I’m in New York for the InfoComm Connections conference today, and I suspect it will be a very interesting day to be in the city, given the events of last night.
I had a chance Tuesday to do a big walk around to look at a bunch of installations, and the things that struck me are that LED doesn’t need to get to super fine pixel pitch to work in big retail and other environments, and LCD video walls still have a role.
The Fulton Center subway station down near the World Trade Center is wallpapered in LED and it looks great, even though the displays are maybe 6 mm pixel pitch, and not the crazy-expensive fine pitch stuff. You do the right creative that suits the display, and even well inside the ideal viewing distance it looks OK.
I walked into a Zara store on Fifth Avenue, because I could see a BIG video wall at the back of the store, all the way from the sidewalk. It was a bigger wall than the giant ones Apple has been putting in its stores, and again, even though it was maybe a 6mm wall, it works. Content wasn’t great (too much white), but that’s something easily fixed.
There were two more freestanding, maybe 4 ft wide by 10 ft high digital posters that were in direct reach of shoppers. They looked fine.
Same at a T-Mobile store in Times Square, which heavily uses LED on the overhead bulkhead walls, and elsewhere. I tried taking photos but the perspective is such that getting it all needs a wide-angle lens.
On the other hand, though, I finally had a chance to see the Microsoft flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Like its other main stores, the company lines the side walls with narrow bezel LCDs. The difference here is a central, towering back wall. THAT store looks great, and the display seams are so nominal I can’t see anyone reasonable being fussy about that. I don’t think, the way that store sets up, and with what’s showing, that LED would work as well, unless it was that crazy-expensive super fine pitch stuff.
It doesn’t really seem like one (LED) will simply supplant the other (LED), at least not yet. Both have a role.
Maybe the bigger news is that investment in this very large canvases feels, at least, like its far more commonplace than maybe a couple of years ago.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 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.