Cowboys Redefine “Big Screen” HDTV

Stadium work continues as opening night approaches

Huge images of Tony Romo dodging tacklers and tossing passes flashed across what the Cowboys are calling the biggest HDTV in the world.

Owner Jerry Jones wants Cowboys fans to know that the most audacious gadget in a new $1.1 billion stadium sure to be full of them might even cause a little confusion. Was it live, or was it on TV? It'll be both, because fans will see the same live action on the screen that's taking place on the field.

"I dare say ... you're not going to know or remember whether you saw it happening directly on the field or whether in your mind's eye, the perception of it, you saw it on this digital board," Jones said during Thursday's unveiling of the $40 million, 600-ton behemoth that hangs above the center of the field.

First, some numbers. The Mitsubishi board is 160 feet long -- more than half a football field -- and 72 feet high. It would take nearly 5,000 52-inch flat panel TVs to equal the more than 23,000 square feet of video displays facing each sideline. Two oh-by-the-way screens that are 29 feet by 51 feet are attached to each end.

Punters will be clamoring to be the first to say they hit the video board, but Jones assures that such thoughts were taken into account. He says the bottom will be a few feet out of reach.

From the looks of it, even fans in the far corners of the upper deck will have a view of the larger sideline screens. The only seats out of view appear to be the few at each end, where huge sliding glass doors give the 80,000-seat stadium two more open-air options besides the retractable hole in the roof.

The first center-hung video digital board in football history -- as Jones is calling it -- will have 30 million light bulbs

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"The innovative technology will give every fan a unique not only view, but perspective, of the game," Jones said.

Among those, Jones said, was the video board's ability to reverse the images on each side so that the action on the screen is going the same way the fans see it on the field. The video will be a combination of feeds from the networks covering the game and eight Cowboys camera operators in the stadium.

Workers looked like ants inside their hill as they climbed scaffolding that rose from the stadium floor into the guts of the video board.

On game days, construction lifts will take technicians to the board. Once inside, they will move among a 10-level network of catwalks on motorized platforms, troubleshooting any problems that arise. The board will be operated from a control room elsewhere in the stadium.

"We're happy to report that we delivered what we believe is the vision of Jerry Jones," said Mark Foster, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric's Diamond Vision Systems.

Cowboys Stadium, which will go at least a year without a title sponsor because of the sour economy, has already lined up the 2010 NBA All-Star game, the 2011 Super Bowl and 2014 Final Four. The first scheduled event is a George Strait concert June 6.
 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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