LED Display in Coldplay Video

Bobby H

Member
Don't know how many in this forum deal with LED-based electronic message centers. But the Coldplay music video for "Speed of Sound" is really pretty cool for the huge RGB LED display that seems to resemble a big curved and louvered CinemaScope screen. The whole video almost seems like a showcase for selling LED sign technology. The new issue of Sign of the Times has a write up about the display. A company based in Austin, TX put together the system.
 
We have two sets of single color LED displays coming in next week for installation. I don't think that until recently that prices have come down enough for the cheap people in our area to consider installing them. One is going to a high school, and another is going to a furniture store thats doing their third expansion in as many years. And we are trying to push through a couple more too.

A question, for anyone that is installing LED displays, what brand are you using?? We have installed a Daktronics and another brand at Walgreens stores, both sent from Flouresco. The ones we have coming in next week are Optecs.
 

Bobby H

Member
We used to sell a lot of Time-O-Matic message centers, and did so for a long time until a critical point where the company screwed up and lost our business. They refused to go by any kind of dealership program model. We had a competitor selling the units at cost, with no markup, just to get the rest of a sign job. It's a pretty sad thing when you see an electronic message center get installed under a cheap, POS sign cabinet.

After the Time-O-Matic fiasco, we started selling Adaptive & McKay units. For high end full video solutions, we're using Barco. Adaptive Displays is getting their own full motion video products ready, so that will be good.

Daktronics makes some really great products. I was very impressed with their booth at the ISA show this past April in Las Vegas. However, I don't feel comfortable in selling their products because Dak has a habit of going around the backs of sign companies and selling direct to customers. They don't strictly adhere to a dealer program. If they did, we would probably sell lots more of their stuff.

Others not familiar with the issue of message centers may ask, "why does someone need to pay a middle man in a sign company for a message center?" There are several reasons. First, the message center normally has to be incorporated into an overall sign package. You're not just going to stick what amounts to a giant TV set by itself up on a pole. Message centers have installation and service issues. It's better to deal with a qualified company close by who can service that expensive product immediately. Customers have to be trained how to use the product. We do that. On top of that, we work in extra warranty deals above what the message center manufacturer offers. With all of those factors, the markup is justifiable. If a sign company cannot get any markup on a message center product then the message center product is not worth carrying at all. You're not going to get enough profit from other sign work in the package to cover what happens with the message centers. Technical problems can happen often. If you sell a message center at cost you're cutting your throat financially.
 

skyhigh

New Member
Refresh This Thread

I will be installing a couple of the LED message boards in a few weeks, and was curious as to what company's were the best to deal with. My sign supplier recommended Voltek(sp) and a fellow sign shop recommended Time-o-matic. After speaking with both, I opted for the TOM (watchfire).
 

Bobby H

Member
Time-O-Matic makes a pretty decent product. Their booth at last April's ISA show wasn't as impressive as the Daktronics booth, but still they're a decent company. Just make sure you don't have other competitors in your area who may underbid you and give the message center away at cost. I don't know if Time-O-Matic has reversed their policies. I just very much prefer an authorized dealer type of arrangement.

Regardless of what message center product you sell, you need to get very familiar with it and immediately learn the software. Count on customers needing quite a bit of help. If you can't answer their questions then you'll be digging quite a hole for yourself. Same goes for installation and hardware issues.

Voltek? I'm not sure about that company name. Do you mean Voltarc?
 

skyhigh

New Member
Sorry.... yes that is the Optronics by VOLTARC. Quite costly, compared to the TOM's.

The main reason I went with TOM was the recommendation of a local sign shop, and the fact that he had a couple in the area for me to actually see.
 
We recently finished, and are currently installing two different Optec Displays, nice units, these are single color not the full color beauties that you find in larger areas though.
 
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