With the introduction of many different types of fine pixel pitch LED displays surfacing in the digital signage market, there can be confusion on how to differentiate these types of LED products. For digital signage applications, IHS Markit emphasizes a greater focus on pixel pitch rather than chip size, but we still want to provide clarity on how we classify mini LED versus micro LED:
- IHS Markit defines mini LED = generally RGB LED whose “size” of sub pixel chip is greater than 100μm (as we see 200-300μm solution case from Samsung “The Wall”).
- Comparably, IHS Markit defines micro LED = generally RGB LED whose “size” of sub pixel chip is equal to or less than 100μm (as we see <50μm or around solution case from Samsung’s 75” Micro LED TV or SONY’s Crystal LED). “Micro LED” refers to the manufacturing terminology, since the key focus is how to mount micro LED chips accurately with a high yield rate.
Recently launched fine pitch LED video displays targeted at digital signage applications include:
SONY announced the world’s largest Crystal LED display system, equipped with SONY’s unique display technology called “CLEDIS” micro LED technology. The display is installed in Yokohama, Japan at the Shiseido Global Innovation Center.
- The size of the videowall is 19.2m wide and 5.4m height (794” diagonal)
- The resolution is 16K by 4K (more precisely, 15360 x 4320 pixels)
- A total of 576 LED video modules used (module unit has 320 x 360 pixels)
- The Crystal LED display has 1.26mm (1260μm) pixel pitch, with its LED chip size is 0.003 square mm
Samsung also revealed fine pitch LED products within the past year.
- Earlier this year at ISE, Samsung showcased “The Wall” LED solution which features 8K resolution (292”) and has 0.847mm pixel pitch with 225μm LED chip size.
- “The Wall Professional” is targeted toward luxury digital signage videowall applications, such as hotel lobbies, high-end retail stores, executive boardrooms, VIP stadium suites, and lavish residences.
- Additionally, Samsung’s 75” 4K micro LED Display announced at CES 2019 has 0.432mm pixel pitch with 58μm LED chip size.
Based on IHS Markit’s definition of LED chip size, SONY’s announcement of the Crystal LED display is only area-based, so we assume its shape will be circular and set the diameter with 62μm, making it a micro LED product.
Fine pitch LED displays now eliminate the bezel gaps that plague LCD videowalls, making them truly seamless without any viewing disruptions. Another advantage of using LED displays for videowalls is their highly customizable options, with a wide range of sizes allowing for these displays to be uniquely tailored for specific installations. Digital signage and videowall solutions are the initial technology approach to launch fine pitch LED displays, with the potential to transform this technology to more of a “micro pitch” LED approach for smart phones or watches in future applications.
IHS Markit believes the intended markets for fine pitch LED displays will primarily be:
- Lobby entrances for both corporate and hospitality sectors
- Boardroom and conference rooms
- Industrial design and review centers
- Simulation centers
- Command and control rooms
- Visual event such as public viewing or fashion show venues
- Amusement facilities
Utilizing displays for digital signage is beneficial to show content with exquisite display quality – such as higher contrast ratio, color coordination, brightness control range, as well as high dynamic range (HDR). Fine pixel pitch LED adoption is increasing significantly for indoor applications, however, IHS Markit believes the <1mm pixel pitch category will not become mainstream soon as the premium cost for these displays is still very inflated.
With many display brands focusing on fine pitch LED displays for digital signage use, the common tendency is shifting to fine pixel pitch products below 1mm. Currently, Leyard’s 0.7mm pixel pitch is the finest pixel pitch LED video product, but it will be limited by manufacturing constraints with conventional LED mounting technology, such as chip on board (COB). In certain applications requiring even smaller pixel pitch, utilizing micro LED technology in these cases will be most appropriate.
In 2018, IHS Markit reported 280K units/sqm of LED video modules with pixel pitch less than 5mm, and expects these fine pixel pitch products to increase to 960K unit/sqm by 2022. Based on the latest iteration of the LED Video Displays Market Tracker, IHS Markit expects these indoor fine pixel pitch LED displays under 1.99mm to reach over 82K units/sqm for digital signage applications in 2019, a 73.5% YoY increase over 2018.