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The Biology Behind LED Screens Revealed

Aug 17, 2007
Putting together a 100sqm screen is simply a result of assembling together smaller modules. Each LED screen manufacturer has modules of different sizes and shapes (square or rectangular, from 25*25cm up to 1m*1m). It's impossible to define the best shape/size combination as each one has pros and cons.

But for example, let's consider a 1sqm module (1m*1m). In this case, if you want to build a 35sqm LED display, you will need 35 modules that you will assemble in five lines of seven modules each. This modular system makes LED screens suitable for any kind of installation (on truss, walls, roofs, on-stage, and on temporary structures for specific events). It enables easy maintenance and does not set any limits in shape, size, and resolution.

So any LED screen of the same size and the same pixel pitch has the same image quality, right? Unfortunately not. Many factors can make the difference, including gamma correction. The gamma correction is a video management feature fundamental when visualizing images on every type of screen, from the television to the PC monitor, and to the LED display. The gamma correction controls and manages the brightness and color levels of the whole image. If it is not performed correctly, figures will appear either solarized or too dark. But why?

To answer, it is necessary to make another biological consideration: the reaction of the human eye to the luminous stimulations is logarithmic. This means that the eye is able to see both the flash of a thunderbolt and the quivering light of a star. If the reaction to luminous stimulations was linear, as with machines, the human would be totally blind below a certain level of illumination and constantly dazzled by lights that are too bright.

The gamma correction is, therefore, the exponential correction of color levels on which the PC graphic is based, and it is fundamental to adapt the colors to the logarithmic vision of the human eye. Only with a proper gamma correction is it possible to visualize perfectly natural pictures and videos. A perfect correction is often the result of years of research and experience, resulting in the higher quality of the images and in greater depth of the colors.

Obviously, the number of colors available also affects the image quality. On the market, there are several LED screen manufacturers, each one with its own technology and products. Displays utilizing an 8-bit technology are able to visualize 256 color levels for each of the three primary colors. This means that they are able to visualize 256*256*256 = 16.8 million colors in total.

Displays utilizing a 16-bit technology for each color are able to visualize 65,000 color levels for each of the three primary colors. This means that it is possible to visualize 65,000*65,000*65,000 = 275 billion colors in total.

Now, if the screen works at the highest luminosity, for the human eye there is no big difference between a display with 16 million colors and a 275 billion-color display. Differences begin to be visible when the display works at reduced brightness, for example to slow down the natural decay of the LEDs and to reduce power consumption.

To reduce a screen's brightness, it is necessary to reduce the number of color levels visualized by the display; to provide a proportion, reducing the luminosity by 50% reduces the color levels available by 50% as well.

Having a palette of 65,000 color levels allows an incredibly superior quality and naturalness, even at the lowest brightness levels. Such a high number of colors available guarantees the visualization of all the colors perceptible by the human eye, even when luminosity is reduced to the minimum.

There are many other factors influencing the image quality of LED screens. Here, we just summarized the basics. Hope you found it useful.
About the Author
Fabio Aversa is author of the FREE ebook on LED Walls "How To Make Money With Your LED Giant Screen In 7 Easy Steps" and of the very FIRST blog on LED Displays marketing tips. He is marketing manager at Euro Display, the leading manufacturer of LED Screens and LED Signs.
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