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Veterans Memorial Coliseum

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Veterans Memorial Coliseum
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LED Video Wall in scoreboard enhances fan experience, contributes to marketability of the facility

The Veterans Memorial Coliseum is a vibrant and cherished icon of Portland, particularly its fiercely loyal sports fans. Once home to the Portland Trail Blazers – who now play in the Moda Center next door – the coliseum is today treasured by thousands of fans of the Portland Winterhawks, a major junior ice hockey team, who fill its nearly 13,000 seats almost every home game. Similarly, thousands stream through its turnstiles for high school basketball and wrestling tournaments, monster truck races, rodeos and more. It also has been the preferred venue for concerts, touring shows, high school graduation ceremonies, as well as community and corporate events of all types.

At 56 years of age, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum remains popular for its once-modernistic gray glass and aluminum exterior architecture, its intimate ovular interior seating bowl and the stunning views from its vast expanse of windows. The City of Portland has continually invested in it to keep it in step with changing times. Among the most significant of these investments is the iconic scoreboard, which has been updated to include the latest in LED video wall technology. Now an integral part of each of the four sides of the scoreboard, the LED displays– provided by Planar, give all fans and guests, no matter where they are seated, a direct, close-up and dazzling view of whatever is happening on the ice or in games or events on the floor.

With extensive involvement from the production, design, fabrication and systems integration firm, Tube Art Group (based in Seattle), the scoreboard was modified to accommodate the Planar uEV Series, a line of high-impact, large-format LED video walls—specifically the 4mm pixel pitch Planar uEV4. "The affordable price point and the quality of the Planar uEV4 made it the ideal solution for our arena environment," says Mike Janes, Vice President of Engineering and Technology for the Portland Trail Blazers, whose organization – along with city partner, Rip City Management – spearheaded the selection of the Planar LED display. "It greatly enhances the fan or visitor experience and is an asset that contributes greatly to the marketability of the building in the highly competitive arena environment."

Cabinet style solution simplifies installation enhances serviceability

Janes' team, Rip City Management and Tube Art Group opted for the Planar uEV4 first for its cabinet-based design. Each display, which measures 16 feet wide by nine feet in height, is comprised of LED modules Planar installs in cabinets which themselves could be easily installed in the steel frame that Tube Art had constructed to attach them to the scoreboard. "We knew that the cabinet-style LED system would be easy to handle and would install fairly quickly ," says Jack Bailey, Vice President of Special Projects for Tube Art.

The Planar uEV Series delivers ample air flow without the need for a large number of cooling fans. "With fewer fans, you take in less dust and other contaminants, which translates into less maintenance," he adds. When service is required, it can be done from behind, inside the scoreboard, or from the front, where magnetized LED modules adhere securely to the LED cabinet face. Any LED module can be detached easily providing access to any power supplies or ribbon cables that may need attention.

"This magnetized design is a really nice feature. It provides a very efficient way to service a screen. Also, the combination of design and serviceability means that these displays, in this type of application could last at least 10 if not 15 years. With this kind of lifespan, they will easily last until the coliseum sees benefit in moving to the next big step in technology," Bailey continues.

Displays deliver stunning, Full HD video and variety of other content

Another major factor in the selection of the Planar uEV Series is its image quality. Mike Janes says that the new video wall with a 4 mm pixel pitch (433,200 pixels per display), delivers a 1460 x 720P resolution. "This lets us show Full HD content from virtually any source, which really contributes to a great fan experience. It's a huge leap from the older LED displays that were low resolution, overly high in contrast and unreliable."

The Planar uEV4 Series LED video wall maximizes the presentation of almost anything a coliseum or a third party user (such as corporate clients) might want to show. For Portland Winterhawks games, the video wall depicts video replays and recaps of plays, live "fan-cam" shots and sponsor promotions. For a third party event, such as a company meeting or a seminar, they can be connected to PCs or laptops for the purpose of displaying presentations.

Planar's engineering and support are exemplary, Tube Art's Jack Bailey says. An example of this, he says is the company's practice of building LED displays with LEDs selected for their consistency which all but ensures that the image across an entire video wall exhibits optimal uniformity and clarity. "Further, the fact that Planar is located nearby is a plus. Whenever possible, our preference is to do business with a local company as it contributes to stronger relationships and easier resolution of any issues or problems that could arise."