Planar Transparent Displays give NFL Game Day studio ultramodern look
Professional football holds almost unprecedented popularity among sports fans across the United States today, and is growing in popularity thanks to video streaming and increasing interest in the sport around the world. In response to fans wanting more in-depth coverage of all NFL events, NFL Network created NFL GameDay, which now broadcasts more than 15 hours of live coverage each and every NFL Sunday, and is the only show on television providing in-progress NFL highlights and analysis of the day’s games.
To ensure that fans enjoy GameDay to the fullest, NFL Network added on-set display technology that presents live game action and recaps in a new and different way. In the middle of the set, viewers see video on arrays of transparent OLED monitors configured as video walls. These video platforms are the groundbreaking Planar® LookThru® Transparent Display from Planar, a Leyard Company. Rick Qualliotine, Vice President of Emerging Production Platforms and Systems for NFL Media says the new Planar displays help set GameDay broadcasts apart from other sports programming by giving the show a sleek, ultra-modern look. “This is a departure from traditional, boxy displays, and the fact that you can look through these displays and the on-set talent can actually walk around them is really unique.”
Window-like displays light up with video content
Introduced in early 2016, the Planar LookThru displays measure 55 inches diagonally and feature 1920×1080 full HD resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Comprised of two panels of glass with a layer of silicon in between, the displays look like windows when no video is playing. They appear to be glass but can take in regular video sources through HDMI or Planar DisplayPort inputs, and then light up with content. In fact, they are designed so that any black or dark portions of video also appear clear, giving the network added creative potential.
“We’re discovering that while you can use them to display traditional images, we have other monitors on the set for that,” says Qualliotine. “They are best suited to creating an interesting scenic space and also they give us opportunities to visually express information in a new way.”
Planar LookThru displays continue NFL’s use of cutting-edge technology
In the center of the GameDay set, NFL Network installed four monitors in a tiled two-by-two configuration, and stacked another three monitors to serve as a vertical screen. Depending on how they are configured, the monitors can be tied together to show a single video feed or separated to show multiple feeds. The displays do not require any backlight or enclosure, nor do they require additional backend production technology other than NFL Network’s existing system.
“As far as the cables and the connectors and how you run them, there’s nothing that’s different from traditional monitors, so that part was tremendously appealing,” says Qualliotine, “We could go state-of-the-art and get something that nobody else has but not have to rewire our entire studio.”
Planar LookThru provides additional features that make the display the right solution for an application such as the NFL GameDay program set. Among these are its peak white brightness (500 cd/m2), contrast ratio (>100k: 1), color gamut (100% NTSC), and palette (1.073 billion colors- 10 bit).
“This is the continuation of a long and amazing history that began 60 years ago with NFL Films using cutting-edge technology and the best craftspeople to produce television broadcasts,” Qualliotine says. “We feel like this is a great continuation of the work that started back then with trying to use technology in a way to connect with our fans and offer them a chance to experience even more of what they love about the game.”