When you walk in to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook (yes, that’s the entire name — just registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) you are simply amazed. I’d heard all the hype (and probably you have as well) but even it doesn’t do this install justice. What HB Communications, rp Visual Solutions and Christie accomplished is more than amazing, it’s STUNNING!
So, why? Well, let’s take a look at some numbers:
- 61,932,520 pixels — the highest resolution install (highest density of pixels) in the world. Native resolution? 26,880×2,304
- 220-foot wide and 19-foot tall continuous — as in NO VISIBLE SEAMS — LED screen
- 4,166 square feet of images
- 15 miles of network, video and control cable
- 22 equipment racks
- 1680 Christie Velvet LED Tiles (each one with a 2.5 mm pixel pitch)
- All sold, designed, built, staged, installed, calibrated and brought online in less than three months from start to finish
But, it was all installed (in the EXACT SAME PLACE as the old sports book — all lower-case and a non-registered name) without ever closing the sports book and debuting the new Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook! Yep, you read that right — it never closed.
“Westgate told us if we signed on to do the install, we had to do it by keeping the old sports book open,” said HB Communications Jim Burke. “We actually installed a false-front wall in front of the old projection-based sports book and re-calibrated the Panasonic projectors for the new throw ratio and kept it open the entire time we did the installation.
“We didn’t think this install could be done as quickly or as perfectly as they wanted it, at first,” said rp Visual Solutions President, Randy Pagnan. “But, we all worked together and met the deadline. And, in fact, we were done and the Westgate was still finishing construction on their own bar area – we beat the Westgate themselves!”
This was truly a feat as the Westgate insisted on not just a hard and fast deadline — as the Super Bowl was their drop-dead event they had to have it open for — but that it all be installed in the exact same place as their old sports book; a location that has housed it since the hotel was built in 1969 — the first mega-hotel in Vegas, in fact.
rp Visual Solutions Pagnan remarked, “We saw cable in that back room where we installed the the super-structure mounting systems that holds all the Christie Velvet LED Screens that was from the days when Elvis Presley, himself, performed there. The old cable hasn’t been touched and was probably 4-5’ deep in the floor. We had to leave it all down there as our deadline wouldn’t have given us the time to remove it. We installed on top of it.”
Both crews from HB Communications and rp Visual Solutions basically lived in Las Vegas for the last 60-days of construction and Christie had a crew on-site for the install of all of the 1680 Velvet Merit Tiles and the seven Christie Spyder X20 image processors.
All of it is controlled via a Crestron control system that allows the bar workers to control of the image displayed of every single screen. And, not just TV channel changing — image sizing, placement, audio, odds, everything. And, the entire thing can be controlled via a mobile phone, too.
“I have called up the system via the network on my mobile phone before and helped walk through user-interface issues,” recalled HB’s Burke. “The entire system is IP-based for everything but it’s full of redundancy so we can send signals, if both segments of the network — both the primary and backup network — go down via a digital video signal path, too — thanks to the design of the Velvet LED Tiles.”
The Christie’s Spyder X20 image processor individually (remember, there are seven of them in the system) handles 16 inputs of any kind (analog or digital) and can then send those inputs out analog, DVI, SDI, HD-SDI or even 3G HD-SDI to any of 8 different locations. So, everything is matrixes to send anything, anywhere. And the Spyder allows for images to be moved, sized, overlaid or displayed in any size, aspect ratio or resolution the person running the SuperBook at the Westgate wants. As you can imagine, most of the time, it’s showing 40 or so simultaneous feeds of sporting events that are being betted on in real-time.
The Christie Velvet Merit Series LED tiles were chosen for a few reasons. First, they are designed to be on 24/7 — and SportsBooks are open all the time. They never close.
Pagnan explains “We decided to save time, we’d not stage the entire install somewhere else – we’d do it there on-site. So, we literally turned on every Velvet tile and fed it a signal from the Spyder and tested each one before installing it on our mounting system. We had such a low failure-rate that it was ultimately immeasurable.”
The Velvet Merit Series has a 5000:1 contrast ratio, a 160-degree viewing angle and each tile is specified to be able to last 100,000 hours – and at 24-hours a day operation, that’s 11.4 years. That sold the Westgate on them as there was a half-dozen or so Chinese LED manufacturers who also bid the project.
But, mounting the LEDs was the easy part and marked the beginning of the end of the project for everyone. Specifying it and designing a system that could hold the giant 220-foot wide curved structure proved to be a challenge for Pagnan and his team at rp Visual Solutions.
“This system has over 14,000 pounds of steel super-structure behind it holding up over 50,000 pounds of LED screens. That’s 277-pounds per linear foot,” explained Pagnan. “This isn’t like installing the average video wall.”
rp Visual Solutions was picked because of their customization capabilities, explained HB’s Burke, “There really is only one company who could have done this and we wanted Randy and his team to to design the structure to hold the wall. We were all concerned about the short install time, but once we got him on board, we knew we could get it done and what they built was perfect.”
And, because of rp Visual Solutions design, the seam width (between LEDs) is less than .25 millimeters (yes, 10 percent of 2.5 millimeters) — thus, an undetectable separation between the tiles- that is the key to it all looking like one seamless image.
And, the result is nearly 62 million pixels forming one giant 220’ x 19’ image that can be ANYTHING, ANYTIME you want it to be — all in mere seconds. And, it’s the world’s highest resolution install — it’ll make it in the Guinness Book or World Records soon. How I know? Well, the current world record holder is sitting in Times Square only displaying a mere 24 million pixels.
But, more importantly, I will guarantee you that you will be hard-pressed to find anyone in AV — even Christie’s own competitors — who would argue that the Westgate SuperBook isn’t the best-looking LED install in the world, today. Like I said, it’s STUNNING.
To see an infographic with the details of the install, click here.