Jan 27, 2014

"How the Dallas Cowboys Scoreboard Works"

Interesting article from HowStuffWorks.com about the giant video scoreboard in Dallas.

Some notes:

  • The display cost the Dallas Cowboys $40 million. Mitsubishi designed and built the screens.
  • The scoreboard has four screens. Two gigantic screens face the end zones. They measure 29 feet (8.8 meters) high and 51 feet (15.5 meters) wide. The other two screens are even more massive and face the sidelines. These monstrosities measure 72 feet (21.9 meters) high and 160 feet (48.8 meters) wide. Together, all four screens create 25,000 square feet (about 2,323 square meters) of displays.
  • The sideline displays are so wide that they stretch from one 20-yard line to the other. 
  • The combined weight of the four screens is 600 tons. A 72-foot tall (21.9 meter) steel support system carries the weight. The support has 10 levels of catwalks that allow engineers access to the displays for maintenance. Steel cables 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter tether the displays to the stadium's pair of steel arches.
  • As if suspending a 600-ton display wasn't enough, the steel framework suspended from the ceiling of the stadium can also support a 90,000 pound (40,823 kilogram) basketball arena scoreboard.
  • The screen at the Dallas Cowboys stadium uses a different technology -- light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. At its most basic level, the LED is a light bulb. The light bulbs in the stadium's display are tiny and come in one of three colors: red, blue or green. By combining the light from four LEDs (two red LEDs, one blue LED and one green LED), the display creates a single pixel. Mitsubishi refers to each LED as a dot.
  • To create a high-definition effect on a display as large as the scoreboard, you need a lot of LEDs. The Dallas Cowboys scoreboard has 30 million LEDs [source: Grotticelli]. The density of LEDs allows the screens to display images at 1080p resolution -- the same resolution you'll find in high-end HDTVs at your local electronics store.
  • Mitsubishi arranges the dots in a pattern the company calls Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision. The LEDs are in lines of alternating blue and red or green and red dots. Any given square of four LEDs on the display will have one blue, one green and two red lights. The arrangement allows the display's processor to share LED dots between different pixels, creating what the company calls dynamic pixels.
  • According to Mitsubishi, the two sideline displays each require 635 kilowatts. The end zone displays are a little less demanding at 80 kilowatts each [source: Mitsubishi]. That means the sideline displays consume more than 2,873 times the power of the WD-82837, Mitsubishi's 83-inch HDTV, which requires 221 watts [source: Mitsubishi].

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