• Matt Hall

What Does Pixel Pitch Mean For LED Video Walls?


What Does Pixel Pitch Mean For LED Video Walls?

A video wall’s most important function is the ability to convey a message to your desired audience. How well that message is conveyed depends on how well your audience can see the message you’re displaying on your video wall—that’s where pixel pitch comes in.


Below we’ll define pixel pitch, explain why it’s so critical for a viewer’s experience, and reveal our formula for calculating the pixel pitch you need for your space.


Need help setting up a video wall for your space? Contact the experts at Aspen Custom Electronics for a free consultation.


What is pixel pitch?


To answer the question, “what does pixel pitch mean?” we’ll start with a refresher on pixels.


What are they? Pixels are the building blocks that make up an image on both light-emitting diode (LED) screens and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. The more of them you have, the sharper your image becomes.


Think of a pixel like a brush stroke in a painting. The more brush strokes, the easier it is to see the details of what the artist was trying to convey.


For example, can you name the painting below?


Pixel pitch - Claude Monet’s San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk - Aspen Custom Electronics

You probably can’t, because there isn’t enough information in this image for you to name it. But if we back up to the appropriate distance and add in more detail, you can see that this is in fact Claude Monet’s San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, or Saint-Georges Majeur au Crépuscule in the original French.


Pixel pitch - Claude Monet, Saint-Georges majeur au crépuscule - Aspen Custom Electronics

(Image Source)


Pixel pitch is the measurement of the distance between pixels on an LED screen, or the size of pixels on an LCD screen. The smaller the distance, or the smaller the pixel, the sharper the image becomes and the viewer is provided with more details. Pixel pitch is defined in millimeters (mm) and typically ranges from less than a millimeter on the smallest end to 10mm on the largest end.


Screens with small pixel pitches are necessary when the distance between the screen, and the person looking at the screen is shorter. If your viewer gets too close to a screen with a large pixel pitch, the image will start to look blurry.


What’s the difference between LCD and LED pixel pitch?


These days, LED displays are much more popular than LCD displays, and will be the focus of the rest of our article. But it’s worth noting the differences between the two when it comes to selecting the right pixel pitch for your space if you’re considering an LCD monitor.


LCD Monitor Pixel Pitch


Technically, pixel pitch is defined as the space between pixels. But the pixels on an LCD monitor are always touching—there’s never any space between them.


When you’re considering LCD monitor pixel pitch, what you’re actually considering is the size of the pixels themselves. The higher the pixel pitch on an LCD monitor, the bigger the pixel, and the blurrier the image will appear when a view is up close.


LED Monitor Pixel Pitch


When you’re considering LED video wall pixel pitch, you’re considering the space between the pixels that make up your screen. Common LED pixel pitch wall measurements are 1mm, 1.2mm, 1.5mm, 2.9mm, 4mm, and 9mm.


Why is pixel pitch important?


Pixel pitch is important because it’s the biggest factor in the price of your display.


An LED screen with a small pixel pitch is much harder to manufacture than a screen with a large pixel pitch, and is therefore more expensive.


A 150-inch LED wall pixel pitch of 4mm might cost $40,000, whereas one with a 1.2mm pixel pitch could cost up to $160,000. But focusing on cost alone could leave you with a display that people can’t see well—or don’t want to look at.


The key is to find the balance between cost and image quality. If you’re purchasing digital signage for a conference space, but a 1.2mm pixel pitch isn’t in the budget, how much larger can you go before the image is so low quality that the viewer can’t see it anymore?


We’ve got a formula for that.


What is the best pixel pitch for you?


The most critical factor in determining the pixel pitch is the distance between your audience and the screen. Each display manufacturer will recommend an optimal pixel pitch per distance from the screen, but they often (understandably) make recommendations based on the products they offer. This makes it difficult to compare products across manufacturers.


Pixel Pitch Formula by Distance


To solve this problem, we talked to technicians and sales representatives from multiple manufacturers and AV integration companies in our network to come up with two different formulas that will allow you to determine pixel pitch. That makes it easier to compare LED screen choices across manufacturers.


For Image Quality-conscious Buyers:


To guarantee a good image quality without breaking the bank, use this formula, which works by taking the pixel pitch of the display and multiplying it by 10 to determine how many feet your audience should be from that display.

Pixel pitch x 10 = optimal distance from display in feet


1.2mm x 10 = 12 feet

This means if your viewers are any closer than 12 ft to your screen, you’ll need a lower pixel pitch than 1.2mm. You can apply this formula across the board—4mm screens need at least 40 feet between them and the viewer; 9mm screens need 90 feet; and so on.


For Budget-conscious Buyers:


If you’re on a tight budget and are willing to sacrifice some image quality for the sake of the bank, use this formula. It works by doubling your pixel pitch to determine how many meters your audience should be from your display, and then multiplying that by 3.281 to get a measurement in feet.

Pixel pitch x 2 = optimal distance from display in meters x 3.281 = Optimal distance from display in feet


1.2mm x 2 = 2.4 meters x 3.281 = 7.87 feet

While your viewers might be able to notice a lower image quality at 7.87 feet versus 12 feet, you can get away with a 1.2mm screen at this distance. Using these two formulas, it’s safe to assume that the optimal distance between the screen and the audience for a display with 1.2mm pixel pitch is between 8 and 12 feet.


Here’s a breakdown of the calculation for the most common pixel pitches:

Pixel Pitch

Quality-conscious

Budget-conscious

Range

1mm

10 feet

6.56 feet

7–10 feet

​1.2mm

12 feet

7.87 feet

8–12 feet

1.5mm

15 feet

9.84 feet

10–15 feet

2.9mm

29 feet

19.02 feet

19–29 feet

4mm

40 feet

26.24 feet

26–40 feet

9mm

90 feet

59.05 feet

59–90 feet

You’ll also need to take into consideration how your screen will be viewed.


For example, a larger pixel pitch might work for a display in the lobby of a student center where students only view your display as they walk by in passing. But in the classroom, you’ll want a lower pixel pitch where students need to read fine text and view lesson materials.


Finally, consider your demographic. Viewers with sharp eyes and hearing will be able to process a larger pixel pitch better than those without.


Choosing the right pixel pitch is about more than just price.


There’s more to pixel pitch than just price. Choosing the largest pixel pitch available could land you with screens that are tough to see, providing a bad experience for those viewing it. On the other hand, choosing a screen with the smallest pixel pitch available could be a waste of budget that’s better spent elsewhere, like on speakers or a good microphone.


If you’re looking for guidance on how to select a monitor with the best pixel pitch for your space, contact the experts at Aspen Custom Electronics today for a free consultation.