Fiber Supports High-Res LED at Vancouver Sports Complex
Jun 14, 2006 4:40 PM
Lightvision Media, Canada’s largest outdoor digital signage advertising network, is using the Pure Digital Fiberlink 7220 series from Communications Specialties to transmit high-resolution video to the LED screen outside BC Place Stadium—one of Vancouver’s premier sports and entertainment complexes, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.
Founded in 1999 in Vancouver, B.C, Lightvision Media owns and operates 10 outdoor, full-motion video billboards across multiple Canadian provinces. The company’s 10 state-of-the-art LED screens are strategically placed in high-traffic areas throughout western Canada, delivering more than 20 million impressions monthly from passing motorists and pedestrians. Advertisers typically purchase schedules to run a 10-second ad that airs as part of a 90-second continuous loop, with each ad airing at least 760 times each day.
Lightvision’s largest screen is located between the hockey and football stadiums at BC Place—host to more than 200 events per year. Manufactured by Lighthouse Technologies, the LED screen is 30’x20’ with 20mm pixel spacing and a full-motion, vivid color, ultra-high-resolution video display.
Like all of the screens in the network, the BC Place screen receives its video feed and is operated from Lightvision’s head office in Vancouver. There, an RFTP server is regularly updated with information, schedules, and video spots. At regular intervals throughout the day, each screen location automatically logs into the server and downloads the most current content and schedule information. Automated monitoring and remote login capability also allows Lightvision employees working at the head office to check the status of any player or actively modify its playback schedule over high-speed Internet connections.
“The BC Stadium screen,” explains Mark Spevakow, vice president of technology and founder of Lightvision Media, ” is different from most of our other screens in that its location allowed us to locate the screen’s video players within the actual stadium, located only 500ft. away, inside an air-conditioned control room. Many of our screens are located on highways, in locations that are not within a reasonable proximity to a building where the video players can be housed. In those cases, the players need to be mounted directly behind the screens, in a less-than-ideal environment. However, in the case of the BC Stadium screen, we were able to make use of the stadium itself. Our challenge was to find a reliable method to transmit the high-resolution video over a 500ft. span of multimode fiber, linking the video player to the screen.
“Initially, we tried other products that weren’t plug and play, and they just didn’t work properly,” explains Spevakow. “But, with the Pure Digital Fiberlink system, the exact opposite happened. It arrived within a day of ordering, and the inputs/outputs were exactly what we needed. We took it to the stadium, plugged it in, and right away, everything worked perfectly. There were absolutely no issues. Installation took 15 minutes, and it’s been running great for several months now. The picture quality is very good, and there’s no degradation of the image whatsoever.”
The video processor that provides the feed to Lightvision’s outdoor network operates at a 640x480, non-interlaced resolution, although the Pure Digital Fiberlink 7220 series has the ability to support resolutions up to 1280x1024 and transmit stereo audio over the same single fiber. Spevakow explains that one of Lightvision’s outdoor signs actually does incorporate audio, although not the BC Stadium location where the Pure Digital Fiberlink system is currently being used.
Lightvision has a contract to operate the BC Place sign for the next 10 years. During that period, both the football and hockey stadiums located on site will be official 2010 Olympic venues, and the screen will be used to broadcast a live feed from the events. “I have every reason to expect that the Pure Digital Fiberlink system will still be up and running for us then,” says Spevakow.
As for the future, Lightvision plans to expand its network, with additional screens being added every year. “Our immediate goal is to have 15 screens installed and go upwards from there,” Spevakow elaborates. “We’re very proud to be the largest network in Canada, and if you factor in that we can run full-motion video, which most companies can’t do, we may be the largest in North America. If any of those future locations allow for a remotely located control room, similar to BC Place, then the Pure Digital Fiberlink system will certainly be part of the installation.
“When we started out, we were ahead of the technology. Now the technology has caught up to us.”
For more information, visit www.commspecial.com.
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