LCD Screens for Outdoor Use – Does Brightness Matter?

Digital signage is a fast growing technology with more and more screens being used for digital advertising and out of home media than ever before.

One of the fastest growing aspects of this new medium is the use of outdoor digital signage – using screens outside to increase awareness, advertise or pass on information.

Because the potential audience figures for outdoor digital signage is always greater than for indoor systems, you can see why the use of outdoor screens is growing in popularity.

Of course, all outdoor LCD screens have to be protected from the weather and often they are enclosed in an all-weather LCD enclosure to protect the screen from rainfall and other weather elements.

However, the weather is not the only challenge when it comes to outdoor digital signage or even for indoor systems that are directly facing the sun.

Sun glare is common problem for TV screens, the sun’s reflection can cause a washout of the image quality making it hard to read and furthermore, UV and Infra red light can cause permanent screen damage.

Outdoor screens with higher levels of brightness are now quite common and they enable the screens to be used under direct sunlight or under intensive lights without losing the readability of the screen. Anti-glare glass and tints are also available that do the same thing but often this isn’t enough.

Whilst these outdoor screens and tints can cope with the glare caused by visible light from the sun, they do little to defend against the unseen, but far more damaging UV (ultra violet) or IR (Infra red) radiation that also forms part of the sun’s light spectrum.

Direct rays of UV can easily damage a screen causing it to burn this becomes permanent meaning any image or content will always be spoiled by the burn mark.

IR radiation can be equally damaging to a screen. Infra red is the heat radiation from the sun which can raise the optimum temperature inside the digital signage enclosure causing the screen to over heat and finally fail.

For outdoor digital signage it is important that the screens are protected against these forms of non visible light. Often cool air is generated with fans inside the outdoor digital signage enclosure. This cool air can also be blown across the screen forming an air curtain which keeps it cool, prevents any hotspots from forming and prevents damage caused by direct UV radiation.

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