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Making sense of pixel pitch and resolution

April 12, 2019

Making sense of pixel pitch and resolution
Earlier this month we discussed how ticker solutions might be a good source of revenue for your business. With the right application of ticker technology and content, you can create dynamic and engaging signage for your customers. Are you ready?

Tickers can be implemented in two ways. The first is to allocate a section of a digital sign (usually the bottom) for ticker content. Another conventional method is to install a stand-alone ticker display. These are long, thin, LED-based signs. If you’re interested in these types of tickers, you’ll want to make sure you understand some nuances.

For example, let’s assume that after speaking with a customer, you determine that they need a ticker display that’s approximately 10-inches high and 8-feet long. It’s important to note that if you have displays of this size from 5 different manufacturers, the quality could be very different due to the resolution and pixel pitch. Both can dramatically affect the performance of your solution.

What is resolution?
You probably already know the definition of resolution thanks to the photos, monitors and television screens we interact with daily. Wikipedia says that resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. Resolution is usually referenced in terms of width x height.

How is pixel pitch related to resolution?
Where some solution providers go wrong is in assuming that the resolution of ticker displays is as straightforward as other common displays. In reality, you can’t get a complete picture of a ticker display’s readability, detail and perceived crispness unless you also know the pixel pitch.

LED pixel pitch is defined as the space or distance between pixels, usually measured in fractions of an inch. For example, a ticker might have a pixel pitch of .25 inches, meaning there’s one-quarter of an inch between LEDs. It’s possible for two tickers to have the same resolution, but for the text or graphic to look completely different if one device has a pixel pitch of .25 and the other .3. In other words, the ticker with a .3-pixel pitch will leave more space between LEDs.

Combining pixel pitch and resolution
These two measurements are essential when determining the size of your ticker text. If you multiply your pixel pitch with the resolution height, you can calculate the size of your text. A pixel pitch of .25 and height of 24 will equal letters 6 inches high. A pixel pitch of .3 and resolution height of 24 results in letters 7.2 inches tall.

With this in mind, you can see how a larger pixel pitch (i.e., more space between LEDs) will look less clear up close than the same sized display with a smaller pixel pitch. This may or may not matter depending on where the viewer is standing. When it comes to LED tickers, having this understanding will allow you to select the right display with the right pixel pitch for both indoor and outdoor applications.

If you need further assistance on this topic or need help to identify the best ticker display for your customer, contact Tom Jones, Ingram Micro’s pro AV expert.