Trying to decide between ColorDMD LCD and LED products? Below is an explanation of the differences between the two display types.

LCD Displays

ColorDMD LCD displays have been sold since 2012. These displays incorporate a 15.6" high-resolution LCD screen typically found in laptop computers. Dots are drawn to the screen using pixels. Because it's a high-resolution screen, other rendering modes are supported including extra large dots and upscaling modes that fill the space between the dots.

The current list of rendering modes are DOTS, DOTXL, TILE - squares instead of dots, 8BIT - squares without separation between them, HIRES - upscaling, and SCAN - upscaling with a scan line effect.

The display is taller than the factory display but fits in the same location. We only light up the center of the screen. The unused area is hidden by the speaker panel and translite.

Because of the fine pitch of the pixels, LCD displays offer excellent color convergence. However, they incorporate a backlight that produces a soft glow that is visible in a dark room.

LED Displays

The ColorDMD LED display has been available since 2016. It is comprised of a 128x32 matrix of individual RGB LEDs, that is similar in size and appearance to the factory display but in full color. LED displays are only capable of displaying small dots.

Compared to LCD, the LED display provide more "pop" as the individual RGB LEDs are brighter and can produce a higher color gamut. They remain bright even when viewed off-angle and have have better black level when viewed in a dark room.

On the down-side, the dots are smaller with more black space between them and, due to the spacing of the individual red, green, and blue LEDs, color convergence is not as good as the LCD.


We receive a lot of questions regarding "which display is better?" Similar to the choice of LED versus traditional lighting on playfields there's no easy answer, and it really comes down to personal preference. For some unbiased customer reviews we suggest taking a look at the discussion on this Pinside thread: ColorDMD - LCD versus LED?

If you're purchasing a color display for the first time and unsure of which route to choose, LCD is probably the safe choice. It is the display we have sold since 2012, is a bit easier on the eyes, and supports options for customization (including large dots and high-resolution upscaling modes).

The 128x32 colorized frames are the same for both ColorDMD LCD and ColorDMD LED displays, and while differences in the devices exist, they are secondary to the overall impact of moving from monochrome to color. Both displays look great in any pinball lineup!

Where Can I Find Examples?

Most of the videos on our product pages show the LCD display in DOTXL (extra large dots) mode. For an example of SCAN mode, see the video for Simpsons Pinball Party.

For examples of LED displays, see the videos for Jurassic Park, Tales from the Crypt, and other Data East games. The LED colors are more vibrant in person than they appear in the videos, but the videos do provide a feel for the difference in dot size and appearance between the LCD and LED displays.

Why Isn't LCD Available For My Game?

The taller size of the LCD won't fit some game cabinets, or requires permanent modification of the backbox speaker panel. For these games, we only list and support installation for LED displays on our store site. However, all the color ROM files on our site work with both LCD and LED displays. Some customers have developed custom mounting solutions to fit LCD displays in these cabinets.