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Choosing the right display

Understanding the four main display technology categories, how to avoid expensive mistakes and how to get the best results.

Choosing the right display

When it comes to choosing large displays of 100” and above, how do you choose between the four main display types: large flat panel display (LFPD), videowall, Direct View LED or a projection display?  Each type each offers particular advantages for certain types of applications. Use this guide to understand both the similarities and significant differences between them.

The essential requirements of a display differ according to application and the desired user experience. Meeting rooms, lecture theatres, auditoriums or public information displays: all have distinct requirements. One size most definitely does not fit all.

Here, we look at the technology choices you have across the range of image sizes and for different applications. Use this in conjunction with Our 8 essentials in specifying screens and displays guide which provides all the specification steps and processes you need to deliver flawless images to your clients.

Size – yes, it’s important!

Most display sizes are too small relative to the space and user requirement. Too often the farthest viewers suffer poor viewing experience, when viewers and students cannot read the displayed material. Such designed-in specification errors, whether accidental or not, are completely avoidable, as you will see below. Using the internationally recognised DISCAS standard is so easy in any case! Also use DISCAS to determine resolution, farthest and closest viewing distances, viewing angle and desired content (font) size. 

Displays under 90”
Choose single flat panel displays

FPDs are getting bigger and cheaper, offering excellent image quality, value and ease of installation in display sizes up to around 90”. This makes them the right choice for small meeting rooms (2-6 people), where the ideal display size is typically 60-70”. There are two simple rules to stick to: only use professional grade displays; select a screen with an anti-reflective surface that you have evaluated under bright lighting

Display sizes from 92”- 120”
Choose specialist projection displays

The ideal display size for medium-sized meeting rooms and classrooms (7-15 people), where the required screen size is typically 100-120”. Specialist ambient light rejecting (ALR) optical screens plus next generation laser projectors offer flawless images and detailed content viewing at less than 50% of the cost and a fraction of the weight of single flat panel displays. Visual Displays Complete Laser Display packages offer many options in this category.

Display sizes above 120”
Depends on requirements

Above around 100” there is no single flat panel alternative. 

Videowalls offer huge, crystal clear images ideal for signage and ambient content applications where fine detail is not important. Created by tiling multiple displays into a single image. Be aware of choice-limiting size restrictions and the distraction of visible joint lines (mullions). In some locations their weight can make them impossible to use.

Direct View LED screens (also known as LED screens and LED displays) have transformed large-scale signage for sports stadiums and billboards. As perfect as they are for these applications, they are unsuitable for any ProAV application where clients need to view normal content and read text. The fixed pixel sizes creates clumsy image size choices when resolutions are specified properly*.
Apart from the eye-watering cost of using such displays for serious content display, they are usually much too bright and a cause of asthenopia (eye strain). In some locations their weight can make them impossible to use.

*See example calculations below.

Projected image displays using laser projection and ALR (ambient light-rejecting) screen technology can deliver images to any size at exact and proper resolutions. They are seamless and massively lower cost and weight per square inch to the two alternatives detailed above, but cannot be used outdoors.

Visual Displays Complete Laser Displays Packages

Visual Displays' Complete Laser Displays packages are available from 100” to any size. Comprising dnp Supernova specialist ALR optical screens plus market-leading Epson laser projectors this all in one display solution offers the same flawless image quality as LCD/LED but at a fraction of the cost. For a seamless display with detailed content viewing of any size you choose. Find out more here…


*For example, a typical 1.2mm pixel size (‘pitch’) gives you fixed choice of a 2.304m x 1.296m display at HD resolution or 4.608m x 2.592m at UHD (‘4K’) resolution. If you accept the random resolution created by a given image size, the content will not be sharp because the system will use a ‘scaler’ processor to square the circle of showing content the input resolution (typically HD) upscaled or downscaled to the non-standard image resolution you’ve been forced to use. For example, if you need a 3.5m wide image and you install a direct view LED screen of 1.2mm pixel pitch your display resolution will be a random 2917 x 1641 pixels and your displayed content will be stretched 1.52 times the input HD content and thus not be sharp.

FAQs - choosing the right display

  1. What is the best projection screen?
  2. Is a flat panel display better than projector and screen?
  3. What is the best display for a meeting room?
  4. What are the best displays for a lecture theatre?
  5. Can I use projection in a brightly lit room?

What is the best projection screen?

  • Choose the right screen for your requirement and budget
  • Type - fixed / portable / electric drop-down
  • Size - from 100” up to any size
  • Brightly lit rooms require specialist ambient-light rejecting screens
  • Small spaces require compact ultra short-throw displays

Our range of professional projection screens from dnp denmark, Euroscreen and Draper includes electric drop-down, manual, fixed frame, frameless and seamless modular screens of up to any size and specialist technologies such as ambient light-rejecting screens for brightly lit conditions. This gives us the best possible selection to ensure we have the right screen for your requirements.

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Is a flat panel display better than projector and screen?

  • It depends on size and budget
  • Up to 90” choose a flat panel display (professional grade anti-reflective surface)
  • Over 90” choose projection (for best results ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen + laser projector)
  • Over 90” flat panel displays are much more expensive than ALR laser projection

Our Complete Laser Display is an all in one solution (ALR screen, laser projector and mount) that is guaranteed to deliver AV standards-exceeding image quality at a fraction of the price of flat panels. From 100” to any size.

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What is the best display for a meeting room?

Use AVIXA’s DISCAS and PISCR/ISCR global AV standards to calculate minimum size and quality requirements for viewers’ needs. For small – medium rooms, professional flat-panel displays are suitable. Larger rooms require larger displays – for example a 6m deep room requires a minimum screen size of 100” to ensure viewers can clearly see and engage with content from everywhere in the room. At this size, projection is the appropriate solution, but it should be ambient light rejecting (ALR) laser projection for best results.

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What are the best displays for a lecture theatre?

Lecture theatre displays must be large and powerful enough for detailed content to be clearly viewable from everywhere in a room. From 100” and above, a projected display offers the best size / cost / quality ratio for large displays for detailed viewing.

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Can I use projection in a brightly lit room?

Yes, but to avoid weak, washed out images you need a specialist technology. With a standard projection screen you need to control the light level in a room to get a decent image. An ambient light-rejecting projection screen will deliver crisp, bright, high-contrast images even in brightly lit conditions. When paired with a maintenance-free laser projector you get a better result that a flat panel display at a fraction of the cost.

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