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LED Sign & Display Specialists

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Comparison of SMD and DIP LEDs for use in Large Format LED screens

Comparison of SMD and DIP LEDs for use in Large Format LED screens


Advances in LED technology have meant increasing availability and use of SMD (Surface Mount Device) LED’s in a range of applications from lighting to big screens.  These are now widely available alongside the classic DIP (Dual Inline Package) LED’s.  This white paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each specifically when used in large format full colour LED displays.


DIP (Dual Inline Package) LED’s

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The DIP LED is the classic LED, so called because it has two ‘legs’ which act as connectors.  A single semiconductor Die sits in a reflector, in turn encased by an Epoxy Lens / case.



LED’s can be grouped together in a three colour RGB pixel (Red/Green/Blue) and used to create full colour images.


SMD (Surface Mount Device) LED’s

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Here the three colour dies all sit in one package, encased by a transparent epoxy.  When made up into a screen the LED’s form a characteristic dot matrix as per the image overleaf


Image of SMD LED matrix screen



LED Type Advantages Disadvantages
SMD Allows use of much smaller pixel pitches, down to under 2mm indoors and 5mm outdoors. Small pixel size means large areas between pixels on low resolution screens, leading to dotty images from further away.
Better viewing angles horizontally (typically 140 degrees vs DIP 90-120 degrees) Harder to service
Much better viewing angle vertically, good for high displays Not liked by some clients for use in areas near seawater due to corrosion.
Better colour matching and slightly improved reliability Uses approx. 25% more energy than comparable DIP screen
DIP Well proven solution Can’t go smaller than 10mm pixel pitch
Usually lower cost LED’s need to be colour matched carefully and batched.
Can deliver ‘focused’ screen with reduced light pollution up and to sides.

Messagemaker offer both styles of LED and are happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both.





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Barclays Bank Case Study

curved halo LED signBarclays Bank Case Study

A new floating halo display being rolled out by Barclays incorporates state of the art LED display technology from Messagemaker Displays. Introducing movement and visual impact, the futuristic overhead displays display a greeting message which can be
personalised to the local branch.

Following a competitive tender process, Messagemaker was commissioned to install Single Line LED tickers to overhead halo
displays in selected Barclays retail banking outlets. To date, the company has installed six displays, with additional systems
scheduled for installation going forward.

Messagemaker’s appointment reflects the strength and longevity of the company’s existing relationship with Barclays as an established supplier of foreign exchange boards.

LED tickers lend a sense of dynamism to retail environments, providing information through a visually attractive medium that commands attention. The latest LED technology allows designers more freedom to incorporate unusual shapes, including curves or angles, while lightweight materials enable displays to be suspended for greater effect and all-round visibility.

The new ticker displays incorporate a 10 millimetre pixel pitch blue LED moving message, mounted on special flexible printed circuit boards and chassis.

Moving messages create a favourable first impression and are more impactful than static displays. Easy to programme, the new system allows messages to be updated locally as required at no additional cost.

visit for more information

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Creativity at the Center of Boston’s New District Hall LED Displays – PR Leap (press release)

PR Leap (press release)
Creativity at the Center of Boston’s New District Hall LED Displays
PR Leap (press release)
The District Hall project features two separate high-resolution 12 mm pitch S|Video™ displays that face Seaport Boulevard.

Stocksigns Group‘s insight:

LED big screens provide the ideal medium for exciting content 

See on

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LED Screens – how big is enough? What size LED screen should I use?

Screens – how big is enough?

We are often asked what size LED screen is needed for our customer’s project? there’s a very simple rule that says the maximum readable distance of a  screen is 10x the screen area.  So a 24 square metre screen can be seen from up to 240 Metres and so on.  To put that in perspective, it’s like sitting 5 Metres away from a 42” screen. This 5 square metre screen (below) needs to be seen from across Oxford Street – maybe 30-40 Metres maximum.

where as this larger 1000 square metre screen can theoretically be seen 10 km away!

The video embedded on this page for example shows a 4 square metre screen, photographed at about 20 Metres distance.  This sign is very effective and text is legible up to 80-100m away.

If you bear that in mind ,(as a minimum), then you’ll not go far wrong.    One of the most common issues we have with clients is believing they need something bigger than the metrics above indicate.  And that’s fine if the project requires it,  your budget is big enough, or you actually want a bigger impact.

There is of course also a point where a screen is just too big to comprehend – our largest screen is 1000 square metres.  Obviously if you are 15 Metres away from that you’re only going to be able to comprehend a tiny part of that screen.

In approximate terms there’s a ‘comfortable closest’  distance which is typically the width plus the height of a screen.  So in our 24 Metre screen example where width is 6M and height 4M that comfortable viewing distance is 10M.  And that’d be like sitting 1.4 Metres from a 42” screen.

It’s Important to say that there are plenty of cases where bigger screens than this ratio are specified to give extra impact or where a particular artistic effect is required.  And there are plenty of other things to consider when specifying a big screen.

If your content is mainly text-based, then look out for our next bog post on text viewing distances.

So, in summary here’s the numbers you need to commit to your memory

Readable distance – 10x the screen area in Metres

Noticeable distance – 20 x the screen area in Metres.

Closest comfortable viewing distance to comprehend whole screen – height + width of screen area in Metres