Barco, a manufacturer of display technology, recently announced the grand opening of The Comcast Experience at Philadelphia’s Comcast Center, an LED wall comprised of 6,771 Barco NX-4 LED modules.
Situated in a seven story high glass atrium, The Comcast Experience is a joint gift to the citizens of Philadelphia from Comcast Corporation and Liberty Property Trust; one that combines sculpture, architecture and technology in a public environment.
By transforming a public transportation hub into an artistic focal point for the city, The Comcast Experience encompasses a number of important “firsts.” From a technology standpoint, the world’s largest four millimeter LED wall is 83.3′ wide by 25.4′ high. With 10 million pixels mounted in a seamless flat array, the wall provides an extremely high degree of photo-realism, at five times the resolution of high-definition television. Behind the scenes, Barco image processing equipment includes six DX-700 LED digitizers, seven Encore Video Processors and three MatrixPRO routers.
From an architectural standpoint, the installation marks the first time that audio and video technology at this scale has been incorporated into the design of a major urban building. Adding to the complexity, the LED wall includes rectangular cutouts for the lobby’s three banks of elevators. (Photo above, courtesy of Barco, shows those cutouts with nature scene on screen above.)
All of the content for The Comcast Experience was designed and produced by the Niles Creative Group. The installation also marks the first time that an everchanging audio and video environment has been designed for an audience in transit, with artificial intelligence at the core.
“There’s never been a screen not only of this resolution, but also of this realism,” said Steve Scorse, vice president of sales and marketing for Barco’s Media & Entertainment division, North America. “Not only does the screen integrate seamlessly into the Comcast Center as a forum for content, but at times, the content mimics the atrium’s natural wood paneling and virtually disappears,” said Scorse. “The resolution, contrast and seamlessness are such that you can do things with this screen that cannot be done with any other technology.”
John Gattuso, senior vice president and regional director for Liberty Property Trust, commented on the scope of The Comcast Experience. “The thought process on behalf of Comcast and Liberty evolved beyond the idea of just broadcasting content, into a larger art piece that would ultimately complement the building’s aesthetic,” said Gattuso. “When you undertake these kinds of projects that have so many components, the only way you pull all those pieces together is through an outstanding team. And while it’s not to diminish the challenges involved, it continues to remind you of how critical it is to have the best people involved in a project.”
“Barco has been a great partner and we are excited to have the world’s largest four millimeter LED screen in Comcast Center,” said Karen Dougherty Buchholz, vice president, administration, Comcast Corporation. “The combination of Barco’s wonderful technology and the Niles Creative Group’s artistic content will truly make Comcast Center a destination for Philadelphians and visitors to our great city.”
The blend of architecture, vision and technology is brought to life via the content, as designed by New York’s Niles Creative Group. “It was exciting that both Comcast and Liberty approached this as a ‘new media’ project,” said David Niles, founder of the Niles Creative Group. “This meant that we weren’t just talking about digital signage, but the creation of an extraordinary environment in a public space, to design a spectacular and inspiring visual illusion that blurs the lines between reality and the unexpected. To accomplish this, we designed a content delivery system using artificial intelligence. The system creates unique content on an ongoing basis without human intervention.”
The Comcast Experience is located in Comcast Center’s lobby, located at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia, PA. As Philadelphia’s newest destination, The Comcast Experience is on 18 hours each day, delivering custom content.