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The Cost of Outdoor LED Billboards
If digital billboards are so great, why isn't everybody installing one?
If you were to judge the popularity of various types of digital signage by the number of comments my blog articles attract, then LED billboards would far and away be #1. An article on Electronic Billboard Pros, Cons and Safety Information that I wrote back in 2004 has attracted an astonishing 145 comments over the past 8 years. Admittedly, most of them are from far-east manufacturers of the displays looking for some cheap publicity, but still...
And yet, for all that, there are probably only a few thousand large-format LED displays installed across the US right now. Why? Two reasons:
1. The displays are expensive -- and most folks in our industry are cheapskates.
2. Installation requires wading through bureaucracy -- municipalities can set their own rules about what outdoor displays can do, and obtaining the necessary permits can take months.
Behold, the LED Billboard Cost Estimator

All of this brings us to the big question: how much do LED billboards actually cost? Until recently, that wasn't a question that I could answer. In fact, I didn't know a whole lot about these screens until I started researching them a few months ago, and I was astonished by the number of variables that affect both the price and the amount of time it takes to install a display. So, armed with information from a number of seasoned vendors and users, we put together an easy-to-use tool that can help guesstimate what it would cost to install LED billboards of various sizes into different environments:
If you equip yourself with a better understanding of the various cost components, and you team up with a vendor who's capable of actually delivering all of those components (or at least helping you get them all together), a large format LED display project doesn't have to be nearly as horrible as it used to be. And that's a good thing, because there's still a lot of low-hanging fruit in the LED billboard market for crafty VARs to grab.
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