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LED Display Color depth

"Dimming" and "shading" refer to entirely different functions and the terms should not be interchanged. The word “dimming” refers to a uniform brightness adjustment across the entire display to correct the intensity for ease of reading different ambient light conditions. "Shading" or color depth, affects the light output variations of each individual red, green and blue LED to create images within the display.

Color depth chat

Bits per color Resulting shades per color Resulting RGB color capability 

Bits per color Resulting shades per color Resulting RGB color capability
5-bits 32 32,768
6-bits 64 262,144
8-bits 256 16.7 million
10-bits 1,024 1.07 billion
12-bits 4,096 68.7 billion
14-bits 16,384 4.4 trillion


25 * 25 * 25 = 32,768 colors

Calculation explanation: Each individual red, green and blue LED be in one of two states, either on or off. This example uses a color data processing of 5 bits for each color is 2 to the 5th power and multiplying each color’s depth provides the overall color depth of 32,768 colors.

Although "dimming" and "shading" have different meanings, some manufacturers will combine greyscale shading values with dimming values to create a color specification that appears more impressive on paper than it is capable of producing in the field.Combining shading values with overall dimming values is a deceiving and misleading practice. Below is an incorrect calculation that includes dimming as part of the color depth:

25 * 25 * 25*32 dimming = 1 million colors