TV and VideoTV: Guides

Screen Brightness – What Is a Nit and How Many Do You Need?

what is a nit

What is the method for determining screen brightness? How far should a person sit from a screen? What’s more, how do we choose a pixel pitch? While these parameters are spoken casually among professionals, this does not lessen the need for newbies to carefully evaluate these components.

We have managed to outline the fundamentals that everyone should be aware of in order to have the greatest possible display experience.

The device you are viewing this on has a specific contrast ratio, brightness and probably produces several hundred candelas per square meter. That’s correct; candelas are still the most common unit of light measurement.

If you are searching for a screen, you’ll most likely come across the nit metric, which indicates how much candlelight per square meter your screen can produce.

The rivalry between TV and display manufacturing companies is heating up. Everyone is bragging about how many nits their screens have. But for our user’s understanding specifically, what is a nit? What’s more, how many do you need? Or how to measure it? Let’s find out!

What is a Nit?

Nits are a unit of brightness or, more precisely, luminosity. Regardless of whether internal or external, your display produces a set amount of nits, which is a measurement that is part of its primary specifications.

A monitor’s nits value is usually listed on the box or on the manufacturer’s website. You can also measure it using dedicated hardware. You can use a tool called DisplayHDR Text to test nits value with just a software solution.

It should go without saying that this application will provide you with a rough nit value. If you want an absolutely correct value, you’ll need to utilize a photometer or go online and look up information about your screen.

How to Measure Nits Value?

From the Microsoft Store, get DisplayHDR Text. This application performs a series of tests to determine whether your screen is capable of displaying HDR content. It will do so by running nits tests at 400, 600, and 1000 nits. It does this regardless of whether or not your screen can handle it.

None of the tests are required to be completed. When you see the following screen, simply press the Page Down key twice.

displayhdr text screen

The following is a summary of what you will see. The Max peak luminance determines the nits rating for your screen. This will not be exact, but the discrepancy will not exceed 50 nits.

According to the manufacturer, the screen we used to test this app produces 250 nits. Therefore the difference isn’t more than 20 nits in our instance.

displayhdr text screen 2

What Are the Differences Between Nits and Lumens?

It is highly likely that you are used to hearing the term lumens more than nits, so you are probably wondering what a nit is when you come across the measurement.

It’s vital to note that nits aren’t an established metric for brightness. However, nit is frequently used instead of candela to prevent seeming like you measure brightness with candles, even if you are not.

So, what’s the difference between a nit and a lumen? Lumens are more generally used than nits, but nits measure both the intensity of light and the amount of light per square meter.

Lumens are used to measure flashlights and lightbulbs; for example, that’s why they are more generic.

The entire intensity of a light source is measured in lumens. The full illumination caused by your TV screen, for example, could be measured in lumens. Monitors illumination can be measured like that as well. Monitors are extremely advanced in terms of technology nowadays, and you can get them in curved and ultra-wide variants according to your preference (just make sure they are bright enough f or your use case).

The screen’s overall brightness will be measured in nits. It’s a little complicated but think of nits as a measurement of surface area, whereas lumens represent total illumination.

What Are the Benefits of Nits?

You will understand why nits matter if you have ever tried to use a dim device on a bright day. To be readable and watchable, your display must be more colorful or luminous than the light sources around it. You can easily color calibrate your monitor in a few easy steps to make sure that you have the right colors, but you cannot increase its brightness beyond its limit.

If your gadget never leaves the basement, you are probably not cranking up the brightness all the way anyhow, so having more nits wouldn’t help much.

Unless, of course, it’s an HDR (High Dynamic Range) television. The fact that these TVs can display brighter brights and true black makes them superior. Though most HDRs are limited to 2,000 nits, a Sony prototype HDR TV was able to reach 10,000 nits, although it will be at least a few years before you see such a device in the average household.

Should We Care About Nits?

The general rule is that the larger the number of nits, the brighter the display. This may or may not be a significant consideration for you when purchasing a new monitor or television. Still, the more colorful a display can get, the better the image will appear in a brightly lit room.

When it comes to cellphones, which you’re more likely to use outside in direct sunshine, nits are even more significant. Even on the brightest of days, a screen with a high nit count will appear bright and clear.

However, when looking for a television, we would argue that you don’t need to pay close attention to the number of nits a television has. Most people won’t be able to discern the difference.


Nits are essential, but they shouldn’t be the only consideration in your screen selection unless you need something brighter over a certain level for HDR or outdoor use.

Your screen quality is also affected by resolution, contrast ratios, black levels, sRGB color, and other things. As long as you’re not at the very low end of the nit range, you should be alright.

It is more important to know what a low, medium and high nit value for a particular gadget look likes. It is the most crucial thing to make more informed buying decisions.

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