I've consulted an engineer and he suggested I create led modules... he suggested 16x16 .. each module would require its own voltage regulator, microcontroller and drivers.. you could then plug the modules into each other to create the size of matrix desired.. a master microcontroller would be responsible for sending the data to all the modules, as well as syncing, etc...
i never even considered power requirements for when the matrix is entirely illuminated (duh)..
so yeah, im into thousands of bucks..
what I dont get is: these matrix's already exist.. the DOT furniture store has a 24x168 RGB display (although i think each led can have 6 colors, not 16.2 million).. do you think these displays cost thousands???
a very ambitious project
since you can always buy hardware after the fact, might i suggest not quite investing in the led's right away until you figure out all the hardware?
you may also need to look at using multiple microcontrollers and segmenting the display in order to get reasonable refresh rates my guess is that chaining this many drivers together will not yield satisfactory results. you will probably want segments controlled by microcontrollers that at as frame buffers, and microcontrollers dedicated to feeding display information to those frame buffers. you may also find out that the arduino isn't the best platform for this project. you also need to look at total power usage for the led's which will be quite high.
what do you want to do with the display? that might provide some more opportunity for feedback. do you also have a budget for this project? i would expect it to run easily into the thousands of dollars range.
it's doable though it will just take alot of planning, calculations and cold hard cash
do you live near any universities? speaking with seasoned faculty on the subject will answer many questions as well.