Ask the Board – February 6, 2017 | DAVE TAYLOR

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As exterior LED displays become appropriate for more and more applications, what kind of innovation do you see on the horizon in terms of reinforcing your brand?”


I have a 15,000-square-footbillboard in Times Square. The actual innovation is not really much different than any other type of display. In the end, you are essentially just hooking up a computer with digital signage software installed on it to a display.

The best innovation at this time is going from the old style three LED light bulbs to an SMD LED, The SMD is much more compact and allows for smaller pixel sizes. Most of the manufacturers make them black so that the contrast is much better, and when the content is black, it looks like a very nice black.

For exterior displays, you need to look at the environment and make sure you have weather conditions factored into your install. If you’re in a place like Times Square, you need to think about extremely cold weather and making sure all your equipment will work properly at those temps. One thing we found was that the Fiber receivers were getting too cold and would not operate correctly. We needed to insulate them, and that took care of the issue. For an area such as Las Vegas, you need to deal with extreme temperatures of more than 100 degrees for a length of time, so you need to have cooling to keep the units at the correct operating temps.

The size of the display and the pixel size  will determine what size raster you will use. You can have a 16-millimeter pixel pitch with approximately a 1920 x 1080 raster and the screen will be 100ft x 67ft. The same size screen with an 8-millimeter pitch gives you a raster at 3080 x 1760 pixels. This is what I always tell people looking at installing external LED:

  1. Do some homework on who manufactures the screens in a certain area, such as Times Square.
  2. Go out at 6 a.m., walk through Times Square and see which screens are having issues. This is usually before anyone fixes any of the issues with their screens.
  1. Look at the screens when they are playing all black in large sections. Look to see how uniform all the tiles are. It should look like one surface.

Here are things that I would look at when installing an exterior LED to add on to the experience. It is easier to do this during construction than to go back and retrofit.

  • Camera facing out to the Crowd
  1. Find a nice clean space where you can install thecamera andit does not stand out too much and look obnoxious.
  2. Look for a good HD/SDI camera with a Pan/Tilt and Zoom. This is good for your brand or if you do third-party advertising
  • Find a way to have cameras facing the screen from a building across the street
  1. The best bet is to install this with a static DSL or Broadband line on it.
  2. Sometimes, it is difficult to get a dedicated line, and you may only be able to get power. Look into a good wireless point-to-point connection and place a receiver on your roof or structure to feed from across the street.
  • If you are in a public space where you are likely to have events where you would like to have a live feed from the event
  1. Find a point to install a wall box to connect to that can have cabling run to your control room, I suggest putting the box about 8 foot up so that you can get to it from a ladder but people passing by can not interfere with the cable or connection.
  2. If the control room is close enough I would install 2 BNC cables. If the control room is further away I would install 8 ST Fiber connections. This way from say a TV truck they can connect their fiber directly into the Building and then you can place their receiver in your control room where you have power and such.

About Author

Senior Director of Digital Operations
Westfield

MEMBER OF THE DSE ADVISORY BOARD
Out-of-Home Network Council

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