The adoption rate for direct view LED seems to to be steadily increasing, at the same time as the variety of potential applications keep broadening.
I’d not really considered giant fine-pitch LED displays as workable options for lecture hall backdrops, but when you’re the Harvard Business School and have many very rich graduates, all things are possible.
This is a 62 foot wide by 20 foot tall curved SiliconCore LED wall at the school’s 1,000-seat Klarman Hall. The pitch is 1.9mm and sits on a custom structure developed by RP Visual Solutions. The curve is there to help with viewing angles in the wide, three-tier hall.
Says a press release:
Global integrators, AVI-SPL, who oversaw the project alongside Idibri (AV design engineer), installed an audio system of ultra-sensitive microphones and more than 100 speakers to create a uniform sound across the auditorium. A complex wireless network includes 80 wireless Ethernet access points, 32 antennas in the auditorium ceiling, and multigigabit Ethernet uplinks throughout the building.
The second story and lower-level concourse feature studios to support podcasts, webinars, online learning and a black box room for videotaping the HBS digital learning platform, HBX.
The press release adds:
The digital display also had to meet stringent audible noise emission and sustainability requirements set by Harvard Business School. Advanced testing conducted by SiliconCore engineers ensured no audible noise generated by the LED screen would be detected by the ultra-sensitive microphones located close to the screen.
SiliconCore’s proprietary Common Cathode technology, which has a significant effect on the operating temperatures and power consumption of the display was pivotal in meeting this requirement. Along with the audible noise reduction, this proprietary technology prolongs the display’s lifespan, increases brightness and reduces the power requirements by up to 40%, leading to lower operating costs.
University Lecturers can easily connect devices to the screen via HDMI, while the display can be fed with SDI sources, such as cameras operated from the auditorium’s control room. For ease of displaying multiple windows of mixed media at once, the system includes a Christie Spyder X80 windowing processor. The system can handle the 32-million-pixel resolution of the display, enabling multiple 4K sources to be displayed on the screen simultaneously. High resolution content is specifically created for landmark shows and presentations.
The display also features SiliconCore’s Z.A.C.H. technology to enhance HDR capability and achieve unmatched low gray scale performance even at very low brightness levels. The LED screen brightness can be adjusted via a Crestron controller, making it easy for staff to operate the screen at the optimum brightness.
When you start seeing this sort of investment in lecture halls, control rooms and even cinemas, you realize LED has shifted from niche to mainstream. The older versions of this tech didn’t necessarily have the necessary pitch or color and viewing qualities to suit this kind of environment.
The other change is price. This sort of thing is very expensive, but nowhere near as expensive as it was even 2-3 years ago.
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.