At ARTS Lab, I'm always blathering on about fulldome as not only an important medium* outright, but also as a launch-point for learning to design for all the crazy places and ways we're splaying pixels beyond the 4:3 and 16:9 frames and personal-to-multiplex display scales. On that point, check out this Times Square monstrosity:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/walgreens-blazing-retu...

With a little more tech-info here:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/towering-led-sign-will-lig...

Golly. But a megawatt of power?

d

*[Does fulldome qualify as a medium or, rather, is it a format within a 'large-scale/immersive medium'? Q for another day.]

Embedded Text from NYT Bits Blog:

The new Walgreens sign going live in Times Square Thursday is not the largest LED-based sign in the world, but its developers believe that it is the most complex, both in terms of its construction and operation. Rising 340 feet high, the 17,000-square-foot sign wraps most of the facade of the One Times Square building. It combines a series of diagonal LED panels, plus 13 60-inch plasma displays to create a single moving image with 20 times the resolution of standard HDTV.

To make that happen, the sign’s developers, D3 LED, LLC used over 12 million LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. The higher up the sign, the further apart the LEDs were spaced; those parts of the sign closer to the street used a higher density to increase the effective resolution for nearby viewers. The trick was in combining the variable densities to create a uniform-sized image that could spread around the sides of the building and onto the plasma screens that adjoin the store’s entrance.

The sign will display ad spots from Colgate, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson and L’Oreal, among other companies.

To create the imagery, 150GB of information is transmitted every 30 seconds from 32 custom-built computers. Because so much information has to be transmitted so quickly, all of the imagery is sent in an uncompressed format; if it were compressed to save space, too much computing power would be need to uncompress the information.

The range of colors that can be displayed far exceeds what a standard television can transmit and even exceeds the number that can be created by color printers.

While this sign could have been constructed by using older cathode-ray tube technology, it would have cost four times as much and used 10 times the amount of power, according to Meric Adriansen, who in charge of systems and engineering for the company. As it is, this thing is no power miser. With 12 million LED power points, the average power used is 250KW, rising to as much as one megawatt based on the imagery being created.

If you’re walking by at night, you might want to put on your sunglasses. The sign produces 8,000 nits of brightness. (Nits, since several readers asked, are a measurement of display screen brightness. 1 nit = 1 cd/m2. The more nits, the brighter the picture.) A typical LCD display creates about 200.

D3 is responsible for a number of LED signs in the area, including the ABC Super Sign, Mr. Peanut and M&M World. On December 2, D3’s new JVC LED sign will go live, a 7,880-square-foot, widescreen HD display composed of more than 1.2 million LEDs.
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Comment by d on November 24, 2008 at 12:04pm
More technical reporting at Gizmodo

http://gizmodo.com/5096475/the-insane-hardware-driving-the-worlds-biggest-led-billboard

d

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