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11 tips for buying an LED display

altThis time the author offers a series of recommendations that should be taken into account when making the decision to buy an LED screen. Listening to the voice of an expert will always bring benefits for a team of such magnitude.

By: Adrian Morel

It is important to know that there are many models, varieties and prices of LED screens according to the need of each project. Since these screens, or digital displays , have a very high cost, it is recommended to do a little research to invest the money well. Next, and not necessarily in order of importance, I will disclose some requirements or suggestions for the purchase of LED screens.

1. Define the nature of the business to be able to buy the product that is needed: this seems logical but it is a very common mistake: losing the north or the nature of the business. If our business is to install a screen to sell advertising space to premium sponsors, then we need a very good quality screen because sponsors such as Rolex, Gucci or Chivas Regal base their communication, purely and exclusively, on "image" and the screen has to reflect the virtues of the product. Not to mention if the screen is going to be installed on a main avenue of a big city.

If our business is to install a screen on the road (in the middle of the countryside) where cars pass at 160 kilometers per hour and we are going to promote the hotels in the area, then the screen should not be so demanding because here we have more room to make mistakes. In this example, if an LED stops working it is very likely that no one will notice and we have enough time to repair it comfortably. In contrast to the first case, every minute of downtime, dropped or non-working screen, is money that is lost and probably, if this is repeated very often, it is feasible that we also lose sponsors.

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2. Knowing who the manufacturer of the screen is: knowing the original manufacturer and the origin of the product is not a minor issue. If I am buying a SONY brand product (this is just an example because SONY does not manufacture LED screens), the name itself is already indicating certain parameters of production, warranty, service and permanence in the business, among other things. Many tell me "I don't want to pay for the brand" and to tell the truth none of us want to pay for the brand, I am simply saying that the brand is one more element to take into account.

3. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line: if possible, it is a good idea to be in contact with the manufacturer of the screen. It can't always be purchased directly, but being in contact with the original manufacturer isn't that far-fetched. Manufacturers, with great enthusiasm, offer information about their products, especially about the technical part. Knowing the face of the manufacturer helps to improve communication between the different professional levels of the company. Many times original manufacturers offer courses or training and have a level of knowledge about products that only they have access to because they are proprietary information.

4. Evaluate at least three levels of screens: it is important to mention that today we can find three types of screen qualities and that is based on the definition of it. Screens that have higher colorchromatic definition have higher quality and reproduction fidelity. The screens are divided into high, medium and low quality. High-quality displays define your color rendering in trillions of colors. Those of medium or intermediate quality define their chromatic reproduction in billions of colors. Finally we have the low quality screens in which their colors are measured in millions of colors. This is intimately related to bits and to exemplify it let's look at the following chart.

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If you want to do an Internet search for high-quality screens, one of the keywords would be "trillion". With 16.7 million colors it is also a respectable screen, especially if you are looking for MESH or curtains, which are very required in the market and make a very nice display of colors. Logically, if you are already needing something more serious to pass digital video then you would have to think of trillions of colors at the very least.




5. Read the manufacturer's website well:
there is a very famous phrase that says "do not believe everything you read". Personally, one of my hobbies is reading websites of LED display manufacturers. I must read with a clinical eye and selectively to later contrast the information with reality. Many websites are very well designed and very credible, but there is also a lot of information omitted. This omission is not a coincidence because the intention is to transmit information by highlighting the points convenient for the manufacturer. Many of them overinform the potential buyer but omit to mention that their products are 8 bits with 16.7 million colors. In other cases they do not mention the MTBF (time or time where the first failures begin). It is also exaggerated with respect to the hours of use of LEDs, etc.

6. Presence of the manufacturer in international shows or exhibitions: manufacturers who have a presence in international exhibitions realize that they have exportable products, especially if the shows are in countries where the entry requirements of technological products require certain certifications. In contrast, if the company is too local or domestic, it means that it still has some way to go.

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7. Take a hard look at who the customers of display manufacturers are: this is extremely important information and can be taken through the photo gallery and especially in press releases. In general, demanding customers have some kind of systematic method of selection and having gone through such a filter means that there is added value or differentiator with respect to the other screen competitors.

8. Research who the official distributors are: many LED manufacturing companies, not all, mention on their website a list of official or authorized distributors. These distributors or integrators have some kind of relationship with the manufacturing company and enjoy a certain prestige. If the distribution or integrating company is not listed on the website (due to corporate policy), it can also demonstrate its relationship with the manufacturer through a letter or document authorizing it as such.

9. Asking always helps: Ask, ask and ask before you buy. The purchase of a screen is an important decision, which if taken with little information does not always lead us to a good port. Asking about existing facilities or displays regarding operation, maintenance, and operation gives us a better view of the big picture. Believe it or not, many screen owners are open to talking about their products and you always get relevant information, no matter how insignificant it may seem.


10. Think that the purchase of a screen is a short, medium and long-term relationship with the manufacturer: the customer, and this is something common that I see in the market, because being the one who owns the money thinks that he can treat the manufacturer as another supplier. This, in another type of business or industry, makes a lot of sense because the user asserts and claims respect for being the one who provides business opportunities to any manufacturer.
In the case of LED technology in general, experience has shown me that the initial purchase becomes a strategic relationship with the suppliers of LED screens. I comment on this because from hunter to hunt. Over time, the customer will need technical service, expand the installed amount of square meters or simply advance in other businesses, and the factory takes on a fundamental role providing support to that client.
It is important to know that within companies there are people, and they often have preferences and the technical service can be improved with personalized assistance or with a quick response.

11. Buy according to application or need, not according to budget:
a half-built bridge is no better than nothing. If you're on a budget, like most of us, make sure the LED display you're going to buy meets the main purpose. If you need to cross the desert, buy a 4x4 van, not a car.

If you are going to use a screen for rent, think of an all-terrain screen: resistant and with a history in the market. If you are going to install "spectacular" screens or mega screens to promote branded products, choose a screen that has a good image. If you need a TV screen, choose one prepared for broadcasting with reduced moiré effect. If you want a screen that lasts 2 years and after that time you throw it away and buy a new one, then don't think much and buy the cheapest one.

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Conclusions
As you can see, in 11 points we cannot conclude that the murderer is the butler, but at least it gives us a slightly more finished orientation than we have to prioritize. We could talk about maybe 20, 30 or 50 questions, my experience tells me that to start interpreting the LED industry it is advisable to at least 8 hours of training, but something is something. Summarizing the 11 points mentioned would be redundant, but keep in mind that when you buy an LED display, your competitor across the street will buy a better one.

*Adrian Morel is a specialist in lighting and digital displays with LED technology, is a member of the IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) and the American Lighting Association, both in the United States. You can be reached at your office in California or at the email adrian_morel@yahoo.com.


Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Editor
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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