Southern California Sign Blog

Los Angeles Signs | All About Electronic Message Centers

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 @ 07:03 AM

The Electronic Message Center Market

EMC Summary


• The term “electronic message center” (EMC) encompasses vast differences in scale and sophistication.


• Products may be designed for interior or exterior applications and may range from one-line monochrome text and time & temperature units to full-color billboards and video walls.


• EMC screens are configured in a matrix of individually addressable light source “pixels”. The closer the “pitch” (distance between pixels) the higher resolution the screen is capable of.

• The most common light source for EMC pixels are LEDs. Common monochrome colors are red, amber and green; full color pixels are made up of red, green and blue (RGB) LED clusters.


• Messages and images are usually controlled through manufacturer’s proprietary software, which may be connected to a network that controls multiple units.


• Access to the EMC market requires investments in technical training, equipment and licensing.

• License requirements differ in all cities, but most locations require a permit.

• An electrician’s license is necessary to connect to primary power.

• Installations are subject to inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.


• EMC installation involves building a robust support structure. 


• EMCs are regulated through local sign codes and city ordinances and range from outright bans in some locations to various restrictions on size, brightness and change frequency.


• EMC variables: color, resolution, viewing distances, viewing angles, all of which affect readability.


• The EMC Supply Chain

• Most manufacturers sell directly to sign companies or end users.

• Products are not generally available through distributors. 


• EMC Manufacturer Resources

• Product information

• Installation guidance

• Sales leads

• Technical training

• End-user support


• Leading EMC Manufacturers in the US (2010)

• Adaptive Micro Systems

• Daktronics

• Grandwell Industries

• HiTech LED Display

• Mitsubishi

• Optec

• Salescaster

• Sony

• Trans-Lux

• Wagner ZipVision

• Watchfire (by Time-O-Matic)

• YESCO (Young Electric Sign Co.)

The Sign Studio is a proud Partner with the above listed Manufacturers and hope this information will be helpful to you.  If you have any further questions or would like to see a Demo of an Electronic Message Center, please give us a call at (818) 843-9200 or send us an e-mail at  



EMC Final

Topics: Electronic Message Centers, LED Message Centers