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Installation Profile: Dawn of the Giants

Dec 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

Panasonic’s 103in. plasma displays grab attention at major facilities.


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Calibrating four 103in. displays for Pechanga Resort and Casino’s poker room in Temecula, Calif., proved to be the easiest part of the installation; lifting the nearly 500lb. 103in. plasmas and mounting them securely on the walls was the hard part.

DISPLAY IN THE GAMING SPACE

Another venue in which to track the trail of these giants is the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. The resort now boasts five Panasonic 103in screens — four among the 16 NEC displays around the perimeter of the casino's main poker room and the fifth adorning one of the resort's restaurants.

“We originally had some 5000-lumen projectors in the poker room,” says Rod Luck, vice present of information technology at Pechanga Resort & Casino. “We wanted to use them to show sports presentations for the entertainment of our guests, but the high ambient light needed in the gaming table areas washed out their 8'×6' screens. It was the brightness and contrast ratio of the TH-103PF9UK 103in. plasmas that induced us to turn to the Panasonic displays as a replacement. After all, they are pretty close to the size of the projection screens we had been trying to use before.”

About a year ago, executives from the Pechanga resort had seen these 103in. plasmas demonstrated at Disneyland in nearby Anaheim, Calif., and they walked away impressed. Installation in the poker room began last March, and the first challenge they ran into was simply finding a way to lift the monster screens into place.

“Eventually, we had to fabricate our own lifting jig since the top of the screen was going to be about 12ft. off the ground,” says Rick Gonzales, telecomm and audiovisual manager at Pechanga. “At almost 500lbs. apiece, you can't just use two guys and a ladder. So we used some square boxed-steel tubes to make two scissor lifts working in unison that could elevate the screens safely.”

The Pechanga crew had already mounted four horizontal beams of Unistrut, approximately 6ft. across, directly to the wall studs in the poker room. Then, once they got the screens up in the air, each screen's mounting brackets could be affixed to the Unistrut and its vertical load locked into place.

To give a video signal and AC power to the Panasonic displays, Gonzales' team simply added a 20ft. extension to the wires and Cat-5 cables that had previously fed the projection systems. Calibrating the displays proved to be the easiest part of the installation.

“It was really plug-and-play,” Gonzales says. “The factory settings for every color parameter were perfect. We started receiving compliments about these screens even as we were hanging them. Once the word got out, people came into the poker room just to see them. The quality of these displays is a suitable reflection of the quality we want guests to experience whenever they visit the Pechanga Casino and Resort.”

With apologies to the Bard, modern audiences are starting to appreciate that “display's the thing.” The success of Panasonic's 103in. TH-103PF9UK in these types of facilities and several others has demonstrated that outsized plasma screens have a great deal of potential for the permanent-installation industry. No doubt, other screen manufacturers are taking notice.


Jay Ankeney is an industry consultant and former TV network engineer living in the Los Angeles area.



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