More About Sunburst Displays

Your sign forms that very important “first impression” your potential customer has of your business.  Your sign must always look nearly as good as it looked the day it was installed so that you survive; don’t give potential customers a worsening impression of your business as your sign ages.

Also discover how we make each sign to last; including the use of CNC manufacturing, rust-proof metal, structural-steel frames, high-end automotive paint, high-impact plastics, and most importantly, sophisticated protective coatings.  All our signs include these many hidden features, critically important to you but often ignored by competitors so they can make more money.  We even add self-cleaning properties.

Sunburst Displays™ uses SolarBrite™ LEDs exclusively to manufacture Sunburst Displays™.

Serving all of TexasWith an electronic message center you are leaving your computer out in the Texas rain, ice, heat and cold, and tornados and hurricane-force winds are trying to blow it away.  Sunburst Displays™ are Built in Texas, for Texans, by us.™

But, it takes more than purchasing an excellent sign for your success.  It must be installed properly, and someday in the far future hopefully, it will need to be serviced.  This is why it will be important to you that WE manufacture, install and service your LED electronic message centers!

Please use and enjoy this website, the largest information resource about electronic message centers on the internet, in conjunction with our Corporate website, created so you can learn about all types of signs and how you can control their affect on your image.

We believe that if you’re a knowledgeable purchaser there’s a real good chance you’ll become our customer.

How LED Signs Help You

  • These signs don’t cost you a penny; they earn you more money by attracting customers.
  • They allow real-time communication with potential customers.
  • With almost 20% of the US population moving in a year, these LED signs give your business an opportunity to capture those new customers. success of your business relies heavily on your signage. What is effective now may not be effective later…or after lunch.
  • They attract attention through animation and brightness so they increase awareness of your business location and your products.
  • Message center signs are prettier than signs with changeable plastic letters, improving the appearance of your business.
  • Your message is not limited by the size of your reader board, or to only one message.
  • Your advertising dollars are invested in selling in your trade area, preventing excessive advertising expenses.
  • Changing your message, any time you wish, is as easy as texting. It can be done often and safely.
  • Quality electronic message center displays are readable from a greater distance, especially in poor lighting.
  • Need to upgrade the image of your location?  Because the first impression of a business, church, or school IS its signs, an LED Messaging Sign instantly gives potential customers a modern up-to-date impression of your business!

Research shows that you have 3 seconds to attract a passerby’s attention and communicate your message. Make that time count with an electronic message center or video display!

Adding an LED sign to your business will make your message stand out from the crowd of signs around you. Even displaying the time and temperature can give a viewer valuable information which they will associate with your business. Combining that capability with animated messages, possibly in color, can really drive your sales up 15% to 150%!

Read what the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has to say about the effectiveness of electronic message centers at

Texas FlagSunburst Displays™ are Built in Texas, for Texans, by us.™  We manufactured and installed our first electronic digital LED Sign in 1990. They are designed to withstand rain, ice, heat and cold, high winds and everything else Texas throws at it.

With an electronic message center or video display you are essentially leaving a computer out in the Texas weather. We know how bad that can be, and we build our signs to endure.

The information below details the electronic and display details of our signs.

We manufacturer of all 3 types of LED signs; Balanced Array™, Classic™, as well as SMD LED Signs™.

Which Resolution Is Right For You?

Sunburst LED Signs offers a wide variety of sign resolutions with both the Balanced Array(TM) and Classic(TM) Technologies.

We currently offer the following models of full color LED programmable signage:

In order to determine the right resolution for you, it is important to first determine how far your viewers will be from your sign. The farther away they are, the fewer LEDs per square foot you need.  Use this guide to help:

Recommended Minimum Size & Viewing Distances

for sufficient resolution to display multiple lines of readable text as well as photos, videos and animation

(click on the name to jump to that page for more information)

18 SqFt Display Area
At Least
31 Feet Away
22 SqFt Display Area
At Least
36 Feet Away
Full Color RGB LED Sign 1576 LEDs per SqFt 32 SqFt Display Area
At Least
44 Feet Away
Full Color RGB LED Sign 1462 LEDs per SqFt 40 SqFt Display Area Minimum At Least
48 Feet Away
Full Color RGB LED Sign 1089 LEDs per SqFt 46 SqFt Display Area Minimum At Least
57 Feet Away
Full Color RGB LED Sign 930 LEDs per SqFt 62 SqFt Display Area Minimum At Least
60 Feet Away
Full Color RGB LED Sign 687 LEDs per SqFt 70 SqFt Display Area Minimum At Least
70 Feet Away
Monochrome LED Message Center 930 LEDs per SqFt 9 SqFt Display Area Minimum At Least
31 Feet Away

What are Pixel Pitches and LED Spacings?

How far pixels are from one another is called “pitch” and is usually expressed in millimeters (mm.)

Older color displays, because each pixel is actually an unequal cluster of 3 or more different colored LEDs, cannot have as small a pitch as a monochrome display or the appearance of a more modern display with a Balanced Array™.  Therefore they must be viewed from a greater distance to have a quality appearance.  There is a lot of blank space between pixels.

Old-style full-color displays are available in 12mm, 16mm, 20mm and larger pitches.

Old-style monochrome displays are available in 9mm, 19mm, 25mm, 35mm, 46mm and larger pitches.

The distance between every LED in a Sunburst LED Signs™ Balanced Array™ can be as small as 6 mm, 4+ billion color or 4,000-shade monochrome.  Pixels can overlap in our 4+ billion color video displays.

Metric to Inch Conversion
6 mm ¼ inch
8 mm 5/16 inch
10 mm ⅜ inch
12 mm ½ inch
16 mm ⅝ inch
19 mm ¾ inch
22 mm ⅞ inch
25 mm 1 inch

Why are LED Spacing and Pixel Pitch Important?

Again, pixel pitch or LED spacing, as well as image quality, determines how close a sign can be and still deliver quality images.  They also determine Pixel Density (below).

If pitch (spacing) is too large for the viewing distance then images are grainy, maybe unreadable.  A potential customer’s image of your business suffers.  When you see grainy LED signs don’t you think of them as “cheap?”

It is therefore better to err on the side of a “tight” array.  Visit our showroom to personally compare displays before making this very important decision.  Remember, we’re local.

How to Determine an LED Display’s Resolution

A modern television’s potential Resolution is fixed at 2,073,600 pixels (1920 potential pixels wide x 1080 tall) regardless of size, big screen or small screen.  Pixel Density varies.  This is why a relatively small TV screen looks good when close to it, but a very large TV appears grainy up close because the pixels are farther apart. (Also recognize that when programs are not broadcast in 1080 they do not use all the TV’s pixels.  Some are broadcast as low as 480.)

Unlike a television, in an LED sign the Resolution is determined by the fixed Pixel Density multiplied by the height and width of the display.  The larger the screen the more total pixels, so the more detailed the image will be.  Smaller screens must have much greater Pixel Density to be comparable in Resolution to a larger screen.

The Fallacy of “High Resolution” and “HD” in LED Sign Advertising

When competitors talk about all their LED signs being “High Resolution” or “HD” they confuse, rather than assist, consumers.  Because an LED sign’s Resolution is totally dependent on the size of the sign they mislead when they promote these catchy marketing terms, possibly causing people to buy signs that cannot meet their needs.

Comparing LED signs to TV’s is “…comparing apples to oranges.”

Billboards, as an Example

Billboard displays have either 256 or 362 Pixel Density (19mm or 16mm pixel pitch) for a Resolution of 150,000 to 200,000 pixels.  They can look good utilizing a lower Pixel Density only because of their enormous size, and long viewing distance.  Viewed from up-close their images are VERY grainy.

Your sign will probably be viewed from much closer than a highway billboard, and be smaller. Your Pixel Density must be much better than theirs to achieve equal Resolution.  For instance, even a 6mm Balanced Array™ must be 5’ x 20’ to have approximately the same potential Resolution as a billboard and maintain the same height-to-length ratio, so that identical images can be displayed on them both.

The Critical Importance of Resolution

All images and text MUST be scaled to the Resolution of the LED sign displaying them or they will be distorted.  You’ve probably seen this pop-up notice on your computer screen: “For best image quality change resolution to…”  We can’t change the screen’s Resolution, we have to adjust the image sent to the screen.

Smaller signs, lower Pixel Densities, and lower Light Densities are compromises that significantly lessen a sign’s performance, with relatively small cost savings.  Your business will be better the higher the Resolution of your sign.

Why Not Use a Television?

TV’s do not have as bright a display as is necessary.

Glare on the screen is a big problem.

Only “specialty” TV’s even claim to be weatherproof.

All modern flat-screen televisions are LCD televisions.  So-called “LED” TV’s are actually LCD screens edge or back lighted with LEDs.

  • LCD’s will not function with internal temperatures above 122° F.  (200° is common outside in an enclosed box in Texas.)
  • LCD’s will not function in extreme cold.


How many pixels wide and how many pixels high the display is.  Matrix determines how many of what size letters can be displayed at one time.  Most matrix dimensions are in multiples of 8 pixels, or potential pixel locations in the case of a Balanced Array™ because 8 pixels are necessary to adequately display most letter- styles, so that is how most LED signs are constructed.

A larger matrix (higher Resolution) can display more and/or larger information at one time.

SMD LED Signs™

With respect to technology, the current Balanced Array™ design is about as good as it can get.  Individual exposed LEDs that are used in future displays may be brighter, but we are dimming the current ones most of the time already.

The newest LED development is the “SMD” (Surface-Mount-Device) LED chip.  We manufacture signs using them.  SMD LEDs are actually 3 very small, different colored (RGB) LEDs, enclosed in one shell, or lens.  The LEDs backlight the translucent shell, which makes the light appear larger.  Currently they are not bright enough for use in outdoor video displays.  (And, using larger LEDs this close together interfere with each other electronically.)

When SMD LEDs become bright enough there is still the question as to whether or not they will be useful in outdoor signs.  We essentially have another “Pixel Cluster” display, but with very small Pixel Clusters; 3 LEDs grouped very close together, with vast distances between them.  The light output is dimmed by having to pass through a translucent shell; they are especially dim when compared to an exposed LED sign.

Grouping many SMD LEDs very closely together eliminates the “great divide” and produces a “dynamite” display; some very expensive indoor displays are manufactured this way, but the cost of these “dynamite” indoor displays is as much as 15 times the current pricing of our Balanced Array™ because of the extraordinary numbers of LEDs required.

Up close they look VERY good, but from 50’ away, even indoors, our Balanced Array™ is their equal, except that we can be brighter if we turn our automatic Brightness Control “Off.”  (Outdoors in direct daylight our exposed LED signs are readable, the SMD LED sign is not.)  SMD contrast suffers greatly (see below.)

SMD LED Signs™ are also on display in our Showroom.  Come in and compare ALL types of LED Signs.

Contrast – Exposed LEDs vs. Enclosed LEDs

As with a television, contrast is very important in the legibility of a sign or image.  The color “black” plays a very important part in LED image contrast.

Because there is no “black” LED, and because it cannot be created by illuminating other colors in any combination, “black” is the absence of light; all the lights are turned off.

The face design of a LED sign is therefore critical in creating contrast.  It must be black, flat, and it cannot be reflective.  (See “Glare Shields” above.)

This is a problem with SMD (Surface-Mount-Device) LED signs.  The SMD’s shell, or lens, is necessary both to protect the circuit-boards and more importantly to make the light source appear larger (above.)

But, because there are actually three very small LEDs inside each SMD LED, the plastic covering must be translucent, white; a black exterior won’t let the light out through the lens!  A clear lens won’t spread the light.  So when the LED lights are out (above right) the exterior of the face is off-white from a distance, not black, and contrast suffers.

SMD LEDs work OK indoors, but outdoors where there is an absolute demand for contrast, current SMD LED technology suffers.

SMD LED Signs™ are also on display in our Showroom.  Come in and compare ALL types of LED Signs and become an informed buyer.

Incidentally, we are the ONLY manufacturer of all 3 LED display designs.  We have no ax to grind when comparing LED signs.


The “Brightness” of a LED sign is totally dependent on the image being displayed.  The Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) LEDs are adjusted in light output to create the full spectrum of colors the human eye sees.

Therefore, honestly quantifying a comparative Maximum Light Output (Brightness Potential) of LED signs is tough.  Even when varied signs have all their LEDs illuminated 100% the resulting color is not identical.  This is because all the Red, Green, and Blue LEDs in LED signs are not the same: in design, sometimes in voltage, in size, in shape, in placement, or in directional light output.  Even the numbers of Red, Green, or Blue LEDs in an identical area of sign face are not identical:  it varies by display type, and by Light Density.  For a manufacturer to say that all their signs have the same potential light output is baloney.

At Sunburst LED Signs we evaluate the “Brightness” of our signs, and our competitors, by illuminating a square meter of sign face all Red (only) at 100% power and taking a foot-candle reading 1 meter from the sign face.  We repeat the process for Blue, and Green.  We average the readings for a comparative “real-time” number that means something.  Not that “nits” baloney.  (See “How Can You Determine if a Sign is Imported” below.)

Ask us for details.

Sunburst™ LED Signs are brighter, and remain brighter, because they are designed, powered, cooled, and thermally protected properly.