ise 2019: the big LED walls

As usual, last week’s Integrated Systems Europe 2019 had some stunning large-scale LED screens on display. For those of you not familiar, these are direct-view LEDs, typically configured on panels that can built up into large-scale, seamless video walls. These screens can be incredibly bright and incredibly big — when you stand in front of one of these walls, you can nearly experience a “virtual reality” moment (sans any annoying headsets).

The technology continues to improve dramatically, with incredibly fine pixel pitches (down to 0.7mm center-to-center pixel spacing), observably better build quality, plus some stunning examples of picture clarity.

The big daddy of the show this year was Sony. They had an absolutely insane screen measuring 9.7 x 4.5m (that’s 32 feet wide by 15 feet tall for all my American friends!) with a 1.2mm pixel pitch. That equals 7680 x 4320 pixels — which is exactly native 8K resolution. At a tight 1.2mm pixel pitch, you can’t really perceive individual pixels from only 1-2m away. And they were showing some drop-dead gorgeous 8K, 120P video shot at Rio’s famous Carnival parade. You could literally see individual specs of glitter on the skin of the dancers – ACROSS THE ENTIRE MASSIVE SCREEN! I snagged an an executive from Sony and he said the screen costs approximately $3 million (a gross “all-in” price).

It is hard to convey the size of this massive screen from Sony!
A highlight of the entire ISE show, everyone stopped to take pictures and just stare in awe of Sony’s LED screen.

Samsung also stepped up its LED screen game this year with a couple stunning screens. One had a 1.26mm pixel pitch with gorgeous content.

The second Samsung stunner was called “The Wall“, which previously had some major hype at the CES show in Las Vegas. With a pixel pitch of 0.84mm, they were showing a screen with 3225 x 1814 resolution. The refinement of the panel seams (practically none visible), plus the black of the surface (exceptionally deep-black “off” pixels) gives it a superb visual acuity.

Samsung “The Wall” at ISE 2019
Samsung “The Wall” – it is very difficult to convey the real-life visual quality of these leading LED screens.

There were countless suppliers of LED screens in all styles, shapes and quality levels. But I will highlight two more:

AOTO showed a spectacular screen with 1.5mm pixel pitch, 7680×2160 resolution at 12m long x 3.4m tall, running approximately 4k resolution. A sales manager told me the screen was roughly $750k.

SiliconCore continues to catch my eye, year after year. They have outstanding picture and color quality that is clearly better then the vast majority of LED screen suppliers at ISE. This year they were showing stunning screens at both 1.2mm and 0.95mm pixel pitches. A sales guy told me that screens big enough for 4K in either pitch are approximately $500k.

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