In legendary record producer Clive Davis’ vacation home, his old home theater system was not working consistently — and it was out of sync with the sleek, modern aesthetic of his Westchester County, New York property. Davis needed a solution that was dependable, easy to operate and provided the kind of next-level entertainment experience his VIP guests are accustomed to.
“The results are spectacular: high definition, clarity, and tremendous advantages over the system that was here before.”
- Clive Davis, legendary record producer
Clive Davis is known as the record industry’s most innovative, outspoken and influential executive. He launched the careers of several household name musicians, including Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith and Kenny G, and played key roles in the success of countless others, such as Aretha Franklin, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and Notorious B.I.G. The five-time Grammy winner was president of Columbia Records before founding his own record company Arista Records and, later, J Records. In 2000, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the only non-performer. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently resides in Manhattan.
Upscaling a 35-year-old home theater
Clive Davis, the award-winning record producer who launched the music careers of Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin and countless others, has maintained a vacation residence in Westchester County, New York for more than 35 years. When he decided to build a guesthouse on the property, he knew he wanted to install a home theater where he could entertain guests in style.
For years, a projector system in the theater did the job. Upon installation, it was among the most state-of-the-art technology on the market, but now that 4K is ubiquitous, the projector seemed antiquated. The lack of true, deep blacks, vivid color and sharp, high-contrast images made it difficult to see the screen in bright lighting conditions.
Over the years, the projector had also become unreliable. On several occasions, Davis had to enlist the help of his AV team, led by Ernie Wohlleben of Architechnology Designs, to fix the projector.
“Several things had to happen for the projector screen to come down, and it could take up to 20 minutes before he could start watching a movie,” Wohlleben says. “This was extremely inconvenient when Mr. Davis was trying to entertain guests.”
In the early days of LED, the technology was reserved for massive digital billboards, sports stadiums, event centers and the like. Then it became common among restaurants, retailers, hotels, cruise ships and casinos and eventually filtered down to small businesses. Now, LED screens are available for purchase at any neighborhood box store.
A music mogul like Clive Davis, however, needed a more substantial theater setup than an off-the-shelf TV. Davis wanted a theater upgrade that better reflected a life and career dedicated to entertainment — one where he could relax and watch a Yankees game or invite friends and family to screen the latest blockbuster movie.
Samsung's The Wall takes center stage
Davis entrusted Architechnology Designs to find an appropriate solution — something modern, aesthetically pleasing and easy to operate. As a trusted AV supplier to many executive and celebrity clients, it’s Wohlleben’s job to stay abreast of technological innovation, and he knew The Wall was the simple-yet-sophisticated solution that Davis needed.
The Architechnology and Samsung installation teams worked together to remove the projector and redesign his home theater to fit the new technology. Since The Wall can be manufactured in any size or shape configuration, it was able to fit exactly where the projector sat — minus the bulky fans and external operating systems.
The centerpiece of the theater is now The Wall, Samsung’s modular, large-format microLED offering. Individual sections are mounted to a custom, Samsung-designed frame that prevents any gaps in the picture and simplifies the installation process. The team also constructed custom niches for speakers to the left and right of the screen, completing the immersive viewing experience Davis was looking for.
Chris Mertens, vice president of sales for Samsung Electronics America Display Division, says Samsung developed The Wall to provide a viewing experience that was “better than what you would see and feel in a theater environment.” He adds, “It brings an immersive experience to the home.”
The Wall’s ultra-low-reflection Black Seal technology delivers unparalleled contrast and detail. It also boasts two times superior color purity and a wider color gamut than conventional LED displays. Optimum peak brightness and ultra-accurate grayscale expression solved the exterior light problem, providing a completely immersive, theater-grade experience for Davis’ guests.
As Wohlleben looked at other ways to improve the guesthome, he spotted an outdated 13-inch TV next to the kitchen. Not only was it small, but it was hard to see from the dining area.
The team upgraded to Samsung’s The Frame TV. This sleek 4K display doubles as both a TV screen and art gallery, and can be customized with different styles and colors of frames.
Power on an awe-inspiring viewing experience with The Wall All-in-One. Black Seal technology delivers deep, pure blacks, while Ultra Chroma technology and microLEDs ensure color purity and uniformity across the display. Pre-assembled docking plates and preset modules allows for faster installation.
Switch between a personal art exhibit and TV — all with virtually no light reflection — on Samsung’s Frame TV. The QLED 4K Smart TV can display a billion shades of brilliant color.
An iconic product for an iconic record producer
When guests enter the theater, eyes are immediately drawn to The Wall’s sleek design and thin profile. Most importantly, when it’s time to watch a movie, concert or big game, guests don’t have to wait for the projector to warm up.
“I can’t even remember the last time our team got a call at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night because he or his guests were unable to watch a movie — that used to be a regular thing,” Wohlleben says.
Davis’ No. 1 request was that the system be easy to operate. Now, he can control the theater either via tablet or remote control.
“It works just like a TV; it turns on with the touch of a button,” Wohlleben says. “There’s no warming up, no cycling, no sequencing of events. The end experience is just so much more enjoyable.”
The Wall’s ease of operation makes it an attractive solution to the luxury home LED market. For Davis, it provides the kind of customized, over-the-top experience his guests expect.
In the kitchen, Davis displays his art collection on The Frame TV. Now, guests can watch their favorite shows or concerts from the kitchen table with clear views of the screen. They can also upload their own content, such as photos or videos, or view artwork from renowned museums via a subscription service. When The Frame is in “art mode,” a casual observer might not even realize it’s a TV.
Davis gets a lot of use from his new video wall home theater system and says the results exceeded his expectations.
“I use it every weekend,” Davis says. “The results are spectacular: high definition, clarity and tremendous advantages over the system that was here before. On nights when I have a big party, people crowd in, and I’ve had as many as 80 people in the theater. I enjoy it thoroughly.”