PixelFlex LED video display technology accents the whole home audio experience for Sonos

Oct. 12, 2016
Founded in 2002, Sonos was created to fill every home with music, and the whole home audio system is now sold in more than 60 countries, through thousands of retailers, custom installers and audio/video specialty stores. With its recent decision to open a retail location of its own in New York City, General Manager of Stores Whitney Walker was asked to oversee the creation of a unique listening experience in which customers could discover Sonos just as they would in the comfort of a friend’s home. Needing a finishing accent for the downstairs lounge, Walker called upon Rethink Innovations to help create a warm and engaging 30-foot fireplace display, and they did so using FLEXLite 6.9mm LED video display technology from Nashville-based PixelFlex.

“Our objective for the Sonos flagship retail location was to build the best place for someone to discover and fall in love with whole home audio,” began Walker. “While that may seem simple, it’s really not because the level of education people have with the product varies widely, so we had to achieve the highest standard for product demonstrations. In the store there are seven different home-like listening rooms and a lounge downstairs where we wanted a warm, gallery-like setting. In the lounge, we needed a design feature that would enhance the space and give it a relaxing vibe. We found our solution in a LED video wall fireplace that adds dynamism and warmth to the store.”

Built on the importance of meeting the needs of every client, FLEXLite LED from PixelFlex is one of the highest resolution and curve-able LED displays on the market; capable of a 15-degree curve in any direction. With its bright, dense display and high refresh rate, FLEXLite LED video tiles are calibrated directly out of the box to help decrease failure and insure perfect color and brightness, plus its preview test button allows for easy viewing of signal and power connections.

Walker continued, “The original design sketches had an actual gas fireplace but the feature needed to be behind a glass enclosure so the solution quickly switched to LED video. From previous work, we knew Rethink Innovations had experience in this area of design so we reached out to them and began building a full scale prototype of the store out in California.”

“After meeting with the team at Sonos we knew they wanted to create a unique and cohesive LED video experience, but we had to be aware of heat-load issues based upon how the system would be installed,” explained Eric Christoffersen, Managing Partner Rethink Innovations. “When we started to look at what technology would make the design a success, we knew that if we turned the FLEXLite LED panels 90 degrees we could achieve the linear fireplace experience with no separation of the content and no heat issues whatsoever. To do this, we used eight of the FLEXLite LED video panels to create the immense 30-foot fireplace and it looks great.”

Walker added, “While we were building the design prototype, we were looking at a few LED manufacturers, and PixelFlex actually sent demo gear and a technician to show us what their technology could do. That really was the deciding factor. They genuinely seemed to care about the retail design experience, and their willingness to work within our design process was exceptional.”

With the prototype store design complete, it was now time to turn their attention to SoHo where the flagship Sonos retail experience would come to life on 101 Greene Street.

“We knew it would be a little tricky to connect the LED panels together because there was no rear access to the unit,” explained Christoffersen. “To gain access, we had to cut small openings behind the wall to slip our arms through which allowed us to then quickly tie the panels together. For the content, we then used the BrightSign player which was running the other visual displays throughout the store and a PixelFlex SU401 sending unit to easily load the fire onto the LED wall. Working with a PixelFlex engineer, I was then able to fine tweak the final display and the system works great.”

“Once it was complete there was a tremendous sense of pride in the overall design from everyone involved,” admitted Walker. “In retail it is often difficult to get customers to move from the ground floor to a second level, and I am surprised at how many people want to visit the downstairs lounge. We were initially worried that it may not get the foot traffic to justify the expenditure, but on the contrary it has been a wonderful success with the LED fireplace being a visually engaging finishing accent that helps us convey the experience of a Sonos whole-home audio lifestyle.”

On July 19, 2016, the Sonos flagship retail location opened its doors at 101 Greene Street, and the consumer response has been outstanding. Seeing the first-hand effects of the LED video display in a retail environment, Walker is confident that while the technology may be new to some retail designers, it certainly won’t be for long.

“I really think we are still in the early stages of seeing the true impact of LED video digital signage in the retail environment,” concluded Walker. “Right now a lot of designers want to approach it from a visual communications perspective, but in our design we embraced it as an artistic choice. Seeing the Sonos store in operation now for a little over two months, I think we nailed it with people wanting to spend time in the store whether it’s in the listening rooms or the downstairs lounge. Seeing the actual customer response to the video fireplace is gratifying.”

An American-based LED manufacturer, PixelFlex offers creative solutions, reliable products, and dependable service for our industry-leading LED display technologies and solutions. Driven towards excellence to meet your standards, PixelFlex offers a one-of-a-kind design for your tour, event or installation through our award-winning line of LED video walls and video screens. Working with architects, designers, engineers and consultants, PixelFlex is proud to develop custom LED solutions for each and every customer while also providing top-tier customer support throughout the entire experience. For more information on the complete line of PixelFlex LED video walls and video screens, visit PixelFlex at pixelflexled.com, follow us on Twitter at @pixelflexled or find us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.


David Venus - PixelFlex
+1 615.457.3540