Projects: The LED Board That Ate Times Square

November 19, 2014 by Dave Haynes


This just lit up about 45 minutes ago. It’s a beast.

The tech details:

When it turned on tonight, the screen was just playing lovely motion graphic art, with supporting audio. Presumably at some point it will be ads only, though. I left after 10 minutes because I was FROZEN. There was a pretty good crowd there for the switch-on, but I’m guessing they also split.

When I was in New York a couple of weeks ago I was very kindly given a sneak-peek behind the scenes at the crazily huge LED board that lit up this week on the facade of the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.

The screen covers a Broadway block between 45th and 46th streets, and wraps around a corner, using 10 mm pixel pitch Mitsubishi LED display modules. It is, I think, the second largest LED board of its kind in the world, behind one in China. There are other larger LED set-ups, but they are low-rez curtains, whereas this display is doing HD. 10 mm doesn’t look so hot from a couple of feet away, but from the street, it looks pretty amazing.


The beast is about eight-storeys high and roughly the length of a football field. A new iron and steel superstructure was built in front of the hotel to hold the LED modules and miles and miles of signal cables needed to stitch all this together in a seamless image. The whole thing is managed from a third-level room in the hotel, and an adjacent equipment room that has layer upon layer of redundant equipment. I wasn’t allowed to take snappies.

The board itself is running off YCD Multimedia software and it is all scheduled and monitored from across the Hudson in New Jersey, by Diversified Media Group.

ClearChannel is the media sales company and the board is owned by the building owner, a big NYC real estate investment trust (REIT) called Vornado Realty Trust.

I remember when an irregularly shaped board went up next door, humping American Eagle. It looked huge, at the time. Now it looks teeny.

Google is the first advertiser, reportedly at upwards of $2.5 million a month.

1535 Broadway

More pix:

Here are some tweets:


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