How Much Is Our Display Going to Cost?

What's the bottom line on what a large led screen project will cost? We'll walk you through it

By Morgan MacArthur

This is the question everyone wants an answer to, and it is the most difficult answer to give. The short answer is that for displays suited to serving larger venues of thousands of people, a proper installation can easily run into millions of dollars.

The largest Jumbotron, an early giant display from Sony, was at Skydome in Toronto and cost over $17 million dollars for 335 square meters of screen. The good news is, prices are continually dropping while sizes keep growing.

While there are an almost endless series of variables, there are four basic factors that describe most LED projects: how large, how fine, indoor or outdoor, and mobile or fixed.

For a given size of screen, the price can vary by more than twenty times. There are fine screens throughout the price range and there are products to suit any application. But price per square meter is not enough to make a decision.

Beyond the actual screen, there are additional pieces of hardware necessary for the screen's functioning. These include processors, scalers, and power supplies, at minimum. And while electronics prices trend downward, much of the project cost will be structural steel and housing materials, not subject to this trend.

Do not overlook the costs of transport and installation. In some cases these can be substantial, in difficult-to-access areas or remote locations. But no matter the situation, the general trend is downward, and large LED displays are within reach to more organizations than ever before.

Even after installation, there can be significant ongoing costs. Better displays will use less power for the same brightness, and will last longer with less service necessary. So buying quality up-front can actually end up being less expensive over the course of the display's lifetime. And higher quality vendors generally include more service as part of the purchase.

In summary, unless you have a simple project that is indoor and a common format like 1080P 16:9 (essentially a very large television monitor), you will be dealing with a very custom project and the choice of provider will be reflected in the end product. We'll discuss how to choose as we proceed


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