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The new Sony Style/Comcast Labs store

I know it’s rare that Philadelphia gets to be in the spotlight of the tech world but when you have the largest cable company in the country in your home town, sometimes things work out.  When I heard that Sony and Comcast were opening a new showcase store in the Comcast Center, I figured I had to check it out.  So here’s the scoop!  All the pictures in the post are linked to full size images in the below gallery.  Check out the full size pics – most of the pictures are landscape, and they look funny when viewed in their compressed state in the post.

Comcast TowerThe Comcast Tower itself is an imposing site.  It’s the first LEED-certified office tower in Philadelphia and is currently the tallest building in the city.

Inside are two really cool things.

Comcast Sculpture 1

Comcast Sculpture 2

The first is a giant sculpture called Humanity in Motion by world-renowned artist and sculptor Jonathan Borofsk.  It features a series of life-sized statues of people moving across the vast space that is the interior entryway of the Comcast Center.  The sheer size of the interior is hard to capture on film – I was craning my camera almost to vertical to capture these images.

The second is the Comcast Experience, which is the largest four-millimeter LED screen in the world.

Comcast Screen 1Spanning 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high, the 2,100 square foot video wall brings spectacular original programming to visitors 18 hours a day.  The images have to be seen to be believed.  The pictures don’t really capture how high resolution the screen really is.

Comcast Screen 2Comcast projected the Obama inauguration on this thing – apparently it was like being there (except warm).  If you’re ever in the city, definately check it out.  OK enough filler – lets get to the meat!

Here’s the main signage for the Sony Style/Comcast Labs store.  Pretty impressive right?

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Unfortunately, that sign is located in the middle of the store (which is basically a hallway with a cul-de-sac where Sony set up some stuff.  The Sony Style/Comcast Labs experience is, to put it mildly, underwhelming.  There’s a Sony Style store in nearby King of Prussia (home of the second largest mall in the country) which is much more interesting.  This “showcase” feels really small in comparison.

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I’m pretty sure I missed a part of the store that’s off to the right of the picture above.  There’s no real “layout” to the store, so I’m going to excuse myself for that oversight – I think a lot of people will end up missing it.

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The picture above is where you first gaze upon the store – you come down the stairs into the entrance to the Food Court and off on your right is Sony Style.  There’s not really any big signage to indicate that this is there.  Instead of something really fancy to draw the eye, you walk down into a display of…

p1010910cameras.  Yea, I know – thrilling, right?  There are some other gizmos and geegaws, plus an area to try out the various VAIOs.  Check out the VAIO-P – that thing is totally cool.  And tiny!

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My son is a tad over 4 ft tall.  His hands look normal sized against that keyboard.  And the screen resolution is actually not bad at all.

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Finally, there’s a section dedicated to the PS3.  Nothing special to write home about here either.

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All in all, we were through the place in about 10 minutes, and that was with taking pictures.  I can’t see how it can host more than a small handful of customers – the lunch crowd at the Food Court would probably overwhelm the staff.  I’d post more pictures but about this time was when the nice employee came over to tell me that photos aren’t really encouraged.  Oops.

And I checked out the DOCSIS 3.0 connected laptops.  Yes, they’re fast but not so fast that I was in awe.  It’s about equivalent to being on a hardwire network connection.  I’m wondering if they hadn’t really turned that on yet because the place just opened on Tuesday.  I’m hoping it will evolve over time and become more of an “experience” but I’m not holding my breath.

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