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What is main difference between Digital and Analog LED strips?

What is main difference between Digital and Analog LED strips?

We start this blog with comparison below that shows main differences between Analog and Digital LED strips.

  Analog Digital
Colors only one different for each LED
Controls on hardware level DMX SPI
Typical user control DMX console or software video software, live video stream, Art-Net, SD-card
Voltage 12V, 24V, 220V 5V
Typical number of LEDs per meter 32, 60, 80 30, 32, 42, 60, up to 144
Cut segment 3 or 6 LEDs 1 LED
Typical usage decorative lightning decorative lightning with video projection
Installation easy complicated
Typical current per meter of strip 1A at 12V, 0.5A at 24V 1.2A at 5V
Can be controlled using LED Strip Studio yes (additional LED DMX dimmers are required) yes

Analog LED strips

Generally, analog strips allow you to change color of the strip, but you can get only one color on the strip at once. They are usually used to illuminate places that lack natural sunlight, as decorations in clubs, TV studios or on buildings on either exterior or interior.

Analog LED Strip

Analog LED strip can only have one color at a time.

Examples of use Analog LED Strips

Analog strips are great option when illuminating buildings or clubs


Control options for Analog LED Strips


Analog strips are frequently controlled with DMX protocol or using remote controls. In case you use single color analog LED strips (usually white), you are able to connect them directly into the power source.


chinese remote control

Chinese remote control


But the most common way of controlling analog LED strips is over DMX signal. This allows you to change color of the strips using standard DMX lightning console (or software).


Voltage of Analog LED Strips


Typically, analog LED strips use 12V, 24V or 220V voltage. They are normally distributed in 5m rolls and use 60 LED diodes per meter (but there are also less or more LEDs per meter versions available).


Digital LED strips


Digital LED strips are also called video, dream, pixel or addressable LED strips. They all fall within the same category. The main benefit comparing to analog LED strips is that you can control every single LED diode separately. This allows you to use digital LED strips to display even video. Traditionally, it is achieved thanks to additional chips (IC)  directly inside the LED diode or on the digital strip board.


Digital LED Strip

Digital LED strip allows you change color of every single LED diode


Digital LED strips can be used to achieve amazing animated light effects in clubs, TV studios or even buildings. They can be used for decorations, but also for displaying video content for advertisement purposes.



Digital LED strips are great for any-shape LED screens. 


Digital LED strips are usually more complicated to control since you have to provide video content for the LED strips. Users often use computer software, Art-Net, live video stream or SD card as a video source.


On the hardware level, the digital strips receive video information over SPI (Serial Protocol Interface). Every single LED of the digital strip uses one chunk of RGB data in SPI data packet.


Now, pay attention. You have a little issue with the digital LED strips SPI communication – there is not only one standard. There are many control IC chips and every one of them uses a different kind of SPI signal. The most common types are WS2811, WS2812, TM1803, TM1809, SK6812, UCS, APA102 or APA104. LED Strip Studio system supports all common types of IC.


Control options for Digital LED strips


LSS scheme of use

LSS 3 allows you to send signal through output using 4 independent SPI outputs. Each one of them can control up to 1024 LEDs. And that is a huge difference!


Typically, the SPI controllers receive video information over Ethernet cables from computer software or Art-Net. But there are also controllers using SD-card or live video stream (e.g. from HDMI) as a video source.


Why start using LED Strip Studio Controllers?


We are offering you great LED Controllers with long tradition, made and tested inhouse and on hundreds of installations. LSS controllers are easy to use, have detailed documentation, strong support, own software solution. The technical details of LED controllers – LEC 3, SPI LED Controller, SPI Matrix, Powered LEC.


A voltage of Digital LED Strips


Digital LED strips usually works at a 5V voltage, although there are also some 12V or 24V versions (these allow control of only 3 LED diodes as one pixel). We often use 42 LEDs/m version, but you can find many kinds of digital LED strips, anyway.

1 Comment
  • adrian chatellier
    Posted at 10:38 am, November 21, 2017


    My name is Adrian Chatellier , there are 5 years ago i had a costume project , i would like to become a WALL LED HUMAIN 🙂 ,
    Showtacle , LedStripStudio and their incredible technology help me to realise this project .
    With two Main Board , and two ethernet additional board , all pilot in Dmx , i can program and control 14996 leds in total ,
    Showtacle Technology and all their technician was allways listening and helping for find all solution and make work this nice project . Thank you so much

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