand twisting or bending without any damage.
  • Flexibility: it’s easy to bend them into different forms and use them to create unique visual displays.

As much as flexible LED displays have tremendous advantages, there are a few disadvantages worth considering:

  • Wear and tear: Constant bending and folding can cause natural wear and tear, reducing the display’s lifespan
  • Cost of production: sourcing special materials and equipment costs some big bucks.
  • Reduced brightness: the distance between the LEDs and the surface may differ, affecting the brightness and image quality.

As for its mode of application, the flexible LED display technology has various applications, including automotive design, retail displays, and stage designs. Its application also fits smartphones, PCs, smart watches, automobiles, etc.

6. Organic LED Displays

Unlike the other types, OLED is thinner with a brighter and higher contrast for displaying visuals. With a swift response period, you can view the OLED from different angles and still get it nicely.

While LEDs are also renowned for being flexible, they are made of several organic molecules arranged to emit light when current passes through them. In addition to these features, OLED is beneficial to users in several ways, including:

  • The fact that several molecules generate light, and these molecules tend to consume power.
  • No Viewing Obstacle: As OLED produces its lights, users can view from several angles.
  • Flexibility: OLED’s formulation has more plastic and can be produced in different sizes and textures since It is easier to produce OLED devices, unlike others.

Although OLED benefits are worth noting, a glance into the disadvantage will help users predictability:

  • Shorter Lifespan: It has a shorter lifespan when compared to other LED displays that have white, green, and red colors. Its lifespan is a result of the blue color light it possesses.
  • Easily Damage: To keep OLED safe and secured longer, one must keep it away from water or liquid.
  • Scarcity: Its production process is rigorous and therefore reduces its availability.

OLED applications are mostly used in digital devices, smart televisions, and monitors like smartphones, computers, digital cameras, and mini-screens. It doesn’t only give users great color contrast but also has an efficient mode of operation.

7. Micro LED Displays

Micro LED has the same features as OLED, and its ability to produce more color contrast is the major benefit over the latter. It requires non-molecular organisms to display, which means it can last longer than the latter. 

Micro LEDs are most outdoor or advertisement screens: they produce sufficient background light for display in the daytime. Although their color contrast works better on smaller screens to help project the visual as it should.

The Micro LED Displays are successful due to the following benefits:

  • Micro LED produces its light through non-organic elements that force out its brightness.
  • Generates Sufficient Energy: The fact that Micro LED generates its light makes it a reliable and efficient LED display. 
  • Easy on the Eye: Unlike LCD screens, the light distributed across several bulbs makes it possible to reduce the stress on the eye.
  • Since it produces light through non-organic elements, it consumes lower energy.

Aside from the advantages, the Micro LED technology has some disadvantages, including:

  • High Production Cost: Some equipment needed to produce Micro LED must meet special requirements, making its production expensive.
  • Cope Badly with Age: The longer Micro LED stays under unsuitable temperatures, the earlier its color contrast damages.

If you require an outdoor screen for outdoor gaming, and parks, the Micro LED display could be the solution. With its eye-catchy feature, businesses can also use it for advertisements outside the business premises or in strategic positions.

8. Mini LED Displays

Mini LED is more related to the lighting of the backlight display rather than its pixels. Unlike the Micro LED display, it uses several small bulbs to produce light that increases brightness.

As a result, it is difficult to gain a darker shade of black since the light shines across several parts of the panel. The development made Mini LED mobile and easily carried about. Here are some advantages of the Mini LED display:

  • No Dim: With a Mini LED display, there will be no dimming zone at any part of the screen.
  • Quality Display: Micro LED picture display comes out clearer than the others. And as a result, it has encouraged more users to acquire them.
  • Compatibility: It’s more efficient with products that are slimmer in size, like smartphones.

Mini LED Displays may have several advantages. However, there are disadvantages as well. They include:

  • Expensive to Produce: Mini LED can be more expensive to manufacture when compared to the conventional display screen.
  • Cost Effective: Since it hasn’t saturated the market, few that producers made tend to be on the high side. 

Mini LEDs survive in small and big screens compared to OLED, which places more importance on its uses. Therefore, People can use it on mobile phones, smartwatches, and bigger outdoor screens.

9. Light Bar Displays

A compact light led that displays brightness to computer users. It occupies very little space, mostly on your desk or affixed to the upper part of the monitor.

It relieves the eyes, especially computer users who operate in a dimmer environment and strain their eyes. It’s a led that displays light instead of videos, pictures, or written content. Here are the benefits of light bar display: 

  • A Source of Light: It’s useful for dimly enclosed areas, especially the work area, and it lightens up the desk and the computer keyboard.
  • Relief Eye Strain: People who work more with monitors or screens expose their eyes to the rays. Light LED helps to illuminate the work area and reduce pressure on the eye.
  • Great Deal for Video Conferencing: It lightens up your face while on a video conference call.
  • Easy to Carry: They are compact and easy to carry.
  • Inexpensive: Light led costs a little token to acquire.

Despite its varied benefits, a major reason you may not want to acquire it is:

  • It shines so brightly that it dims your eyes when you get accustomed to it.

The Light bar is essential when you work on a screen in your office or home, and it beautifies the work table and sets you up for work.


10. LED Video Walls

LED video walls are different from other types of LED displays. Unlike others, they are a large or widescreen that reflects videos or pictures on the wall like a screen.

This type of LED display has become generally accepted for its ability to generate light while displaying content. Several reasons are why they are advantageous in both big and small spaces:

  • Wide Viewing Angles: Since they are wide, people tend to view videos, images, or written content from different angles and get a clear vision. 
  • No Image Grid: This type of LED has no image grid, and its projection is in a wide format.
  • They are a great tool for projecting a clear visual since they have many pixels.
  • It produces better colors and pictures.

In regards to the benefits, LED Video Walls have some disadvantages, including:

  • More Expensive: LED video walls are quite expensive compared to traditional LED displays.
  • Size: It’s slimmer than other types but also wide.
  • Longevity: The temperature and length of time can alter its lifespan. When exposed to a certain temperature, it may begin to fade and lose its color contrast.

LED Video Walls are commonly found in places with large audiences to communicate information to them. Their main users are churches, parks, shows, malls, business premises, and cinemas.

11. Monochrome LED Displays 

Monochrome LEDs are one of the common LED displays in the market. As the name implies, monochrome LED supports only one color at a time.

The monochrome display is affordable for organizations that use simplified and text-only designs. Some of the advantages of Monochrome LED display include:

  • Effective Messaging: Monochrome can be very effective for messaging if you don’t stuff your message with too much text.
  • Low Cost: Monochrome LED signs are usually less expensive than full-color ones.
  • Low Energy: Monochrome can only support one color at a time and uses significantly less energy than a full-color display.

But despite these benefits of using monochrome led, a major disadvantage is that:

  • Less Attractive: Monochrome LEDs are not colorful and very attractive because they use one color.

12. RGB LED Displays

RGB is the acronym for Red, Green, and Blue, the primary colors for light-emitting mediums. This differs from the typical primary colors (Red, Yellow, Blue) that absorb light instead of emitting it.

In an RGB LED display, each LED of the display board consists of three different lights: red, green, and blue. These three lights, called sub-pixels, allow RGB displays to create color. Some of the benefits of RGB LED display include:

    • Color: The main benefit of RGB LED display is that it emits beautiful colors, which is good for branding. Without colors, branding can be one-dimensional and might easily be overlooked.
  • Brightness: RGB LEDs are brighter than monochrome, making them more observable in direct sunlight and also clear and crisp, and in low light.

However, some of the major disadvantages of RGB LED include the following:

  • High Cost: RGB LEDs are 30% to 40% higher than monochrome led displays.
  • High Energy: Since it emits multiple colors, RGB LED consumes more energy.

13. Alphanumeric LED Displays

Alphanumeric LEDs are similar to seven-segment  LEDs and display alphabets, figures, and special characters like decimal points. This type of LED display is usually made up of 14 segments, and their advantages include the following:

  • Displays Alphabets and Numbers: Alphanumeric LEDs can display any letters, number, or punctuation mark, such as periods and semicolons.
  • Low Cost: Alphanumeric LED displays don’t cost much more than some other sophisticated LED designs. If you want something minimal, you can use it with just a little budget. 

14. Seven-segment Display 

The seven-segment LED display consists of seven rectangular LEDs arranged in a rectangular shape, specifically for numerical characters. Each of the seven LEDs is known as a segment, and when it illuminates, each segment forms part of a numerical character. Some advantages of the seven-segment Display are: 

  • Cost: The seven-segment display is less expensive, as it only contains LEDs.
  • Efficiency: LED displays, in general, are very efficient.
  • Heat dissipation: Seven-segment devices dissipate much less heat, increasing the devices’ life. 

15. Dot Matrix LED Display  

Dot Matrix is a special category of LED displays found in LCD and OLED products. The LED Dot Matrix Display concept resembles LCD Dot Matrix and OLED Dot Matrix. It shows characters, graphics, or numbers by lighting up different dots on a Display. 

Dot Matrix is versatile and is used to display information and adverts in shops, stores, vehicles, etc. Also, it is often used as a departure indicator in airports and train stations, bus routes, etc.

Some of the advantages of Dot Matrix LED display are:

  • Easy integration: Dot matrix easily integrates with the existing setup with a small gateway between the DMD panel and the system.
  • Displays in different fonts: They can display in any language and font the software generates.
  • Low Cost: Dot matrices are cheaper compared to LCDs.

The one major disadvantage of dot matrix is:

  • Color uniformity: matrix dot boards only show a single color.

16. Fabric LED Display

This type of LED Display is one of the most intriguing applications of LEDs. It’s like a traditional dress, but this one has LED lined up at its edges and strategic parts of the fabric. In some dresses, the light blinks nonstop when turned on; in other cases, you get to determine the light’s behavior.

Fabric LED dresses are battery-powered and can stay turned on long before recharging. Its major advantage is the attention it attracts. On the flip side, it can be a major discomfort for people who react adversely to harsh lights, especially epileptic patients.

full color led screen

17. Full Color LED Displays

Commonly used in nightclubs, bars, sports arenas, and other public events, full-color LEDs utilize green, red, and blue (RGB) LEDs to give off millions of colors. They are different from the regular RGB LED display.  Unlike RGB, manufacturers program these LED modules to transform them into any color you choose using a multi-controller easily. 

It allows you to switch the colors of your screen from red to blue, purple, yellow, and any other color you prefer. Depending on your needs, you can buy specific  LED displays that only show off certain colors simultaneously. Two of the most popular use cases of these multi-color display LEDs are in restaurants and grocery stores to depict a “we are open” sign.

However, their applications are not limited to only restaurants and stores; here are some other applications of full-color LED display:

  • Scoreboards
  • Terminals
  • Hotels to display menus
  • Classrooms
  • Training centers
  • Auditoriums
  • Control rooms
  • E-price tags
  • Casinos
  • Traffic signs
  • Dance floors, etc.

Full-color LED displays come in various sizes, and they are perfect for those who want the information they convey to stand out and catch people’s attention. They are also highly versatile and easy to install. 

18. Dual-color LED Display

A Dual-color LED display or bi-color LED display typically shows off two colors only—green and red. Their applications are usually simple and straight to the point, and some of these use cases include the following:

  • Simple messages like “welcome,” “we are open,” etc.
  • Electronic price tags menus
  • Advertising displays
  • Traffic signs
  • Digital clocks with dual-color LED displays can simultaneously show the time and date.
  • They are also used in fitness trackers and smartwatches.
  • Gas station pumps.
  • Manufacturers use them in automotive dashboard displays to simultaneously show the current speed and the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM).
  • Gaming keyboards
  • Electronic calculators
  • Security systems
  • Manufacturers integrate them into medical equipment to indicate normal or abnormal values by changing colors.

Aside from their simplicity, dual-color LED displays are also cost-effective and have easy installation directives. You can also use them in indoor and outdoor events. But one disadvantage is their color range limitation, which makes them unsuitable for displaying complex images or videos.

19. Quantum-dot Display

Quantum-dot QLED screens are a new type of LED-backlit LCD, and they use little phosphorescent crystals to react to light. These LED screens use quantum dots and nano semiconductors to give off monochromatic red, green, and blue lights. While this technology is not quite popular, it has many applications, including the following:

  • Home Entertainment: Quantum-dot displays are used in high-end televisions, sound systems, and streaming devices. 
  • Gaming: They are also popular for gaming; thanks to their low input lag and high refresh rates, they provide a smooth and responsive gaming experience, which is important for fast-paced games.
  • Medical Imaging: Quantum-dot displays are used in medical imaging applications, including X-ray and MRI displays.
  • Industrial Displays are used in control panels, automation systems, and monitoring displays. They offer accurate and vibrant colors, ensuring operators can read and interpret data easily.

Factors to Consider When Choosing LED Display Technologies

Now that you know about the types of LED displays, you need to take note of some factors before you eventually choose the screen you want. 

Choosing the right LED display technology for your needs can take time and effort. It would be best if you considered these factors to avoid setting yourself up for trouble. These factors include

1. Pixel Pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance between two pixels on display and measures in millimeters. It greatly influences the resolution and image quality of the screen. The viewing distance available will be a pointer to the pixel pitch to opt for. 

A smaller pixel pitch indicates many pixels per unit area and will result in higher resolution and image quality. On the other hand, a higher pixel pitch indicates fewer pixels per unit area and will produce lower-quality images.

2. Viewing Angle

The maximum angle you can view the screen without losing an accurate display is the viewing angle. Wider viewing angles are suited for environments where many people view the screen simultaneously. 

The vertical viewing distance is as important as the horizontal viewing angle, so check it before completing the sale. Displays with wider viewing angles may be more expensive, but they will give you better display resolution and picture quality.

3. Brightness

The standard unit for measuring brightness is nits, which indicates the intensity of light the screen emits. Outdoor displays need a higher brightness to stay visible in different lighting conditions.

Excessive brightness levels can cause strain to the eyes. So before you choose a screen, ensure the brightness is adjustable to meet each viewing requirement. With the brightness level, your screen will remain legible and comfortable.

4. Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio is the difference between the screen’s brightest and darkest parts. A higher contrast ratio will give top-notch picture quality while ensuring that black remains black and white remains white. Suppose the image quality is a key factor driving you to purchase a screen. In that case, you must confirm its contrast ratio early.


When purchasing an LED display would be a walk in the park. This article has given every detail about understanding the types of LED displays. Do well to go through the content for proper understanding.

NSE LED can handle all your questions if you have further inquiries or professional advice. Remember, we are still in the business of supplying high-quality LED solutions. Contact us today, and let’s talk business. 

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