Top 6 Tips for Designing & Installing Outdoor LED Videowalls

Published: June 24, 2024

The applications for outdoor videowalls are as wide ranging and diverse as they are scalable and customizable. From digital signage at sports stadiums, marquees at entertainment venues, message boards in corporate atriums and open-air menu boards at restaurants to wayfinding displays at transportation hubs, videowalls cater to the presentation needs of a remarkable array of vertical markets. They serve multiple purposes and have proven themselves powerful assets to the growth and prosperity of businesses for both, the customers’ and yours.

Engaging, entertaining, versatile, and effective at conveying a plethora of information and enhancing brand visibility, not to mention packed technological advantages over other large-format display solutions, videowalls are becoming the de-facto standard for outdoor imaging.

According to Straits Research, the global outdoor LED display market size was valued at USD 7.42 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 17.89 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.2% during the forecast period (2022–2030).

Still, there are a few critical factors to consider when integrating LED videowalls in outdoor environments. They may be built to withstand Mother Nature, are bright enough to perform admirably on the sunniest of days and enhance the viewing experience like nothing else; however, here, we offer some tips to combat the many variable outdoor conditions that can make or break a successful LED videowall installation.

1. Know the movement of the sun and position the videowall accordingly

An LED videowall’s biggest claim to fame is its incredible brightness. No other display alternative can achieve such a bright, crisp, vivid picture, rain or shine. Today, 10,000 nits is fairly standard, which is more than enough for outdoor applications. Still, a direct hit of sunlight hits on an LED videowall is bound to wash out an image somewhat. Rather than rely on the technology of an LED videowall to overcome the sun, take steps to position the videowall to avoid it. Scope out the space and note how the position and intensity of the sun change throughout the day. Stay away from those super-sunny areas if you can.

2. Integrate environmental light sensors to modulate the brightness of the LED videowall

You might be inclined to go with the brightest LED videowall available to combat sunlight. This plan only works during the day. At night, the extreme brightness will likely overpower the audience, making the images almost painful to look at. The whole experience suffers.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that can dramatically enhance the visibility of an LED videowall, day and night. Sensors that monitor the level of natural light can engage an LED videowall to auto-adjust its brightness to ensure no matter what time of day or degree of natural sunlight images look stellar. Your customer never needs to tweak settings — the brightness modulation happens gradually, so there’s no abrupt change in the picture.

3. Provide extra protection from wind and moisture

LED videowalls intended for outdoor use carry a P67 rating, which means all materials have been engineered, designed and manufactured to withstand extreme temperatures, and strong wind and heavy rainfall. For extra assurance of top performance and long lifespan, make sure the LED panels have a UV resistant coating to protect the display from prolonged exposure to sunlight and are designed to drain surface water.

Stainless steel and aluminum hardware, including the frame, screws and mounting assemblies are also important to prevent corrosion. On board intelligent cooling systems, meanwhile, prolong the life of an LED videowall and preclude the need for additional temperature control.

Some extra steps you can take to further safeguard the videowall include the use of additional supports to stabilize videowalls in areas prone to high winds and placing the display as low as possible without compromising visibility. If the videowall will be subject to heavy rain, be sure the rear or front access is secure and watertight. Clamps and zip ties work! Finally, make sure all electrical receptacles feeding the videowall are waterproof.

4. Choose the right mode of access to a videowall’s internal components

You’ve got two choices when it comes to gaining access to a videowall’s internal components and circuitry: the front of the display or the back. Front or rear access may seem like a minor detail, but in outdoor applications, it can make or break the time and energy required to service technology. Determine which design will be most convenient for your technicians based on the application.

For example, if the videowall will be used in an outdoor entertainment venue, rear access allows techs to swap panels and adjust settings quickly and covertly without disrupting the show. Back up this plan with redundant power supplies and video feeds. The show must go on!

5. Pick a pixel pitch suitable for the viewing distance and the content

In outdoor settings, viewing distances vary widely, from a few feet away when referring to a display for directions to several hundred feet apart when attending an open-air music festival. Similarly, the content displayed on an LED videowall can range from static baseball stats to moving digital art. No matter the location, audience or the type of content, the goal is always the same — optimal clarity and the most accurate reproduction of the original content. This all boils down to pixel pitch — a rating that affects the resolution of the image.

Historically, a popular pixel is 2.9 mm — a good baseline for non-critical viewing from long distances like stats at a baseball stadium or signage on a billboard. As applications for outdoor LED videowalls expand into other markets, however, you can now find LED panels with much smaller, finer pixel pitches, which render a true HD resolution for critical viewing of content and at a close range. A 1.2 mm pixel pitch produces the clear, pin-sharp images required of outdoor performance centers, concert venues, galleries and other environments where keeping audiences highly entertained and engaged is imperative.

Bottom line: Know the space, the audience and your customer’s expectations before specifying an appropriate pixel pitch of an outdoor LED videowall.

6. Align with a manufacturer that does the heavy lifting

With so many variables to consider, specifying, designing, configuring and installing outdoor LED videowalls can prove a complex exercise. If you’re new to the business, there’s no need to become an expert overnight or go it alone. Manufacturers offering comprehensive service and support from a team of LED experts can streamline every part of an LED videowall project, leaving more time for you to direct and manage the workflow, interface with your customers, and focus on other areas of the job.

LED videowalls represent an incredible opportunity to expand your business and grow revenue. The market is growing and shows no sign of slowing down, especially in outdoor applications. It’s important to understand the nuances of outdoor designs and installations before taking the plunge, so use these tips as a reference during your discovery of exploring new untapped applications!

George Walter is a senior executive with Digital Projection.

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