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Good Morning Times Square, Part 2

(February 2008) posted on Wed Feb 06, 2008

More in-depth coverage of ABC's new LED ribbon screen.


By Louis M. Brill

click an image below to view slideshow

If you missed part one, click here.

The new facade
The new ABC LED display offers 25 times greater resolution than the original display. D3’s replacement display also includes:

• 10mm-pitch, LED-screen resolution;
• Brighter color and better color uniformity throughout the entire screen;
• Data lines with a redundant gigabyte Ethernet network, which allows a simultaneous dual processor to run the same data signal twice in a parallel mode, as a backup feature; and
• Hot-swappable backup power supplies also run in parallel, which allows the backup power supply to immediately replace a failed, primary, power supply.

The new, high-resolution LED display required new software, noted Meric Adriansen, a D3 managing partner who helped develop the original sign’s operation procedures (see Reporting Live from Times Square sidebar). He initially served as a software project manager for Multimedia, which installed the ABC LED display. He oversaw the development of the front-end content-management system, which included the software that controlled the graphics, video, animation and image morphing.

The original software for the first ABC LED screen ultimately became a patchwork of fixes that adapted the screen to new software upgrades and imagery techniques.

In the new D3 version of the ABC LED display, additional control of the video image allows the ribbon screen to display a complete image on all nine ribbons, not just the upper six ribbon tiers, at the operator’s discretion; the bottom feature band and text ribbons can be added to show an even larger screen image on the building façade.

A single TV program or event can be promoted on the smaller Mitsubishi insert screen, which accompanies the primary LED video ribbon. Below that, the feature band identifies the video content on the LED videoscreens, and two “zipper” ribbons show ABC News and ESPN sports headlines.

Content design and placement must also consider font selection and logo placement, plus the coordination of six or seven separate LED ribbons. Also, the ribbon bands and the Mitsubishi screen can be used simultaneously to create a cohesive marketing, promotion or branding message that combines graphics, copy and video. Finally, existing, pre-recorded television content (usually formatted in either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios) could be reformatted for the unusual aspect ratios of horizontal LED ribbons.


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