Digital Signage and Off-Axis Viewing

Joey Davis September 20, 2017 1877 Views 0 Comments AVI, blog, Whitlock

When you wander into a Best Buy to check out a new television for your living room, you don’t make your decision simply based on how each screen looks when viewed straight on. You move around, you walk from side to side, and you do this because you know that once the TV is in your house, you want your family and friends to be able to see a high quality picture from a wide range of angles. You may even have been burned in the past by a television that loses its contrast or color uniformity when viewed from the side. This same due diligence for off-axis viewing applies when researching large-format LED displays.

Businesses choose to install large-format LED displays for the specific purpose of attracting attention. LED’s are brighter and more powerful than their digital relatives, and are uniquely equipped to engage the interest of audiences from an array of viewing distances and angles. They can be installed almost anywhere, which means they can also be viewed from almost anywhere. This makes it imperative that LED displays are optimized for off-axis viewing, but the truth is that many are not. Off-axis viewing, as you probably gathered, is a phrase used to describe the act of looking at a display from an angle that is at least one degree away from center, or in simpler terms, from the side. To understand how off-axis viewing works for large-format LED displays, it is worth it to recall the basics of how an LED display is built.

What Most Manufacturers Do

LED displays are composed of pixels, which themselves are composed of individual red, green, and blue (RGB) diodes. Traditionally, these RGB diodes are arranged horizontally to form their unified pixel, and when seen from straight on, it looks great. When an audience member walks a few feet to the side though, they might lose sight of whichever color diode is the furthest away. For example, if the blue diode is on the right hand side of the pixel, that diode will become harder to see as the viewer moves to their left. The viewer loses the ability to see the complete pixel, and as a result, the color they see might not be accurate. RGB diodes work together to create specific colors, but if one of those diodes is hidden from view, the seen color is corrupted. This begs the question then, if arranging RGB diodes horizontally compromises image quality when viewed from an off-axis angle, why are manufacturers still doing it? Well, they aren’t. At least, we at NanoLumens aren’t.

What We Do

Our RGB diodes are arranged vertically, so when an audience changes their viewing angle, they don’t see parts of pixels; they either see the whole pixel, or none of it. This means the content shown on

our displays will never appear interrupted or fragmented. This unique construction detail becomes particularly relevant when viewing our curved Nixel Series displays. This proprietary flexible LED display technology can be wrapped around columns, curved along the outside of a store-front, or even built in the shape of a ribbon to exhibit curves both convex and concave. This is where our vertically aligned pixels shine brightest.

Our patented, seamlessly curved displays take advantage of this unique pixel design to present a continuous picture that is unmatched in the industry. Other manufacturers may claim to produce a curved display, but in reality their installations don’t curve, and instead just facet together flat rectangular surfaces to create the illusion of a curve. These installations not only leave visible, blocky creases in the final picture, but also use horizontally arranged diodes, meaning the off-axis picture is compromised anyway.

Why It Matters

A fundamental reason why our off-axis versatility is so crucial is because LED displays are often not viewed by a stationary audience. These digital displays are frequently used in high-traffic areas where viewers are walking around. As a viewer walks by a display, the amount of time he is able to see content is a function of the off-axis viewing capabilities of the display. For example, if a display only has an off-axis angle range of 90 degrees, or 45 degrees from center each way, a viewer will only be exposed to the content while he is within that range. Once he has moved beyond 45 degrees to the right or left of center, the display content is no longer cleanly visible. In contrast, a display with a viewing angle range of 160 degrees, or 80 degrees from center each way, allows for over 4 times the total visibility. In the image below, the pink region represents the visible area for a display with a 90 degree off-axis angle range, while the green region represents the additional area that becomes visible for a display with a 160 degree range.

off-axis viewing

In order to be effective, content needs to be seen, and the longer someone sees content, the more likely it becomes to leave an impression. The better the off-axis ability of the display, the longer your content will be viewable, and the more likely it will be to influence audience members. At the risk of oversimplifying, LED displays are designed to display. The more versatile a display is with regard to off-axis viewing, the better it is at its designed purpose, and the more value it will provide to your business.

Businesses turn to large-format LED displays because they need a game-changer. They need a feature that can brilliantly display content to dazzle viewers. Simply grabbing attention is not sufficient though; a display needs to keep it. If an audience gives their attention to an LED feature and is met with poor off-axis image quality, they will lose focus on the actual message of the content and instead concentrate only on the display flaws. Consumers will walk away only remembering the ugly color shifts and quality drop-offs rather than the unique impression of your content. NanoLumens unique diode arrangement and proprietary curved technology ensure that these faults never occur, giving your business a world-class LED display any way you look at it. To learn more about what separates our displays from the competition, take a look at our white paper, “All LED Displays Are Basically the Same… Right?

~Doug Price
VP of Systems Engineering