PLANAR VIDEO WALL IS CENTERPIECE OF NEW SPORTS BAR
Carnival Cruise Line’s Liberty is one of the company’s signature Fun Ships, spectacular floating resorts that offer guests the ultimate in cruising entertainment. Having just completed a planned renovation, Liberty is the first in the fleet whose new amenities include an Sports Bar. This dramatic new space, the result of a partnership between Carnival and EA Sports, was specifically designed to provide an immersive ship-board sports experience. It features a massive video wall on which guests can watch live sports broadcasts as well as play the latest video games, individually or in live competition with others in the bar.
A Perfect Fit
The video wall is a eight-by-two (8 x 2) array of 46-inch displays developed by Planar Systems. These displays, the most advanced in the Planar Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall System family, are mounted above the back bar in a curved array that provides a striking aesthetic and crystal-clear viewing from almost every position at the bar. Planar’s Clarity Matrix was selected, according to Eric Merz, Carnival’s director of guest technology, first because of its ability to accommodate the curved wall design of the sports bar. “The Clarity Matrix has a very thin bezel, which allows for very precise panel-to-panel alignment on our curved mounting surface. The bezels of other manufacturers’ products are much more pronounced, and would not be nearly as effective as the Clarity Matrix is in this type of installation.”
Being thin also makes Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall lightweight. “This provided several other benefits that led to the Clarity Matrix selection,” Merz says. “It meant we could install the wall without having to build an extensive supporting structure, which was a real money-saver. Also, the lighter panels are easier to handle and thus could be installed quickly. This enabled us to get the video wall up and running smoothly in three days, which was important considering that the total build time for the bar was 10 days .”
Carnival’s partner in this project was Digital Video Systems (DVS), a Miramar, Florida-based systems integration firm with extensive experience in entertainment technology for ship-board applications. Cristian Tache, of DVS, gives Clarity Matrix high marks for its slim profile as well, but adds that its off-board electronics design was an equally important factor. “This video wall operates 24/7 in a sea-going environment so it has to be reliable. Planar’s design allows many components of the Clarity Matrix to be located away from the video wall, thus removing heat-generating elements that could shorten the life of a panel or cause a failure. This is a unique design concept that really gives us peace of mind; we know the video wall is going to perform well over time and continue to deliver the great sports bar experience that Carnival wants for its guests.”
Image is Everything
Recognizing what patrons want in a sports bar today, Merz said a key requirement for the video wall was the ability to impactfully present the full range of high definition sports content. “Our guests expect to see live broadcasts of everything from football games to soccer matches, and play the latest video games as well, so image quality was paramount.” Clarity Matrix accommodates fully. Its 16 panels are perfectly aligned, providing a virtually seamless viewing screen with top-notch visual performance. “Liberty is constantly moving which means we can be in bright sunlight at one point and in darkness the next. Either way, the picture quality is always incredible,” Merz adds. Typically, live broadcasts are shown in the center portion of the big screen and video games at both ends. Merz says, “In both situations, Clarity Matrix delivers with almost life-like picture quality day or night.”
The Planar Experience
Merz speaks highly of Planar’s support for the Liberty project, and adds that he expects the Clarity Matrix will be on board other Carnival ships as they debut their EA Sports bars in 2012 and beyond. “Planar knows Clarity Matrix is a critical element; it is the bar. So they’ve taken it very seriously and have worked closely with us, from pre-launch staging and setup, to training and on-board fine-tuning. You don’t normally get that support from a vendor, but that’s what makes Planar different.