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Electronic Billboards & Electronic Signs

Sample LED module

What are electronic billboards used for?

Electronic billboards and electronic signs are typically used to deliver advertising and informational messages to people who are passing by the displays. Although the technologies may vary widely, digital billboards all require some type of content source to generate the images on the screen. Depending on regulatory and technical considerations, this content may be a series of static slides, a broadcast-quality video or animation sequence, or a combination of both.

How much do they cost?

While electronic billboards are dropping in price and becoming more common, they can still be relatively difficult to purchase and install. Numerous vendors supply similar but incompatible products at various price points, making it difficult to comparison shop. Most of the vendors are located in Asia, which means that lead times and shipping costs must be factored into the project plan and budget. And unlike indoor display projects, there are often important regulatory and zoning considerations that may impact the size and placement of outdoor electronic display networks, as some municipalities consider them to be a distraction to drivers.

To help make it easier to understand the different components and costs, WireSpring offers a convenient price estimator tool:

How do they work?

Today's electronic billboards are typically comprised of a series of self-contained modules that house LED lamps, wiring, and electronics in an aluminum or steel enclosure. Each module, which can be square or rectangular (typically 2-3 feet on a side), weighs around 100-150 lbs, so a billboard comparable in size to a standard 14x48' roadside display will weigh several thousand pounds when installed.

In the past, LED-based electronic billboards were frequently custom-built to a customer's exact specifications, but the modular nature of today's LED billboard systems means that standard-sized modules can be pre-built ahead of time, kept in inventory, and then stacked together in different shapes and configurations to meet the specific requirements of a customer's billboard project. This standardized approach translates to lower costs and faster delivery times, and makes it easy for customers to choose the exact shape and size of their billboard.

How do you control the content?

As new display technologies continue to lower the cost and improve the visual impact of electronic billboards and signs, it is likely that these displays will begin to replace various types of static signs and billboards, both in roadside and other applications. Considering the geographically dispersed nature of most billboard deployments, an electronic billboard solution should include remote scheduling software that makes it easy to change content on one digital billboard, a group of digital billboards, or the entire network simultaneously.

WireSpring offers several solutions that are ideal for digital billboards. Our FireCast Digital Signage EasyStart system is a great place to start if you're planning to deploy a single billboard or a small network of them, while our FireCast Enterprise software is optimized for larger networks.

Where can you find more research about electronic billboards?

WireSpring contributes a sizable body of free research to the digital signage industry via our Digital Signage Insider blog. Here are some of the articles we've published that relate to digital billboards:

Pricing examples
Large format displays like LED billboards can be challenging to quote. That's why we built the LED Billboard Cost Estimator featured on the left side of this page.

However, if you're just looking for a ballpark idea of what a large format LED display and its necessary components would cost, we invite you to check out the table below. The pricing includes the LED modules themselves, a steel enclosure/cabinet to contain them, controller board(s), power supply, media player and software. It does not include things like UL/ETL certification, shipping, installation, mounts, poles and other structures, or permits and zoning fees.

Size Pixel Pitch Price
2m x 3m 10mm $18,310
3m x 5m 12mm $38,740
3m x 6m 16mm $34,150
4.5m x 16m 25mm $109,750