Fast food digital signage

How is the Brightness Measured on Your Digital Display?

If you’re in the market for a digital display, brightness is a key consideration that is sometimes overlooked in favor of size or resolution. The brightness of a display is usually expressed in nits, a measure equivalent to one candela per square meter—a measure of the direct light output. The higher the nit measurement, the brighter the display. The term nit is believed to be a derivation of the Latin word nitere, which means “to shine”.

Standard consumer digital displays have nit measurements of 200 to 300. Commercial-grade displays are brighter, ranging from 400 to 700 nits, and the newest displays on the market are extremely bright, with nits as high as 5000. As with any feature, higher brightness adds to the cost of a display. Careful evaluation of the light levels in an installation environment is recommended before choosing a display. You’ll want to select a display bright enough for the environment that fits the project budget yet does not overpay for unnecessary brightness.

What Brightness Is Needed for Outdoor Applications?

Entry to mid-level displays typically works well in low to standard-light environments such as indoor office spaces and retail areas. If the display is in an outdoor-facing window, higher nits are needed to ensure the display will be clearly visible when viewed in sunlight by passers-by.

This photo shows the brightness difference in three displays placed outdoors in sunlight; the display on the left is 700 nits, while the displays on the right are 2500 nits (lower unit) and 5000 nits (upper unit). In this example, the lower brightness is not suitable, whereas the difference between the 2500 and 5000-nit displays is visible but not as easy to discern. Either of the high nit level displays may be a good option depending on the ad and/or video graphics used.

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