LED Walls offer many advantages over projection. While they do have a higher up-front cost, they are cheaper to maintain…
LED Walls offer many advantages over projection. While they do have a higher up-front cost, they are cheaper to maintain and consume about half the power resulting in lower overall cost to own. They are also easier to maintain. Maintenance on an LED wall is often as simple as adjusting a cable from a ladder where projector maintenance might require a scissor lift!
Because LEDs are their own light source, viewers are seeing the direct light created by the LEDs. In a projector, viewers are looking at a reflection of the light source. A typical projector has a very small (usually less than 1”) imaging panel with between 1 and 2.3 million pixels. This image is projected to a large white reflective screen. They are usually mounted high, so they are out of the direct path of people on the stage.
How do LED Walls compare to projectors?
AMBIENT LIGHT ADVANTAGE
Because a projector is sending light a certain distance, they perform much better in lower light situations. High amounts of ambient light or outdoor use will wash out the projection. A well-designed LED wall panel can function well in bright or dim environments. The brightness can also be controlled so that the image has the same crispness no matter the ambient light. The key spec you are looking at here is brightness when comparing LED panels.
Contrast is the difference between light and dark in an image. In simple terms, when all three LED colors (Red, Green, Blue) are mixed in full, white is produced. All three colors OFF will appear black, and then equal amounts of each in between and full brightness will reproduce grays.
With a projector, all those grays and blacks have to be projected via light and then reflected back at the viewer. Black is not projected; it is the absence of color. This results in blacks appearing in various shades of gray, creating less than optimal contrasts.
The contrast of a projector is entirely dependent on the darkness of the room. When the room is pitch black, the blacks will be closer to black. When the room is lighter, blacks will appear more gray.
Projectors have components that need to be maintained on a regular basis. The lamp that projects the image to the screen dims over time and will need to be replaced, generally 2 times a year. The lens will also need to be cleaned and any dust on the vents will need to be cleaned.
While the maintenance tasks themselves don’t take too much effort, the challenge tends to be that they are mounted on the ceiling. In many churches and event spaces, this means scaffolding, ladders, or scissor lifts.
By contrast, LED Wall panels are easy to maintain. Many have both front and rear access to serviceable parts, providing easy access to cables and replaceable parts. In most cases, a simple ladder is all that is required to access even higher LED panels.
LED Wall Stage Design Benefits
LED Wall panels can be placed anywhere on your stage. They can be wall-mounted, if you are replacing projector screens. They can be flown, which means mounted from the ceiling. Or they can be ground stacked, which means they are attached to a frame that sits on the stage.
With all these options, it is possible to use LED panels to create your stage design. And since they are not dependent on projection, performers can stand in front of them without creating shadows.
Since they are relatively easy to install and re-install, ground-stacked LED wall panels can be moved from month to month or week to week, creating dynamic stages that continue to generate interest.
LED panels have a myriad of processing options to make your images look great. Whether you set it once and leave it alone, or adjust it for your content weekly, LED panels give you full control over the output of your image. With projection, you have limited control and it usually has to be adjusted by remote control.
As you can see, there are a number of benefits to choosing LED panels over projection. While projectors might save a bit of money upfront, the flexibility and image quality of LED screens more than makeup for that difference. Over time, each of use, power consumption, and cost of maintenance tip in favor of LED Walls. They are an investment that pays off quickly in both saved money and ease of use.