NEW YORK The Nasdaq lit up Times Square Tuesday with a 120 x 90-foot display that lays claim to being the world's biggest.
The display at Nasdaq MarketSite Tower consists of almost 19-million light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and covers roughly a 10,736-square-foot area, rising more than eight floors.
What's more, it's not exactly a "flat-panel display," but a cylindrical display that conforms to the curvature of the building at the southest corner of Broadway and West 43rd Street.
Installation of the display began in September, a creation of Saco Smartvision Inc. , headquartered in Montreal Canada and publicly traded on the Montreal and Toronto stock exchanges. Some time during the first half of 2000, the company's screens will be installed at Miller Park for Milwaukee Brewers fans and Enron Field for aficionados of the Houston Astros. The Saco screens have "unparalleled characteristics," said NASDAQ director Jack Feder, pointing to a "thorough analysis of various manufacturers of giant video screens worldwide."
Incorporated in 1987, the original focus of Saco was on big displays for industrial control systems, and its installations reside in some of the largest nuclear and hydroelectric power stations in the world. In 1996, the company turned its attention to sports, entertainment and advertising markets with the SMARTVISION line of LED displays.
The technology, the company explained, combines millions of red, green and blue light-emitting diodes that produce more than 1.07 billion colors. This full-color proprietary spectrum enhances text, graphics and video, creating images that are crisp, clean and clear. SMARTVISION affords a clear unobstructed view from all viewing angles, the company said.
SACO's feature 10-bit all-digital processing, all digital video, a simple single-wire interface and what the company calls "the world's most advanced computer control interfaces." It runs off standard video and computer signal sources and is capable of such effects as multiple images, picture-in-picture and graphic special effects mixed with video.
Gary S. Nalven, managing director of SACO, pointed to "several prestigious contracts" for the company's big screens in addition to those for the Brewers and Astros. Current installations include the sports venues of the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Trenton Titans and New Orleans Brass.
The displays' ability to adapt to nonplanar surface is attributable to "a unique lightweight extruded rail system [that lets them] conform to complex curved surfaces," said Susan-Anne Cosgrove, marketing director for SACO's U.S. operation Saco Smartvision (White Plains, N.Y.). "No other display has this ability. In addition, their lightweight, modular construction allows extreme versatility, portability, ease of installation and knock-down for transportable units."