LED Sphere Display: A Different Way of Displaying Content

We all know that LED displays are very flexible literally and figuratively. Apart from the typical flat screens, they can also be curved or molded into irregular shapes and sizes. However, there’s a new development in LED display technology that allows viewing from all possible angles. Yes, even from above or under the display: the LED sphere display.

Introduce LED Sphere Display

An LED sphere, as the name suggests, is a globe-like LED display that can show content from all possible angles, something that even flexible LED displays can’t do. While the latter can be assembled to form a circle, they’re technically still flat displays, leaving the top and bottom hollow.

LED globes are typically used for entertainment and public installations, but the added shock factor of a 360-degree view can also effectively market products and services. Their unique design makes them suitable for installations in the middle of big open areas such as mall grounds, museums, and plazas where people can see them from different directions.

How a Spherical LED Display Works

While it may seem like spherical LED displays involve complex work, they are somewhat similar to typical flat-screen displays–only, with a globe-shaped frame. LED spheres consist of thousands of LED modules in various shapes and sizes, typically customized based on the sphere’s dimensions. Rectangular LED modules cover the wider sections, while narrower triangular and trapezoidal modules fit the curvature as it tightens towards the poles.

LED Sphere Designs

There are three types of LED sphere designs implemented by manufacturers:

Watermelon Peel LED Sphere

Inspired by the stripes on a watermelon’s peel, this design divides the sphere into wedges, resulting in rectangular and trapezoidal LED modules. However, this usually leaves the north and south poles hollow, and displaying content in these regions results in severe image deformity or a low resolution.

Triangle LED Sphere

This design uses triangular LED modules grouped in fives to form hexagonal regions, much like the pattern in a football/soccer ball. This unique pattern overcomes the shortcomings of the watermelon peel and allows images to be displayed on the polar regions without any deformity. However, the honeycomb pattern makes software programming complicated and means the pixel pitch can’t be too small.

Hexahedral LED Sphere

While the first two designs used polygonal LED modules, this design uses polyhedral LED modules, allowing it to use lesser PCB categories. The sphere is divided into 6 regions with 4 cabinets each. These regions can display 6 different contents simultaneously. Hexahedral LEDs are suitable for rental displays as they are easy to assemble and disassemble. 

How to Install LED Spheres

  1. Find the right size: In installing LED spheres, the first step is to assess the required size for the installation. Deciding on the size of the sphere will depend on how much space there is in the location. Going too big might overwhelm the surroundings and the viewers; going too small might not make that much of an impact.
  2. Assemble the frame: LED spheres can either be hung from the ceiling or installed on the ground with supporting beams. Sphere displays can be heavy, especially with the number of modules involved. Ensure that the steel structure can support the weight of thousands of modules. Additionally, ensure that the frame is assembled and installed by professionals with the proper tools and equipment.
  3. Fix the wiring: The wires and other internal components are typically assembled inside the sphere frame before the modules are installed.
  4. Install the modules: As the sphere’s diameter increases, so should the module’s pixel pitch. LED spheres typically use P2 to P6 modules, depending on their size. These modules are customized to fit the size and shape of the frame. Ensure that their installation is seamless to avoid any disconnect across the display.
  5. Set the software and control system: This is crucial in ensuring the display will work as intended. The software and control system are the heart and soul of the LED sphere as they dictate how the content is displayed.
  6. Calibrate the display: Test the brightness, color, and display contrast to ensure the quality of the image.

Sphere LED Display Features

Viewing Angles

Sphere LED displays offer a 360-degree view of your content, unlike traditional one-dimensional LED displays that limit viewing to the front and sides. The spherical shape creates the illusion that the display is endless, which can be beneficial for dynamic content. It is suitable for installation in the middle of large open spaces where viewers approach from various directions.

Seamless Display

Several LED modules fuse together to form sphere LEDs, creating one large screen similar to regular LED displays. However, instead of uniformly sized square or rectangular modules, LED spheres have a combination of triangular, rectangular, and trapezoidal modules to fit the curvature of the frame. This customization allows for a seamless connection which makes the modules feel like a single structure.

Uniform Tapping

Uniform tapping refers to the display’s ability to prevent image distortion, and LED spheres support this technology. It ensures image quality is uniform throughout the display.

Content Possibilities

Typically used for entertainment and art purposes, LED spheres create a visual impact on viewers with their unusual shape, making them suitable for advertising too. They can display static and dynamic images, text, videos, and animations. The shock factor of a 360-degree screen can make a lasting impression on the viewers and generate more engagement.

Flexibility & Customization

Sphere LED displays can be hoisted from the ceiling like a giant disco ball or installed upright with a supporting structure at the bottom. They come in different diameters, depending on your needs and the maximum allowable height and width in your chosen location. Additionally, they support both synchronous and asynchronous control systems, allowing for offline or online control.

LED Sphere Applications

Half Sphere

As the name suggests, a half-sphere is essentially a halved full LED sphere. This halving allows the display to mount on flat surfaces such as stages and walls. For bigger installations, it can serve as an LED dome with modules inside and outside. Planetariums commonly use LED domes because they perfectly mimic the spherical nature of outer space.

One of the most popular examples of a half sphere is the Las Vegas Sphere, which has LED modules inside and outside. The Sphere serves as an entertainment venue, with the indoor LED modules able to mimic the structure’s surroundings to create an illusion that it’s an open-air venue. Meanwhile, the outdoor modules display advertisements and animations, making them stand out amidst Las Vegas’ blinding lights.

Full Sphere

Smaller installations, such as those in malls and museums, typically use full-sphere LED displays. They can be hanging from above or standing on the ground. They commonly display text, animations, and advertisements in commercial installations as well as artworks and special effects in art installations.

The Mall of Asia Globe is an example of a full-sphere LED display. During the day, it serves as a welcome signage for people going to the Mall of Asia. At night, it can display videos and animations. Some even rent it to display birthday greetings for their favorite artists.

LED Sphere Displays Around the World

Las Vegas Sphere

Arguably the most popular LED sphere in the world right now, the Las Vegas Sphere is a half-sphere LED with modules both indoors and outdoors. The Sphere consists of 16K resolution LED screens, with the outdoor modules measuring 580,000 square feet. Its steel frame weighs about 730 tons, enough to support the collective weight of approximately 64,000 LED panels as well as the sound system. The design consists of 780 geometric shapes of panels with adaptive pixel pitch enclosed in an aluminum frame to lessen the impact on the supporting structure.

Mall of Asia Globe

The SM Mall of Asia Globe is a full-sphere LED display located in the middle of the mall roundabout. When turned off, the display appears as a literal globe. At night, it lights up and displays animations, full videos, and static images. With a diameter of 15 meters, the MOA Globe has a watermelon peel design with more than 26,000 weatherproof point lights.

Metro City Shanghai

Fronting the Metro City shopping mall in Shanghai is a massive 3,000 sqm. LED sphere. Nearly 4,000 high-resolution 4K LED modules form the Geo-Cosmos, making it the world’s first naked-eye 3D LED sphere. It stands out from the business district skyline and serves as the mall’s landmark. 

Geo-Cosmos Japan

The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan houses the Geo-Cosmos, an impressive LED sphere that incorporates real-time weather data to display a realistic image of the Earth. It’s also able to show the seasonal color changes in different parts of the world. It also plays videos about the beginnings of the Earth and serves as a canvas for installations.

K-Star World Korea

The proposed K-Star World Sphere, a 120-meter-high half-sphere, will serve as the Asian counterpart to the Las Vegas Sphere. Spearheaded by MSG Entertainment, the project will be an entertainment venue for K-Pop acts and will be located in the city of Hanam, just outside Seoul. It will feature the same interior and exterior LED modules as the Vegas Sphere.

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