High Resolution in Reception
The Reception area for one of Electrosonic’s clients, a London-based bank, now features two high resolution LED displays which show corporate and event related information. Each display is a massive 5.76m × 3.24m (18.9ft × 10.6ft) of 1.5mm fine pitch LED to achieve QHD (3840 × 2160) resolution. The display system, based on SiliconCore LED technology, was engineered and installed by Electrosonic in close co-operation with the client’s Corporate Communications and Corporate Real Estate Services teams.
A Fast Track Project
Practical and business considerations meant that the project needed to be completed quickly. The client approached Electrosonic in early December 2016 and the project specification was developed during that month. From the client’s point of view an ideal completion date was to have been towards the end of February 2017. Reality meant that the system specification was completed, and an order placed, in early January 2017, and the project was completed on 8 March 2017, in the remarkably short time of eight weeks.
Electrosonic’s partnership with the client’s internal facilities teams was crucial to the success of the project. Given the timeframe, VIP involvement and high visibility nature of the project, there were many critical and supporting enabling works that had to be carried out before and during Electrosonic’s work on-site. This would never have been possible in such a short period were it not for the excellent program and project management by the client and the associated Corporate Communications and Corporate Real Estate Services (CRES) teams.
Also critical to the success of the project was Electrosonic’s partnership with SiliconCore, the manufacturer of the LED displays. The physical installation was completed outside working hours over six days, which required immense effort (and many late nights!) from both SiliconCore and Electrosonic.
A unique benefit that Electrosonic brings to this type of project is the provision of a project team with experience of deploying large, technically demanding, AV videowall systems. The project itself was delivered by the delivery team based at the Electrosonic Newquay (UK) office. This team provides complete end to end AV integration solutions and possesses a wealth of experience of engineering and deploying AV systems for the client. The close knit project management and engineering team offered the client an exceptionally high standard of engineering, CAD and project management expertise which proved vital in ensuring smooth delivery of the project.
The Display Technology
The main reception displays are two SiliconCore “Magnolia” displays with 1.5mm pixel pitch, meaning that the practical minimum viewing distance is only 1.5m (5ft). The displays are 5.76m × 3.24m (18.9ft × 10.6ft) providing a 16:9 aspect ratio image with QHD (3840 × 2160) resolution. This means that conventional media production processes can be applied and that the whole display can be made compatible with the client’s global digital signage standard (OneLAN).
SiliconCore displays have some significant advantages for continuous running displays. Their LED architecture is based on the “common cathode” principle which means in practical terms they can run brighter, and use less power than alternatives. The displays could run at an eye-blistering 1700 Nits (Candelas per square meter) if required.
QHD stands for “Quad HD,” so it is no surprise that the simplest method of sourcing the displays is a processor which can deliver four simultaneous 1080p HD streams. Datapath FX4 processors are used to convert incoming QHD to the required format. A Crestron DM-MD16×16 DigitalMedia matrix with redundant power supply is used to select the incoming sources and provide the QHD feeds. Inputs include a house “Presentation” channel, IPTV, a studio feed, three OneLAN 4K digital signage players, two codecs, and three computer inputs. Sources providing 1080p HD signals are routed to a maximum size of one quarter of the display.
To provide information for the separate Events Reception desk, an existing 2×2 Planar LCD videowall has been re-deployed. It is fed from another FX4 processor receiving a QHD input from the matrix.
Audio and Control
The display system is supported by a stereo audio system which provides high quality program audio in close proximity to the displays. The audio system is based on a BiAmp Tesira DSP.
Control of the complete audio-video system is by a Crestron control system. This has two touchscreen user interfaces. One is portable but normally sited in a docking station at Reception, and the other is fixed in the Corporate Communications office.
The control concept is that of display “scenes” which consist of pre-programmed display layouts and source allocations which can be assigned to appropriate events or times. Only authorized users can create scenes. Other users have conditional access to scene selection only.
Pixel Pitch Perfect
The main story on these pages is a demonstration of how far direct view LED display technology has come in recent years. Initially such displays were associated with sports events, advertising and arena shows, but the arrival of fine pitch variants has opened up new opportunities where previously tiled LCDs or projection might have been used. Now they are to be found in corporate installations where the highest quality is demanded. Electrosonic is involved with several such projects, being installed in cities around the world. This has required the development of new skills, and a commitment to the factory training of project engineering staff. Recent developments include improved color and contrast, the ability to display HDR (High Dynamic Range) content and ever finer pixel pitches.
The big advantage of LED is that in theory displays of any size can be constructed. An obvious question is “What pixel pitch do I need?” given that the range now offered varies from less than 1mm to 100mm or more. A good way to start is to understand visual acuity – the ability of the human eye to resolve small detail. This is generally accepted to be our ability to resolve detail down to one minute of arc (one sixtieth of a degree). Clearly the aim should be that, at the intended viewing distance, it should not be possible to see individual pixels.