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LED displays in broadcasting: addressing the challenges

The advancement of video technologies has enriched the broadcasting industry with a cutting-edge platform of LED displays. Used both as an engaging background and a design feature, they supersede LCDs for contrast and brightness while offering seamless connection and full creative freedom in designing video settings. The LED displays in broadcasting revolutionize the way the information is presented to a viewing audience.

However, there are certain requirements that define the display’s serviceability in the TV environment.  Meeting them simplifies the job of a technical team and ensures enhanced viewing experience with high-quality video product.

In general studio, LED screens are required to operate at 5-10% of their calibrated brightness so as not to over shine the picture captured by TV cameras. This is among the factors that could lead to various visual defects such as poor color reproduction, unsmooth gradient, and horizontal stripes across the image. Therefore, it is the capability to deliver high-quality image when operating at low brightness mode that is of paramount importance for a broadcast LED screen, points out Sergey Lyashevich from EKTA’s R&D department. “With the brightness as low as 1% EKTA LED screens are capable of maintaining the same image quality as in full working capacities. Together with ERMAC Ultra broad processing capabilities, they make an excellent unit capable of the most challenging tasks in broadcasting”.

According to EKTA, ERMAC Ultra allows for inputting signal from four different sources without video latency, which is crucial during TV link-ups and live streams.

The high refresh rate is also one of the top parameters that are in charge of the flickering-free operation and smooth color gradient.  It could be referred to as a minimum period necessary to renew image for all brightness levels. The higher the rate is, the better image quality is achieved. However, the display’s refresh rate should always correlate with its frame rate, which for the broadcasting is 50 Hz so as to match the frame rate of cameras.  

Deploying of narrow pixel pitch displays for the TV studios enables of showing life-like clear, high-resolution videos as a background for storytelling. Moreover, it also allows for a proximity view without the display’s pixels being visible. For example, with the 1.2mm LED screen, the cameras and studio guests could be located within less than one meter beside it, which tackles the problem of the restricted space.

The newest LED products for the broadcasting industry were presented at the IBC tradeshow, which took place from the 9th to 13th of September in halls of Amsterdam RAI. This annual event encompasses everything that has to do with content and media delivery, including LED video technologies as means of visualizing information.

Unilumin booth at IBC 2016Unilumin showcased their Upanel S UHD series with the 1.2mm model. The series also includes the 0.9, 1.5, and 1.9mm offerings all featuring front access, 16:9 form factor and the non-touching system of front maintenance. The latter was demonstrated using a magnetic watch that made the modules slide out from the display’s surface by raising a hand with the watch to the screen.

Apart from this, Unilumin featured their 2.6mm Uslim indoor LED display and the 2.6mm Upad III flexible display technology for concave and convex installations.

When it comes to TV projects, simple setup proves to be highly practical. Deploying of thin and lightweight displays allows changing studio interior on the fly saving the time on assembling video backdrops. The RA2 LED product by LianTronics, which debuted at the IBC 2016, features functional design developed for rental applications. In particular, each panel’s frame has protective covers that prevent LEDs from damaging. The display set up speeds up with a foot bar which makes climbing possible during alignment and maintenance procedures. The display features 2.9mm pixel pitch and is front-accessible for the space-restricted installations.

LianTronics has also showcased their fine-pitch VH Series in a 4K display assembled from 1.4mm LED tiles. The series is also available in 1.9mm and 2.4mm pixel pitches. The VH displays are designed as an indoor solution which, LianTronics says, features front accessibility and exceptional heat dissipation. This feature is much sought-after as low heat output, and the absence of fans prevents overheating and ensures quiet operation, which is crucial for live feeds.

The flexibility and modular set of LED displays allow for constructing video backdrops of any sizes and configurations that could be used as a design feature.

The need for creative installations and non-standard aspect ratios continue to rise, as set designers want more flexibility in their designs”, - says Jennifer Davis, the CMO of Leyard. “Products that can be installed on a curve, non-traditional aspect ratios (like ribbons and shapes), and large video walls are growing in popularity. The Leyard TVH Series and Leyard CarbonLight CLA Series can both be curved or faceted for installations”.

Leyard TVH LED displays NBC Olympics The IBC visitors could appraise the creative possibilities of CarbonLight displays with a wave-shaped formation presented in the company’s booth. On display was also a stand-alone CLA unit that could be easily bent due to its flexible design. According to Leyard, the design of the CLA Series allows for concave, convex and 90-degree corner video walls because displays are designed with edges placed at a 45-degree angle.

Highlighting the fine-pitch TWA Series were two video walls, one composed of 1.2mm displays with a 4K resolution and a smaller one with 1.8mm pitch for comparison. The company has also shown the TVH Series in a 1.6mm pitch in a long wall that was two times the resolution of full HD.

As fine-pitch technologies keep steadily growing, more news stations around the globe opt for LED screens as a means of engagement and presenting information. A broad range of offerings available in the market today creates a variety of choices to fit any project and contributes to the global digitization of the broadcast studios.

Tags: EKTA , Tradeshow, LianTronics, Leyard, Unilumin, Broadcasting, IBC 2016,