Technology companies are always looking for new markets or at least new use cases, and LED manufacturers have found one few would have predicted – media rooms for sports teams.
They’re using fine pitch direct view LED displays as the backdrops for pre and post-game interviews with the athletes and coaches of college and professional sports teams.
If you follow sports, you’ve seen interviews and press conferences that have a logo-filled print graphic as the backdrop – usually featuring the team’s logo, the league logo and key sponsors.
The idea with this is a big LED screen is changeable by team, and by event, and instead of fixed logos, it can feature whatever makes sense, including videos and stats from the game.
Daktronics sees enough of a market in this that the company has developed a custom video pitching it to the sports world. The South Dakota LED screen manufacturer already has screens in places for the media centers at the homes of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and the NFL’s Falcons , Browns and Patriots.
I saw LED used as a backdrop first-hand recently at the Chase Center in San Francisco, which opened this fall as the new home to the injury-beset Golden State Warriors. I had a pro AV tour with Samsung and they let me go up and sit down. It is was as close as the 5″10″ former point guard for Nickel District Secondary School got to the NBA.
This seems like an easy application, but it comes with some complications. The pitch has to be tight to properly replicate logos, and show crisp text. So it will be expensive. And because broadcasters are in there with cameras, the screen has to have a design or other counter-measures to deal with something called the Moire Effect – squiggly black lines naked eyes don’t see but cameras pick up.
So just getting low-cost fine-pitch bank of modules from China may or (more likely) may not look so hot on cameras.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.