When I swung by the company booth at infoComm, Barco‘s John Youngson was just about imploring me to go have a look at some content running on one of its booth LCDs.
It was for a new landmark office tower in Philadelphia, called the Comcast Center, that has taken the bar for digital signage content and raised it into the stratosphere.
One entire wall of the building lobby is filled with Barco’s NX4 HD LED modules, covering about 84 feet wide by 25 feet high. The pixel pitch is tight enough to give the screen HD clarity, and is best reflected in how part of the content is made to look like the wood grain panels that envelope the rest of the lobby.
The thing cost $22 million to buy and install (oh my, the commission cheque on that one!) and I am not sure if that includes the cost of content.
It’s that content, that really makes this special. Time pieces that building in the video. People who pop up and dance right above the elevator lobbies. HD streetscapes of Philly.
Opened on June 6, The Comcast Experience at Philadelphia’s Comcast Center contains a remarkable LED wall comprising 6,771 Barco NX-4 LED modules with 4 mm resolution. Situated in a 7-story high glass atrium, The Comcast Experience is a joint gift to the citizens of Philadelphia from Comcast Corporation and Liberty Property Trust, and combines sculpture, architecture and technology.
From a technology standpoint, the atrium contains what is described as the world’s largest four millimeter LED wall, which is 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high (25.38 x 7.74 m), and comprises 6,771 Barco NX-4 LED modules. With 10 million pixels mounted in a seamless flat array, the wall provides an extremely high degree of photo-realism — five times the resolution of high-definition (HD) television. LED displays with HD capability installed in outdoor locations such as sports stadiums typically have much larger pixel pitch.
Behind the scenes, Barco image processing equipment includes six DX-700 LED digitizers, seven Encore Video Processors and three MatrixPRO routers.
From an architectural standpoint, the installation marks the first time that audio and video technology at this scale has been incorporated into the design of a major urban building. The LED wall itself includes rectangular cutouts for the lobby’s three banks of elevators.
The content was all done by The Niles Creative Group, a small company based in NYC that has been shooting and producing HD since long before people knew what HD was all about.
Amazing stuff. The DSE East show is in Philly this fall, and I suspect the Comcast Experience will be on the must-see list. Certainly will be on mine.
The content for this would have cost truckloads of money, but it is amazing to see what’s possible and think how this sort of thinking could be applied to smaller projects.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.