Direct view LED is now shaping design decisions for commercial property owners and architects who want to deliver something special in the main lobby of a building.
You’re seeing more and more stories about buildings that have made an entire feature wall digital and dynamic, as a way to create visual excitement and both attract and retain tenants.
I’m not sure it was the very first, but to my mind the Comcast headquarters building in Philadelphia was among the first to make a heavy and serious investment in an LED video wall feature. Certainly, the Comcast lobby was the first to invest millions in completely custom content, tuned to the environment and more than good enough to be a “show” and an attraction.
The lobby was first lit up in June 2008, at a time when very few people had even heard terms like pixel pitch. It was a Barco 4mm pitch wall back then, delivered as a project that cost $22 million back then, including content.
Eleven years on, the lobby has just been refreshed, with new LED and new content.
The video wall is the same dimension as before – 85ft x 25ft – and now sports 2.6mm pixel pitch LEDs manufactured by the Chinese firm Unilumin.
There are 28 million pixels in total (9792 x 2880 pixels) – so it is more than 8K, and as with other big LED walls, this is a great way of understanding how big an LED wall needs to be to do 8K. With LED or OLED, by comparison, it could be a single 75-inch panel.
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular that has been debuted on the big lobby wall was designed by David Niles and his Niles Creative Group, which also did the original content 11 years ago.
The Holiday Spectacular show runs every hour, on the hour. Other custom content developed by Niles runs continuously at other times.
One of the truly great ideas that Niles cooked up back then, and still applies, is the element of surprise. The base background for the wall – think of it like a screensaver – copies the wood panels on the lobby’s side walls. So people might walk in and not even realize the back wall isn’t just wood like the other walls.
Then stuff subtly happens. Very clever …
I’ve not been to Philly in a bunch of years, but would go just to see this!
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.