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What is Pixel Pitch and Why Does It Matter?

What is pixel pitch?

Pixel pitch describes the density of the pixels (LED clusters) on an LED display and correlates with resolution. Sometimes referred to as pitch or dot pitch, the pixel pitch is the distance in millimeters from the center of a pixel to the center of the adjacent pixel. Since pixel pitch indicates the amount of space between two pixels, a smaller pixel pitch means there is less empty space between pixels. This equates to higher pixel density and improved screen resolution.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pixel pitch refers to the density of pixels
  • A smaller pixel pitch indicates higher pixel density and higher resolution
  • Pixel pitch is important because it influences viewing distance
  • The smaller the pixel pitch, the closer the viewing distance
  • The optimal viewing distance of your screen informs the pixel pitch value

Why is pixel pitch important?

Pixel pitch is important because it influences the optimal viewing distance for your display. An image achieves smoother borders and finer detail with lower pixel pitch values. This allows the viewer to stand closer to the screen and enjoy a clear image without the distraction of discerning individual pixels. When determining viewing distance and pixel pitch, the rule of thumb is that a smaller pixel pitch allows for a closer viewing distance. Conversely, a higher pixel pitch elongates the minimum viewing distance. So, a 1.2mm screen will have significantly higher resolution and a closer optimal viewing distance than a 16mm .

While higher pixel density delivers improved visual quality, it is not the ideal option for every situation. Additional pixel density is intended for a closer viewing distance. At a greater viewing distance, higher pixel density loses its visual advantages and simply increases the cost of the display.

What is the right pixel pitch for my needs?

LED video wall pixel pitch exampleSmaller pixel pitch universally provides greater resolution, but is more expensive. Materials and production costs are higher for smaller pixel pitch since more LED clusters are required to create a higher pixel density.

Consumers can get the best value for their LED screen by determining the optimal viewing distance of their screen. The optimal viewing distance is the point where image fidelity is retained, but if the observer moved much closer, the image quality would decrease or the screen would appear pixelated.

For example, a display with interactive touch solutions will need a low pixel pitch to produce crisp images for the nearby audience. On the other hand, an LED screen displayed above viewers, like one hung in an arena, could get away with a higher pixel pitch. The short answer is that a smaller pixel pitch will always give you better quality image, but the investment will not be fully appreciated if the screen is not seen from a sufficiently close enough distance.

There are three methodologies used in the industry to determine acceptable viewing distance:

  • 10x Rule - this is a shorthand method for calculating an approximate estimate of the Visual Acuity Distance.
    The calculation is: Pixel Pitch x 10 = Approximate Viewing Distance in Feet
  • Visual Acuity Distance – also known as retina distance, this is a formulated calculation of the distance a person with 20/20 vision must move away from an LED screen to see a coherent image that is not pixelated.
    The calculation is: Pixel Pitch x 3438 = Visual Acuity in Feet
  • The Average Comfortable Viewing Distance – this is an estimate of what would be a comfortable viewing distance for most people. This is a subjective estimate and will take into account variables like a person’s eye sight, resolution of content and type of content.

While these methodologies are useful guides, there is no correct answer in determining viewing distance. A screen’s viewing distance is ultimately whatever the owner of the screen finds comfortable.

Pixel Pitch
(millimeters)
Visual Acuity Distance
(feet / inches | meters)
Average Comfortable Viewing Distance
(feet / inches | meters)

0.75mm

8ft 6in | 2.58m

4ft 3in | 1.29m

1.00mm

11ft 3in | 3.44m

5ft 8in | 1.72m

1.25mm

14ft 1in | 4.30m

7ft 1in | 2.15m

1.50mm

16ft 11in | 5.16m

8ft 6in | 2.58m

1.75mm

19ft 9in | 6.02m

9ft 11in | 3.01m

2.00mm

22ft 7in | 6.88m

11ft 3in | 3.44m

2.25mm

25ft 5in | 7.74m

12ft 8in | 3.87m

2.50mm

28ft 2in | 8.60m

14ft 1in | 4.30m

2.75mm

31ft 0in | 9.45m

15ft 6in | 4.73m

3.00mm

33ft 10in | 10.31m

16ft 11in | 5.16m

4.00mm

45ft 1in | 13.75m

22ft 7in | 6.88m

5.00mm

56ft 5in | 17.19m

28ft 3in | 8.60m

6.00mm

67ft 8in | 20.63m

33ft 10in | 10.31m

7.00mm

78ft 11in | 24.07m

39ft 6in | 12.03m

8.00mm

90ft 3in | 27.50m

45ft 1in | 13.75m

9.00mm

101ft 6in | 30.94m

50ft 9in | 15.47m

10.00mm

112ft 10in | 34.38m

56ft 5in | 17.19m

 

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