The Big Picture, by Graham Burgess

Another COVID-hit Chinese New Year

As we approach the Lunar New Year, it is clear that the celebrations in China will again differ from the norm.

Our Shenzhen based team are resigned to being unable to travel back to their hometowns to celebrate the Spring Festival as they would normally do. Recent lockdowns in the Luohu area of Shenzhen mean that any travel would involve a longer quarantine period than their entire holiday, so they’re busy booking restaurants to celebrate together in Guangdong with colleagues, rather than the traditional family gatherings.

Many state-owned employers are also trying to “dissuade” employees from travelling, so the mass migration we normally see during Chinese New Year is likely to be less frenetic.

digiLED will encourage staff to take long weekends to go and visit family, as and when the COVID-19 situation allows – they’re lucky as most China companies aren’t able to be so flexible. As the Omicron variant spreads across Asia, China’s “Zero COVID” policy will be tested, especially if it infiltrates the Middle Kingdom and results in restrictions like those we’ve seen recently in Tianjin, Ningbo and Xi’An.

We’ve noticed factories closing earlier this year; several component subcontractors have already closed this week (10th January) and won’t return until 8th February. Consequently, any orders placed with LED manufacturers now will have an effective start date in the middle of February, and with lead times increasing, many orders won’t be completed until early Summer.

With ongoing component shortages, and if we do see further lockdowns, the situation will only get worse. If you are going to need LED displays during 2022, I’d suggest talking with your supplier sooner rather than later!!

Follow Graham on twitter at @_LEDexpert

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Talking LEDs by Tom Mudd

Covering the center-hung gondola at Indiana Pacers in LED

Flat screens are so last decade. This was very much the design philosophy when imagining the geometry of the centre-hung gondola at Indiana Pacers.

The designers requested a solution that not only curved each of the 4 main faces of the gondola but also leant them outwards at a 3 degree bank – all designed to improve the crowd’s screen-view experience.

Curved screens ? Easy ! Leaning screens ? No problem. Challenge number 3 for digiLED though was to ensure that, at the edges, where neighbouring faces of screen met, the maximum amount of corner zone was filled with video-pushing LED surface. This required the design of custom wedge-shaped corner PCBs that became custom corner LED tiles which created the full zone fill of video surface on each and every corner.

Curve, meets bank, meets corner. Easy when you know how !

The Gondola design was 80% complete but what about the last bit ?

Lets put LED INSIDE the Gondola the designers said.

No problem digiLED said.

As you see in the photo, the interior volume of the Gondola was also counter-lined with LED video surface, working in harmony with the geometry of the outer.

“If there is one seat in the house that cannot get a full and immersive screen-feed” said Tom Mudd (me) “I’d be amazed… This is an arena LED solution BUILT for the crowd.”

Photo courtesy of ANC Sports & Events

digiLED complete first “field of play” display in US major league sports for the Indiana Pacers

 

ANC & Pacers Sports and Entertainment

The centre-hung structure features a four-sided gondola, with each face providing a convex curve to optimise wide angle viewing. In addition to the screens, digiLED supplied upper and lower custom-built LED rings, and an ‘underbelly’ screen, which runs the full length and width of the scoreboard giving exceptional views of live action, game replays and statistics from every seat in the house.

Due to viewing angle requirements and building weight restrictions, digiLED’s high performing, lightweight H-TEK product was the perfect choice for this massive display. Many design and production modifications were required to achieve the demanding project requirements.

The scoreboard is complemented by 200 square metres of digiTHIN HD and digiTILE MAX products located in courtside displays, entry tunnels, media rooms, interview rooms, concourse and dining areas.

Thanks to digiLED’s centre-hung screen, fans at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse now enjoy a better field of vision.

ANC & Pacers Sports and Entertainment

Graham Burgess, CEO digiLED, said, “We’re very proud of this installation. We’ve installed digiLED screens at many US venues but this is the first to be the main feature on the field of play. Additionally the centre-hung screen is an incredible technical achievement that uses our unique customisation capabilities to give the fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse a first class view no matter where they’re sitting. The positive feedback from the fans, our partner ANC and their client has been overwhelming”.

“We are proud of our partnership with digiLED and their ability to deliver customised solutions based on our designs,” added George Linardos, CEO, ANC. “The new centre-hung structure is one of the more creative executions on the market; and the fine-pitch LED displays in the premium areas could stand alone in creating a significant wow factor fans will remember”.


James Hensman joins digiLED sales team in new role

James joins digiLED as Sales Manager responsible for new business development and sales within the UK and has previously worked in a variety of different technology areas so comes to digiLED with excellent knowledge of display systems.

digiLED products are installed in all LED screen markets in the UK, including DOOH, corporate, retail stores, educational establishments, house of Worship, leisure facilities, high profile sports venues and arenas. With ever-improving technology, the use of LED in all these areas continues to grow. Bringing over 23 years’ experience assisting AV integrators, James is best placed to offer the support needed for the UK market and will be heading up business development on behalf of digiLED, whilst also expanding into new markets.

“I’ve always been passionate about the industry, in particular large LED screen systems and installations. When I first walked into digiLED’s Pixel Depot, all I could think was WOW, this is so impressive, I want to work for this company one day.” explained James. “digiLED is so well known in the industry for its expertise, knowledge and amazing product range. I am excited to now be a part of such a prestigious company and look forward to learning more about the top-quality solutions digiLED has to offer.”

 


Tawar Mall in Qatar: Three years on and as stunning as ever

In 2018, digiLED were tasked with providing eight outdoor and two indoor LED screens for Tawar Mall. All together, the screens total a massive 840sqm, the largest quantity of LED at any single location in Qatar.

For the eight outdoor displays, digiLED supplied a product that required a total of 13 different customisations to ensure that the client got exactly what they needed. One of the main adjustments digiLED worked on was to enable the screens to function in the harshest of environments in the Middle East; extremely high temperatures of +50°C, intense UV, saline conditions and sandstorms. digiLED customised the product to fit perfectly to the contours of the structure, resulting in a total of 12 bespoke cabinet shapes that sit perfectly on concave, convex and flat walls, with sharp, clean corners enabling the screens to wrap perfectly around the exterior of the building.

We are now three years on, and thanks to a combination of digiLEDs reliable and well engineered screens which allow for fast servicing in the rare event of parts failure, and Dooha Media, who assisted digiLED with installing the screens back in 2018 and have been maintaining these screens for the last three years, this impressive installation is looking better than ever.

 


The Big Picture, by Graham Burgess

Chinese New Year 2022  – the Year of the Tiger

(Though unfortunately not Hull City’s)

The year of the Tiger is the next major celebration in the lunisolar calendar (the traditional Chinese calendar) with New Year’s Day falling on 1st February 2022 according to the western calendar. There are many sources on the web that explain the significance of these events, but I’m here to talk about the way the Lunar New Year impacts upon our industry.

Anyone who has been in China in the days leading up to the Spring Festival holidays cannot fail to have been amazed at the wave of humanity that sweeps across the Middle Kingdom during this time. It is generally accepted that around 600 million people return to their hometown for the celebrations; of course this was a major contributory factor in the spread of Covid 19 early in 2020.

Less well known is the fact that this is a time of life changing decisions in China. Commonly up to 10% of workers will fail to return to their place of work after their family celebrations finish, a significant factor in China’s astonishing “churn” – meaning turnover of workers during the working year. Employee attrition (turnover) averages over 20% per annum, in some industries it is as high as 40%.

When visiting Chinese factories foreigners are often amazed at the size of training facilities in each factory. These spaces are in constant use, needed to educate new workers in the processes and procedures required on the factory floor.

This makes the production of new products immediately after Chinese New Year something of a lottery. QC staff have their work cut out ensuring suitable product quality as new workers are trained to meet the standards required.

This issue is always a good reason to ensure products are ordered for delivery well before the Chinese holiday season; shipping is always backed up during this time so ordering early is crucial to ensure goods are delivered on time.

The shortage of semi-conductors and increasing costs of raw and finished materials, the recently announced power outages (all mentioned in previous posts) compound what is always a difficult time of year.

If you thought we already had problems ahead in the supply chain………prepare yourselves!

Note

In 2022 Chinese New Year Day will be 1st February but travel often starts 7 to 14 days before this, and officially the festival lasts for 15 days. Workers often return after 8 days (8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture). In practise most factories will close between January 31st and February 6th, inclusive, but the disruption due to the holiday period will last up to 50 to 60 days in a normal year.

Follow Graham on twitter at @_LEDexpert

#LEDscreens#AVtweeps #ThePixelDepot #TheLEDScreenExperts #LED #LEDScreens #AV #AVtech #technology #pixel #pixelpitch #thefutureisav#AVtweeps#dailydooh


The Big Picture, by Graham Burgess

Power Outages hit LED production in China

Every year, on October 1st, China celebrates National Day. This is the first day of a week of holidays, sometimes known as Golden Week (Japan also has a Golden Week holiday, but the two are not connected and celebrate different events).

As factories return to work, some today October 7th, but most tomorrow October 8th, more interruptions can be expected. The UK is not the only country with energy issues (which suggests this is not connected to Brexit), problems with power are sweeping across the World.

China has now introduced a “Dual Control of Energy Consumption” policy that will affect manufacturing generally and specifically Shenzhen, Fujian and other major manufacturing hubs. Between now and March 2022, factories are required to adjust their manufacturing schedule to 7 days on and 7 days off, or work for 3 days and close down for 4 days.

This will cause an additional delay in the supply of China manufactured goods and, given the preponderance of LED manufacturers there, in Shenzhen in particular.

With the shortage of semiconductors, the price increase for most raw materials and, consequently, finished goods, coupled with delays in shipping due to Chinese New Year next February I’d say we are in for a rough few months ahead.

Follow Graham on twitter at @_LEDexpert

#LEDscreens#AVtweeps #ThePixelDepot #TheLEDScreenExperts #LED #LEDScreens #AV #AVtech #technology #pixel #pixelpitch #thefutureisav#AVtweeps#dailydooh


Tom Mudd advises on how to bring your digiLED screens out of hibernation

 

Now that most lockdown restrictions have been lifted, most we’d like to share some important advice on how to care for your digiLED screen as it comes out of hibernation.

We trust that your digiLED rental inventory will have been stored in a suitable warehouse and this of course means one where the temperature and humidity don’t fluctuate too wildly.

Temperature and humidity changes can be the #1 enemy of a screen placed in storage (just think of the dew on your car in the morning as the temperature and humidity ramps up from the overnight conditions).

Assuming then that your digiLED screen has been stored in ideal conditions, the next critical thing is how to ‘wake’ the screen safely and gently as it’s first post-Corona job approaches.

The key to this is “Slow and Gentle”. It’s going to take at least 12 hours for you to safely do this before the gig !

Hard to believe but LED manufacturers actually prescribe a warm up procedure for pixels that enables humidity and moisture to be driven out of the pixel plastic – Yes, that’s right, even outdoor screens can gain a small water content in their pixels over long term storage !

To do this (and this bit is critical) power up the screen with no video signal and set the brightness to ~3 %.

Now connect the video signal. Feed the screen pure white. This combined with the 3% level will make the pixels start to glow very very gently.

Leave the screen in this state for at least 6 hours. Then, over the following 6 hours, ramp the brightness up to an eventual value of 30%.

By doing this you will have used the internal warmth of the LED diode junction to slowly expel water from the pixels.

At the end, with your comfortably warm 30% brightness white screen you should have a healthy and happy digiLED product, ready to perform for the next Post-COVID gig that comes your way.

Thank you for helping us to look after your digiLED product together.

We look forward to working together with you all in the new AV world that will emerge. Please do check in regularly on digiLED.com or on our social media for further news and advice in the post Corona era.

Cheers

Tom


Introducing our new Vegas offices and showroom

It’s official!

We’ve signed on the dotted line for our latest office & showroom. Situated only 10 minutes from McCarran Airport, our brand new premises will house the new Las Vegas Pixel Depot showcasing the latest digiLED product range.

Come and visit, we move in on 1st September 2021 we can’t wait to welcome you!

 


The Big Picture, by Graham Burgess

Price Rises in China – the effect of PPI

Commentary from China and the impact on the global LED screen industry

 

In the UK we measure rising prices to the consumer using a method called the Retail Price Index (RPI), this measures the increase in costs of a basket of goods compared to the same month the previous year. Whilst the name changes pretty much every country measures price increases in a similar way.

When we consider the movement of price further down the supply chain we have to use different methods and in China the instrument used for the price of goods exiting  factories is called the Producer Price Index (PPI). This is a fancy word for factory gate price movements.

As a reference the PPI for the whole calendar year of 2020 was -1.8%, so factory gate prices went down pretty much every month.

In May 2021 the PPI, in China,  for one month alone went up by a whopping 9% . This followed an increase of 6.8% in previous months. This figure is the highest since September 2008.

It is common knowledge that there is a world wide shortage of semi conductors, this is not a temporary phenomenon – most experts are predicting this supply problem will last 2, maybe 3 years. This is a key factor in the price increases but it is not the only one:

  • Just this morning a supplier told me that the price of aluminium has gone up by 60%.
  • Smelting and pressing costs for ferrous metals rose 38.1% last year.
  • Extraction costs of petroleum and natural gas have increased 99.1% since the start of 2020
  • Power cuts in Guangdong (the southern province where most LED factories and famous names such as Tencent, Huawei and Foxconn are based) are expected twice weekly for the foreseeable future as coal stocks (used to power 60% of China factories) are dangerously low
  • Average Chinese internal flights costs increased in May by 32.3%

All of this has caused the CPI (China’s version of RPI – Consumer Price Index) to rise by 1.3% year on year in May alone.

In a country where price increases are uncommon, to say the least, the current economic uncertainty is causing much concern.


digiTILE LED screens are on the right track at Penn Station

LED screen experts digiLED worked closely with their North American distributor, design and execution company ANC, to integrate more than 3,000 square feet of digiLED LED screens into the stunning new Moynihan Train Hall in New York City.

The main train hall is dominated by four giant 3.9mm digiTILE MAX LED screens, and a further eight 1.5mm digiTHIN HD LED screens are located in prominent positions throughout the station.

Moynihan Train Hall is part of a major redevelopment of the historic James A. Farley Post Office building, expanding Penn Station in Manhattan. Moynihan serves local train services known as LIRR (Long Island Railroad) and Amtrak, the inter-city rail service on the north-east coast serving the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Wilmington and New York City.

Natural light spills across the new hall, through its massive 92-foot-high skylight ceiling which houses art installations from some of the world’s most celebrated artists. Daylight coming through the glass meant the ANC & digiLED team had to carefully consider the position of the sunrise and sunset timings over Manhattan. During the planning and design phase of the project, the timings and positioning of the sun were evaluated to ascertain where light would fall on the screens at certain points during the day. To ensure it did not affect the viewing of the screens, digiLEDs outdoor louvres provided all the necessary shading to the 4 main LED screen surfaces (digiTILE MAX) overlooking the train hall.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic digiLED’s technical team were unable to travel to assist with the onsite installation, thus meaning a lot of communication had to happen via Zoom, WhatsApp and FaceTime. Tom Mudd, digiLED’s Technical Director, worked remotely from his kitchen on England’s south coast, assisting ANC with onsite programming and commissioning helping to finalise the project. digiLED and ANC were able to complete all aspects of the project on time and to positive public response, despite coronavirus-related challenges.

 

 

‘Our partnership with ANC has produced some amazing installations across professional sports in North America, but this Moynihan project gives digiLED LED screens visibility across New York City and the whole of the northeast of the United States’  Graham Burgess, CEO – digiLED.

‘Transforming Moynihan Train Hall into a premier commuter concourse at the nation’s busiest train station, New York Penn Station, is the perfect example of the unforgettable experiences ANC takes great pride in creating. Through our innovative technologies, along with stunning graphics of the great city of New York designed to promote travel, we were able to create a commuter environment that is both welcoming and engaging’ George Linardos, CEO – ANC.


Our LED Screens Play Part in Award Winning Studio

Fantastic news that FX Group Creative Solutions for Broadcast have won a NewscastStudio award for Best Local Lighting Design. Congratulations and thank you for choosing #digiTHINHD to help with this!

Read more about the project here 

#TheLEDScreenExperts