Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Refreshes Belk Theater Lobby

by Michael Eddy

The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, located in Charlotte, NC, wanted to update its lobby spaces as part of a larger refresh project. They wanted to streamline the theater lobby in a way that would allow guests a seamless experience prior to and during theater performances using digital signage to market upcoming shows and detail concession stand offerings.

Located in a building with many large windows, the Blumenthal PAC needed displays to be bright enough to overcome the ambient light levels from these windows. Even more, they needed displays that could do so consistently, even from wide viewing angles. Additionally, the Blumenthal A/V team sought to install the products themselves, making ease of installation a paramount requirement.

After doing significant research, the Blumenthal A/V team purchased and installed 15 LG Commercial Lite TVs across three floors of the theater lobby to communicate promotional and show information as well as concession stand information. The newly installed digital signage transformed the overall guest experience and provided the ease of communication the theater sought to offer its patrons. As an entry-level display, the LG Commercial Lite TVs offered the solution the Blumenthal needed at a cost-effective price.

With LG’s commercial displays, the Blumenthal PAC now offers guests real-time updates on intermission times, news about upcoming events, and concession offerings, all on dynamic displays that entice and engage theatergoers. LG’s displays provided a more updated theater experience through both their performance and design, matching the beauty of the interior aesthetic. Now, the theater has the ability to display a wide variety of dynamic content, including a livestream of the performance in the lobby so guests can enjoy the show even if they have to step out before an intermission.

Leveraging LG’s guest-centric display technology, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center A/V team was able to enhance the Belk Theater by implementing 47-, 55-, and 60-inch LG Commercial Lite TVs at the main entrance of the theater, the concession stands, and throughout the lobby. By refreshing the theater lobby, the PAC has added a contemporary aesthetic to an environment that now offers a best-in-class guest experience.

Exposed to a brightly-lit environment, the existing lobby displays experienced burn-in and poor brightness. LG’s LED-lit LCD display technology offered a solution that avoided the issues previously faced by the lobby’s environmental circumstances. “The entire front façade of the theater is all glass which means the lobby is beautifully lit by the sun, but that creates a very high ambient light level,” Robert Schoneman, Special Events and Projects Manager, explained. “LG’s displays have eliminated the previous issue of content visibility in this highly lit environment.”

Prior to the renovation, the theater often made use of static print signage, which was limited in the amount and type of content that could be displayed, as well as its visual appeal. The displays also replaced DVD players in the lobby that were previously used to present promotional content. “Our marketing team is able to save a huge amount of time and know that with all 1080p displays their content will look consistent,” noted Schoneman. With LG displays, the theater is now able to update bar inventory and pricing at the concession stand in real-time, which has reduced wait time for guests allowing them to enjoy more of the show instead of standing in line.

Most of all, the theater’s senior management was impressed by the clean and sleek artistic accent the digital displays have added in addition to meeting all of the lobby space requirements. “One thing that was very important was the physical look of the displays, a lot of commercial displays don’t look nice and don’t fit into the aesthetic of our lobby space. The fact that the LG displays were beautiful looking and had good quality audio as well as having all of the features we needed was paramount,” noted Schoneman. Adding LG displays technology that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of end users allowed the theater to incorporate consistent displays that would be compatible with future generations should they look to expand in the future.

While integrators play a major role in the commercial A/V industry, not every installation project has the time, resources, or need for a professional integrator. By purchasing displays that were simple to mount with control sets that were easy to integrate into the Belk Theater’s existing control system, the Blumenthal A/V team was able to complete the entire installation project on their own in just one week’s time. “A significant challenge we faced was time and resources—our installation window was very short,” says Schoneman. “Something extremely important on this project was the fact that our team was able to do the install and programming in-house. The controls and commands of these displays are exposed through the RS-232 control set, which was really an asset to us because we were able to program the controls, set the display brightness and the appearance of the displays all remotely – this ensured overall picture quality consistency across every display.”

After installing LG’s Commercial Lite TVs, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center has redefined the experience for theatergoers as they visit the best performing arts events in Charlotte and the Carolinas. “The switch to the LG product and HD content has been a significant improvement to the theater experience for patrons. And being able to use these displays really saved us a lot of money and actually enabled us to add more displays then we had originally planned on.”

Further information from LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc.: http://www.lg.com/us