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What You Can’t See Won’t Hurt You

You would need to have lived with your head buried in the sand not to recognize the acceptance and growth in the latest display technology. Of course, I am speaking about LED displays. While hardly new, the last 5 years have seen advances that put it at the forefront of the conversation when speaking of large screen displays over 100” diagonal. Of course, we still have projectors and video walls made up of a matrix of LCD displays but the “buzz” is about LED.

The technology has evolved from large outdoor displays in stadiums and cities like Las Vegas and New York to indoor displays. The value propositions are easy to understand. These displays are bright with excellent color and contrast, and of course they are seamless and come in about any size and shape imaginable including transparent. In short, what’s not to love?

Well, there is an issue, and that issue is pixels. Or, more accurately, seeing pixels. Today’s projectors and LCD flat panels at FHD to 4K resolution and above (yes 8K) have accustomed viewers to not seeing pixels. As we look at LED pixel pitch (distance between pixels), there is a wide range of options, ranging from 36mm down to less than 1mm. Whether or not you see pixels is dependent on the pixel pitch and the viewing distance. We can certainly calculate image size and viewing distance relative to what the human eye can see. In fact, this is an AVIXA ISO/ANSI Standard called DISCAS (Display Image Size for 2D Content in Audiovisual Systems).

Ok this is great, but it can be a bit complex, and the math might get in the way of a more simple and basic (but accurate) understanding so here goes. We did the math and answer the question of when you will see pixels at some standard viewing distances and what pixel pitch you need to not see pixels. Here is the graphic and a safe formula based on visual acuity that we created for you.

Translated, this means that if your viewing distance is 10 feet from the display most will see pixels if the pixel pitch is above 1mm. If you are 20 feet away most will see pixels if the pixel pitch is above 2mm and so on. There is of course some latitude since visual acuity is not one size fits all. Also, there is budget to consider. The smaller the pixel pitch the costlier the display. The balancing act is up to you, but we do know this, seeing pixels is not acceptable.


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