Outdoor vs Transparent LED Displays

What Is the Difference between a Transparent LED Display and an Outdoor LED Display

Posted by | 04-10-2018

LED lighting has become the technology of choice for outdoor advertising displays. Companies are becoming more overt and creative with their outdoor advertising and LED lighting delivers.

LED, or light emitting diode, is a relatively new type of light bulb that is more energy efficient, long-lasting, and cost-effective than traditional bulbs. They emit light and heat in only one direction, whereas fluorescent and incandescent bulbs emit light and heat in all directions. This makes LED an excellent choice for targeted advertising displays that will grab attention and provide a return on investment.

Defining Outdoor vs. Transparent LED Displays

An outdoor LED display is any type of display powered by LED light. These displays need to be weather resistant, have good energy economy, and be easy to clean and repair.

Transparent LED displays are a new form of display that solves some of the issues with outdoor displays. As their name implies, they are transparent. This allows retailers to create incredibly interactive displays, overlaying designs and information on top of their products.

There are pros and cons to both options. Outdoor LED displays and transparent LED displays are not directly interchangeable. The type of display you select will depend on where your display is placed, what type of upkeep you can maintain, and the overall effect you want your display to have.

Pros and Cons

The pros of outdoor LED displays are:

  • They are durable, being able to stand up to weather elements and exist for an extended period in the outdoors

  • Tried and true technology

  • Able to project to customers outside, drawing them into a store

  • 24/7 operation

  • High brightness

Cons of outdoor LED displays include:

  • Difficulty in maintenance

  • Poor up-close viewing

Transparent LED displays, while new, offer a number of pros:

  • Increased heat dissipation (the number one reason for LED screen accidents is lack of heat dissipation)

  • Greater ease of maintenance (can be fixed from the front side rather than having to go into the back end)

There is, however, one notable con:

  • Transparent LED displays are not suitable for outdoor use. With their low level of protection and high vulnerability, they are best suited to indoor displays.

For a stunning example of transparent LED displays at work, check out how Mercedes incorporated them into their roadshow in China.

Digital displays have taken the out-of-home advertising industry by storm. Digital displays not only show bright, beautiful, captivating images to passers-by, they also have analytics tracking programs installed that constantly capture data. The digital advertising revolution has taken hold so firmly that most bus stops, train stations, malls, and event venues have digital displays installed throughout.

Smart billboards are far more effective at capturing people’s attention than traditional billboards. Illumination is a key reason, as is the customizability of digital designs. Designers can create very modern, innovative displays that make customers take a second look. These designs can be swapped in and out interchangeably, making for extremely cost-effective repeat use. An LED advertising display quickly pays for itself in terms of upkeep, campaign customization, and customer interest generated.

Check out these LED displays to see for yourself:

led display on street


The Skyscreen at Harmony Times Square at Suzhou Industrial Park near Shanghai. The skyscreen is just one component of a dazzling audio-visual display in this complex. The screen itself measures 500m wide and 32m high, in total covering 1600 square metres. The type of LED display used here is transparent mesh. The light effects are synchronised with audio for an overwhelming effect of sound, sight, and art.

led light work on burjkhalifa


Believe it or not, there is a global competition to see which country can create the largest and most impressive LED facades. The current title-holder is Dubai, who created an enormous visual display on New Year’s Eve, 2015. The world’s tallest skyscraper was coated with over 70,000 LED bulbs to illuminate it for ten days. The area of the entire display was 32,467 square metres. Clearly, no expense was spared here.

led lighting on similar building

China once again displays its prominence in light display innovation by covering six sail-shaped skyscrapers with a transparent LED mesh display. The buildings create a beautiful, glowing display that sets the Sanya Phoenix Island luxury resort apart.

LED displays are incredible for attracting pedestrian attention, creating buzz around a location, and for their sensible upkeep. The digital wave that has taken over advertising puts power into the hands of businesses to control their exact aesthetic and gain customer insights in the process. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to imaginative LED displays. Whether you opt for outdoor LED displays or transparent LED displays, you’ll be amazed by their brilliant appearance and their ability to attract customer attention.

Looking for LED displays in the Greater Toronto Area? Big Digital has over 15 years experience in providing interactive experiences for trades shows, retail, events, and outdoor operations. Call us at (888) 339-1815 or contact us here to inquire about what type of display is right for your business’s needs.


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