STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 34
"We needed to
figure out how to
from the moment
customers walk in."
- Jeff Weiss, Dave & Buster's
multiple-monitor wall, but there are some
challenges. The problem has centered
around the bezel, the frame around each
monitor. The first walls had bezels about
7.3 millimeters wide. While viewers might
not notice if they were engrossed in the
programming, the wide frames made it
easy to distinguish each monitor and see
nine images rather than just one.
Over the years bezels have shrunk to
1.8 millimeters, which creates a more
uniform image on the wall but can also
lead to problems. "The bezel is there to
protect the screen and when you reduce
it there can be issues if the wall is jostled
around during installation," Hardy says.
"There are lots of specific procedures in
place to put one up, which is why
it's critical to have the installation
completed by professionals who have
Indoor video walls commonly use
LCD panels, since customers are going
to be relatively close and LCD's smaller
pixel pitch (which creates a denser
image) lets them view the screens with
little distortion from a short distance.
LED panels are less expensive because
pixel pitch is wider, but viewed from a
distance, such as at a stadium or from
a highway billboard, the distortion is
STORES September 2017
INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE
Dave & Buster's began installing
the video walls as part of each store's
scheduled remodeling; about 60 currently
have them. The two-day installation
process begins with making sure the
mounting wall has proper space and
wiring, as well as ventilation.
"As electronic devices, the monitors will
produce heat, so location of the wall does
require some evaluation," Hardy says. "If
they're placed in the corner of a room they
may have issues and parts will burn out.
They need some air circulation to cool
For new stores being built, the monitors
are built into the wall with a frame that
goes around the entire video image. "It
really gives it a custom look, as opposed
to monitors attached to a frame that's
attached to the wall," Weiss says.
The toughest facet of having a video
wall is calibrating all nine screens on units
that are running 24/7. Over time, images
created by each monitor can vary, with
some darkening and others changing hue.
The result is a video wall that looks simply
like nine poor TVs mounted on a wall.
"It's critical to have the monitors
calibrated at least twice a year," Hardy
says. "If the calibration is poor, it takes
away from the video wall effect."
Another issue that can crop up is a
broken monitor. The monitor panels
themselves are relatively easy to pop in and
out, but a newer monitor may not calibrate
well with older ones. And perhaps more
importantly, the bezels may not match.
"Even if the bezel size is just slightly
different, it's noticeable when it's up on the
wall," Weiss says. "So far, though, NEC
has been a big help in finding refurbished
units for us, or finding a model that's so
close you don't notice."
Unlike a regular TV, these types
of commercial monitors can notify
the system controller when there's a
malfunction. "If a ball hits a screen and
knocks it out, the network can recognize
the issue," says Hardy.
"It's also monitoring the screen
temperatures. Generally, the screen in
the top middle is most vulnerable to heat
failures since it's boxed in by the others
and heat rises into it, so if it starts getting
too warm it lets the technician know."
Dave & Buster's sends out
programming from a central media
hub at headquarters to each location.
What's displayed is a melange of clips
showing the games inside and people
having fun. There's also a component
that gives stores a section of the
programming to display local events
and fan messages.
"Ideally, even someone who walks
by a Dave & Buster's will see the video
wall," Weiss says. "It shows who we are
even if you didn't plan on coming in."
Next for the Dave Buster's screens
may be to make them more connected.
"We're talking about integrating them
with social media and using them
to connect guests at other Dave &
Buster's," Weiss says.
"What if on New Year's Eve you
could watch what's going on in the
store in Times Square, then switch to
other locations? It would make you
feel like you're at the biggest party in
John Morell is a Los Angeles-based writer who
has covered retail and business topics for a
number of publications around the world.