June 27, 2019

When these lights are unplugged, standard Christmas lights and pixel lights look very similar. But when the units are plugged it you can really notice the difference between the two!

If you’re looking to stand out this year with your Christmas display, make a statement, or even pair up a music and light show, using pixel lights instead of standard, old school “AC lights, is really the way to go.

Regular Christmas Lights

With regular Christmas lights, you only have the option to turn the lights on or off.

Some lights and controllers do have an option of different light settings to allow for fade-ins and outs, twinkles and more.

But the transition, fading, and other scenes are not as smooth as the pixels would run. At the end of the day, you can’t control any closer detail than a entire strand of lights.

If you purchase standard Christmas lights from a regular store you will quickly notice that these lights are limited in what they can do and the control you have with them – they turn on, off, and maybe can fade in and out as a entire string – that’s it!

Pixel Lights

Christmas Light Pixels
Pixel lights up close

Pixel lights, on the other hand, are designed to make an impact on your show.

If you’ve ever seen some of the big Christmas light shows on YouTube or “The Great Christmas Light Fight” TV show, then you’ve definitely seen pixel-type lights.

When working with pixels you have absolute control over every single pixel (bulb), and you can set the color as well as the brightness.

If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be!

Because pixels have so many options, the way we control them is completely different – rather than attempt to assign control to each individual light, pixels are controlled with animations and videos across multiple strands or even your whole display at a single time!

The biggest concern I see people having is whether or not they can afford pixels.

After all, if these things are so fancy, they must be expensive, right?

The Cost Difference

Now, some people would say that pixel lights are more expensive than your standard Christmas lights.

I would have to respectfully disagree with this statement when we look at the total impact that pixel lights make on your show vs. a standard light.

Where pixels may cost you more is in the control aspect of things. To control pixels you’re going to need a few more things.

Pixels do take a lower voltage, so they’ll need a power supply which then plugs into your standard wall socket. Then, you will need a pixel controller to have full control over your pixels.

Pixels do tend to be more expensive, especially when you factor in control, power, and cabling. Most estimates (including my own) put the cost at $1 per pixel or a little less.

You can cover a lot of area with just standard Christmas lights but when working with pixels you have full control of your lights.

You can customize the lights in any way you want and you can even run video with pixels. The options when working with pixels just opens up that many more doors with your Christmas display!

So at the end of the day, we can’t compare the two on a “per bulb” basis – it’s just not fair to the pixels! They give you much more impact, and I would argue every day that a small pixel show with good sequencing will outshine an AC light show every day (pun 100% intended!)

Want to learn how to get started? Check out my full article here!

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