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10 Years a Digital OOH Display

Interested in a Digital Billboard? Answers to Basic Questions

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The Life of an Out of Home Digital Screen



Amber Steinhauer, Account Manager for Daktronics, placed a recent post on her LinkedIn profile regarding the 10-year image quality of Daktronics Digital Screens still on the street. The photos above, show two digital Daktronics’ screens.   The message said, “Here’s proof that at 10 years, digital billboards can still look amazing! Image Quality & Reliability – two major factors to consider when selecting a digital billboard manufacturer.”  #DOOH #OOH

We asked Daktronics and Ms. Steinhauer, about the LinkedIn post and three observations  we had regarding their intent in sharing with the LinkedIn Network.


We  asked the following:

  1. Is there an average life of a digital screen?  And if so, what is the average or maximum life of any digital screen?  Is it 10 years?
  2. Does the photo on the left, show the quality of brightness on the sign after 10 years?  Please tell us what that means.
  3. Does the photo on the right, show the quality of the digital image after 10 years?

Initially, we discussed only the above.  Then decided to dig a little deeper. Daktronics’  and Account Manager, Amber Steinhauer and her team were very happy to answer our questions regarding Digital OOH screens.

Interested in a Digital Billboard? Daktronics‘ Answers to Basic Questions

Daktronics responds to OOH TODAY questions about the digital billboard industry.  

Life Expectancy of a digital billboard

BB- 1.Why do digital’s typically only last 10 years?

Daktronics– Typical life expectancy of new displays is 10+ years, whereas in 2007, the life expectancy was 7-10 years. Technology and customer expectation have continued to influence longevity expectations. It isn’t that the average or maximum life is 10 years, rather, the expected life of any screen sold today is 10+ years.  

life expectancy of new displays is 10+ years, whereas in 2007, the life expectancy was 7-10 years.

The LinkedIn post photos show the quality of the digital image and brightness after ten years.

Longevity factors

BB: 2. What can be done to obtain longer than 10 years out of a digital face?

Daktronics– Some digital displays last longer than 10 years. Factors that impact longevity include:

  • LED degradation is the largest factor, which is further impacted by the quality of the LED selected and the design of the louvers that shade the LED from the sunlight.
  • The lifetime of other components, such as power supplies and cables, affect longevity.
  • Environmental location relative to direct sunlight is also a factor.
  • Replacement of the display to keep up with image quality expectations in the industry will shorten life. This occurs when your competitor installs a new, smaller pitch display making yours look outdated.

More than 10 years

BB:- How can a digital face last longer than 10 years?

Daktronics- Regular maintenance and care of the display, as managed by the Tulsa  #OOH company (Lamar). This includes cleaning the display face, as well as replacement of any failed or failing components. Having multiple calibration options for the life of the display will keep image uniformity for the OOH company’s customers. Solid manufacturer-component supplier relationships will also play into this – ensuring your digital billboard supplier has set expectations in their supply chain for 10+ years of part availability.


BB- 3. Do you warrant to 10 years?  If yes, what does a warranty include?

Daktronics– Daktronics can customize our warranties to fit the needs of each customer—including the 10-year coverage. Our warranty covers every piece that is sold with our display.  

Brightness of white

BB- 4. Tell us about Brightness of the White.  How is white or bright measured?  Is there a standard unit of measure for white?  How is it that a digital display loses its whiteness or white bright?

Daktronics– The standard unit of measure for white is most commonly measured in footcandles. The white’s brightness should be measured with a footcandle meter at the proper distance perpendicular to the face of the digital billboard.

Many factors contribute to a sign’s loss of brightness, beginning with the display supplier’s LED choice. Every LED chosen by Daktronics is rigorously tested. We expose it to the harshest conditions, and we expect our product to perform well and meet lifetime expectations. Over the life of the digital billboard, the image quality will be impacted by environmental conditions, such as dirt and degradation (because of sun exposure).

Over the life of the digital billboard, the image quality will be impacted by environmental conditions, such as dirt and degradation (because of sun exposure)

Staying on White

BB- 5. Why is it OOH companies discourage advertisers, from using white as a back ground or any large-scale use of white on the billboard?  Is it because the white colors do not always show pure white like the billboard companies tell us?  Or is it another reason?  We were told by some OOH digital suppliers the OOH Owners,  don’t like to use a ‘a lot of white’  in the creative because:
A. costs more in power/ electrical use
B. The ‘bulbs’ wear out quicker, shortens the life of the digital sign.

Daktronics- Running white content requires all LEDs to be on at the same time. This uses up more power. Another reason is that content best practices state whites are not the best background choice because the sky is often white or pastel blue. Using white does not offer the best contrast, or “POP” for the advertisement as a bold red or black.

whites are not the best background choice because the sky is often white or pastel blue

Color and a digital sign

BB- 6. Can you explain the color combinations on digital signs and how it works?

Daktronics- Each pixel of a display consists of a red, green, and blue LED, and the amount of energy delivered to each LED determines the color output. For example, white is created by turning on all three LEDs at the same time.

Display degradation

BB- 7. Please share other display issues we should be aware of.

Daktronics- We have seen varying degrees of display degradation. The whites may take on a pinkish hue. The display may look quilted or like patchwork. The display looks dull; colors are not represented correctly. Portions of the display may be black.

See photos of examples below

whites may take on a pinkish hue
quilted or like patchwork
#OOH Today will continue our discussion tomorrow, climbing to new heights of understanding OOH Digital screens with Daktronics, including OOH Industry Growth and Digital Sign Differentiation. 


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  1. Jean-Paul S Gedeon says

    Thank you for the in depth look. I noticed the effects while in NY and Toronto recently.

  2. Bill Board says

    Jean-Paul, thank you for supporting OOH Today. The more we know about digital screens the more effective our selling and buying. Moving OOH forward.

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