The commercial AV and residential AV spaces keep getting closer. Although there are some who keep to the ideas of these worlds being “non-overlapping magisteria”—if I may borrow a phrase from Stephen Jay Gould—the market keeps telling us otherwise. It’s one of the main reasons why we have Commercial Integrator Expo collocating with CEDIA Expo this year.I also experienced that reality firsthand when my fellow technology journalists and I visited the home theater of music industry legend Clive Davis.
I’m not easily starstruck, but, I must admit, as my Uber drove up the gravel road to iconic producer Clive Davis’ guesthouse, I felt awed. This, after all, is the person who discovered Whitney Houston, someone whom I consider the greatest voice of her generation. And she’s just one jewel in his immaculate crown.
And while the other members of the pres and I were there, we got to check out the crown jewel of Davis’ home theater: Samsung’s The Wall.
Clive Davis’ Crown Jewel: Samsung’s The Wall
Yes. The Wall, a microLED display that, more typically, we might see in showpiece corporate environments, high-end retail, government facilities and other commercial spaces, sitting there in a home theater.
But for a home theater that has hosted Aretha Franklin, Patti LuPone, Alicia Keys and other music royalty, Davis wasn’t of a mind to compromise on quality. Chatting with the assembled media for 20 minutes, Davis mentioned that he loves to play host on Memorial Day weekend, and, that Saturday Samsung’s The WALLnight, his friends pack his home theater to the gills.
In fact, Davis said, he’s had as many as 84 people in there, with celebrities sometimes sitting in the aisles just to secure their spot. Ever the good host, Davis wants to make sure they’re dazzled by whatever they’re watching.
“What was here before was adequate,” Davis recalled. But for a music producer who boasts five GRAMMY Awards, adequate simply wasn’t enough. “I really wanted the best,” he declared.
Thus, Davis contracted with Ernie Wohlleben, founder and president of Architech Designs, to bring The Wall beyond commercial environments and into his home theater.
Although Davis admitted he’s not up on how all the magic happens, he praised “…the high definition, the clarity [and] all the amazing things that Samsung has brought into this system.” Beyond his own satisfaction, though, Davis takes special pleasure in the affirmation he’s gotten from his friends — stars of stage and screen who have impeccably high standards.
“Ever since we put this in, they’ve all been dazzled,” he said happily. “It’s a great feeling as the host.”
A Landmark Installation by a Renowned Team
The team from Architech Designs integrated Samsung’s The Wall into Davis’ home theater during the pandemic, in late 2020/early 2021. (You can check out images of the final product over in our article where we uncover about how Architech Designs went about installing The Wall.)
Wohlleben emphasized the benefit of the microLED display’s immediate activation, saying that, unlike with projection-based solutions, no warm-up time is necessary. (If Tyler Perry was sitting in your home theater, you might also think waiting 30 seconds for a projector to warm up feels like waiting 30 minutes!)
The 4K-resolution display measures 146 inches, with an ultra-tight 0.8mm pixel pitch. Thus, even when Davis isn’t hosting A-listers, he gets an immersive viewing experience. “There’s nothing like watching boxing, tennis,” he said. “I mean, you’re there.”
As Samsung continues to lead the push for LED market adoption in both commercial environments and premium residential spaces like Davis’ home theater, we’ll likely see further blurring of the lines between custom and commercial. And with prices continuing to drop, LED could, in a sense, act as a unifying force, bringing these worlds closer together.
Another version of this article originally appeared on our sister site Commercial Integrator 05.10.23. It has since been updated for CE Pro audiences.
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