WGBH's iconic mural powered by  MediaVue

Daily Entertainment Delights Commuters

WGBH, a Boston public media company with popular television and radio stations, was founded with a mission to provide services that educate, inspire, and entertain. They imagined their new headquarters to be in line with this. 

They commissioned a giant digital mural, powered by MediaVue Systems, to be built into the face of WGBH Headquarters. It is updated every day by their content team and is seen by more than 500,000 travelers per week on Route I-90, an arterial highway of the city.

The Challenge

The original idea was to have images across the entirety of the building. The display itself is a single large surface (SLS) screen, along with 12 vertically-oriented “slivers.” This digital mural wraps around the exterior of the building and extends down the long side of the media company’s studios and offices. The content needed to compensate for the huge gaps between the slivers and look cohesive while spanning the display. 

The mural is near a residential neighborhood so WGBH wanted to alter the content at nighttime to avoid light disruption to the residents, and quickly change the content in the morning to be seen by commuters. As this was so visible, it was important to ensure the system was protected against downtime, as failed displays would be costly and disruptive to WGBH’s public awareness efforts. 

Embedded in the exterior wall of WGBH’s studios is a Boston landmark: a digital mural designed to brighten the ride for commuters with a theme of the day that provokes thought, inspires curiosity, and reflects the content and values of public media. 

The Solution

MediaVue Systems worked with integrator, Imperatives, Inc., to develop a custom software image to play content on all 13 parts of the mural. It is designed to flow seamlessly from one strip display to the next, filling out the full 6112 x 672 pixel SLS content space. The daily-changing content is created by WGBH’s in-house communications team, which manages the content selection process. 

The SureVue D4 media player is designed to control multiple screens at highest-resolution performance. The Phalanx Thermal Defense™ (advanced fan array in the player) is designed to keep the player cool 24/7 under the demand of the heavy content load. Two SureVue D4s were configured in parallel to protect strongly against the possibility of player-related downtime.

Hardware:

30’ x 45’ SLS screen

12 vertical sliver screens

2 SureVue D4 players

Software:

MVOS

Industry Weapon CMS

Signal extenders and carefully measured cable lengths allowed the irregularly spaced screens to receive signals from the centrally- located player. It is powered partially by solar panels located on the roof of the studios. 

WGBH mural’s content is set up to shift to a starry night sky at 8 p.m. and stay on all night until the content is refreshed in the morning in time for commuter traffic. New images appear on the screen at 6:30 a.m. daily. WGBH chooses to never display more than three still images over a 30-second time frame to minimize distraction. More details on the images are posted daily on their website.

The Result

This innovative digital mural is the first of its kind in the city of Boston. Since 2007, WGBH’s digital mural has been seen by millions of passersby and has successfully displayed over 10,000 images. The site has become a Boston Landmark. 

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