Before you can assess value of a display, you need to know how long you can expect it to last
By Morgan MacArthur
The purchase of an LED display certainly lives up to the old adage "you get what you pay for". Too many buyers get lured in to purchasing product that is seemingly less expensive, and then regret the decision once they realize the product has poor technical support, and is difficult and expensive to get parts and service for.
If you pay half the dollar amount for a display that only lasts three to four years, you've actually cost yourself more than purchasing quality from the start.
In addition to failure and down-time, these cheaper displays can be more difficult to maintain, have poorer manufacturing that results in broken louvers, weak mounting brackets, and faulty cabinetry.
Our warning about going with the cheap option is to make sure you have support. We have seen buyers end up trying to communicate with Chinese vendors that do not have good documentation, are hard to get a hold of, and can disappear altogether. It's not fun, trying to have a very complicated technical conversation with someone on the other side of the world with broken English at best.
A well-made videoboard should last at least 7 years. Most vendors will promise more.
Having said that, we must point out that every videoboard will have some issues. No matter what brand or vendor you go with, there will be a need for upkeep, maintenance, and support. Which is why support in the initial agreement is so critical.
Most high quality outdoor LED displays are rated at 100,000 hours, which should last on the order of ten years. This is a useful value to amortize the costs over to see if the entire project makes sense for your venue.
There are, of course, many variables that will affect the longevity of the screen, such as maintenance, direct sunlight, harsh weather, and so on. But for a given location and application, a quality LED panel from a knowledgeable vendor will far outperform low-end displays.