What is more important virtual or real: Remarks about a virtual pixel

Chief editor - Vladimir Krylov

Outdoor LED screen

Large outdoor LED video screens finally conquered the city environment and cut a comfortable niche in the market of outdoor advertisement. Thousands of commercials are transmitted through this kind of media every day. The outdoor LED screens are overfilled with video images and looking at them, one can pose a crucial question: what we see is real or virtual?

Discussions about LED screen virtual pixel technology are wide-spread and common. Allegedly virtual pixel capability doubles resolution of the LED screen, increases image quality, thus decreasing the cost. This technology appears under different names: virtual, dynamic, mega pixel etc.

In our previous article - Virtual pixel: Promotional trick or image improvement we examined a number of special features of this technology and found it rather controversial. It seems that advantages from it are few. The one who wins from it is the LED screen manufacturer – not the LED screen operator.

Clever marketing device sells screens better. But virtual pixel remains virtual – providing a kind of placebo effect to clients. If you are convinced that LED screen image with virtual technology is better, than it is. But you cannot measure it in real number of physical pixels. Virtual pixel remains a matter of interpretation rather than fact.

Let us try to remember our last visit to the eye specialist to check eyesight. We look at the table - large beautiful letters on top of the page we see easily. But further, lines become smaller; it takes more and more effort to see them. And the quality of letters on the table is of no importance; what matters is the increase in viewing distance.

Let us conduct an experiment. Take a trip to Paris. Stand next to Eiffel tower. Huge, isn’t it! Impressive! Now let us walk 300 meters away from it. The tower did not become smaller, but its image decreased to the size of your hand.

Human eye is a composite lens, and works according to the usual optical laws. Stand not far from the outdoor LED screen - everything is visible, walk 20 meters away - and any effect from the virtual retouching disappears. Even if the pixel is three times virtual – it will not make any difference.

Only the real pixels can help, the basis of the image and the real sizes.

The advertising effect of outdoor video commercial is constructed not on the smoothing of the outlines of letters, but on drawing of attention to the dynamic advertising clip. Therefore selecting one LED screen or another – it is much more important to look at the real sizes, real resolution, and real brightness at the real site of LED screen installation.

Certainly if you choose LED screen with the very dense pixel pitch (3 mm, 6 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm) and with sizes up to 3 m in height and 4 meters in width and you are going to look at it from the close distance. This is just the case when virtual pixel comes handy.

But in case of outdoor advertisement with LED screen sizes more than 3x4 meters all the advantages of virtual pixel are neutralized by distance. Then why do you need such option (especially for additional price), which neither you nor your clients can see from some distance? Are you ready to pay real money for a virtual screen? Think twice.