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US Capitol Visitor Center

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US Capitol Visitor Center
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Planar LED Video Wall Welcomes and Educates Capitol Visitors

The United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) is a beautifully designed space that serves as the main public entry point to the Capitol. More than just an entrance, however, the CVC is an experiential gathering space — reflecting the style of the Capitol — that welcomes, educates and entertains visitors as they wait for their Capitol tours to commence. Emancipation Hall — which is part of the visitor center — plays a key educational role. It is a space that immediately immerses visitors in all things relevant to the Capitol. Those who explore it can experience compelling exhibits and artifacts, as well as stay informed about their visit by virtue of highly advanced display technology installed on either side of the iconic clock that is centered above the nearby check-in desks.

The new LED video wall displays provide a big, bright platform on which visitors can obtain information about tickets and tour times, see sales and promotional messages from the café and gift shop. They also enable visitors to learn interesting facts about many aspects of Emancipation Hall and the Capitol itself.

Key display selection factors

The LED video wall displays – specifically, the Planar® DirectLight® LED Video Wall System – feature a pixel pitch of 2.5 millimeters and are installed in two seven-wide-by-two-high (7 x 2) arrays on either side of the clock, measuring 72 square feet in total. A key aspect
of these displays is their low reflectance surfaces which ensure that displayed content is bright and clear and highly readable. It's an especially important factor given both displays are situated directly below massive skylights that bathe the interior space with natural light.

"The Planar DirectLight LED video wall solution readily accommodates the existing millwork and has the ability to operate beautifully even with the bright sunlight coming in from above," says Jeff Koenig, AV Supervisor for the Capitol Visitor Center. "Planar DirectLight is also notable for its thin, seamless profile, low energy consumption, front-serviceability, and its ability to handle a wide range of content."

The systems integration firm LED3 took the lead in hardware and software integration. "We've had excellent success working with Jeff and his team on a number of other CVC projects, and similarly with Planar," says Bruce Neff, President of LED3, which is headquartered in Canfield, Ohio. "We're proud of the capabilities LED3 brought to the project, ranging from engineering and integration through installation and repair."

Display capabilities deliver bottom-line benefits

The excellent image quality of Planar DirectLight displays owes to several factors including its black resin LEDs and Planar® MicroGrid Shader™, which produce the deepest levels of black and higher contrast.

Planar DirectLight displays offer front access via the Planar® EasyAlign™ Mounting System. This six-axis adjustment system, along with the Planar® DirectLight Control Software, allows for ultra-fine image tuning and calibration. "These features combine to give us stunning and uniform pictures," the CVC's Jeff Koenig says.

Koenig calls Planar DirectLight a very efficient LED video wall system. "We see this in factors such as its low power consumption (19 watts per square foot), and its off-board electronics design, which allows power supplies and certain other components to be remotely located. With this design, we can manage any power problems more easily, install software updates and manage overall system performance more effectively."

And much can be said about the reliability of Planar DirectLight. This display is designed for 24x7 operation and has a typical lifetime of 100,000 hours to half brightness. "It all adds up to a system that delivers an exceptional picture, has a lower cost-of-ownership, stands up to our demanding usage requirements and integrates really well with our architecture," Koenig adds.