Gigantic display can be seen 1,000 feet away

It would take 2,200 46-inch TVs to make up the size of Panasonic's "Big Board," which has just been switched on at Churchill Downs.

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The Big Board has a screen size that measures 15,224 square feet, larger than three basketball courts. Panasonic

Just last year, Panasonic unveiled the world's largest high-definition LED TV -- "Big Hoss" -- at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. On Saturday, the company increased its "we make it big" cred by switching on what it's calling "the world's largest 4K ultra-high-definition LED video board" at the Churchill Downs horse race track in Louisville, Ky.

In the consumer market, 4K TVs offer four times the picture resolution of standard HDTVs.

The screen, which measures just under 171 feet wide and just less than 90 feet tall, sits 80 feet up in the air and is known as the "Big Board." Its purpose will be to display replays and close-ups of racing images, as well as betting odds and race results. Construction of the mammoth screen, which began in December, took only four months, which means it's been deployed in time for the 140th Kentucky Derby to be held on May 2 and 3.

While putting a screen that weighs 1.2 million pounds 80 feet in the air is engineering challenge enough, Panasonic was also faced with the fact that there's an underground river flowing beneath Churchill Downs.

This led engineers to dig deeper than they'd otherwise have to, burying 12 steel beams 45 feet deep into bedrock. The result is that the Big Board is now stable enough to handle winds of up to 90 miles per hour, according to Panasonic.

Other fun tidbits about the Big Board include the fact that it displays 9 million lines of resolution, shows 281 trillion colors, and can be seen from about 1,000 feet away.

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The screen (upper right) is 267 hands tall, equal to the height of about 17 stacked horses. Panasonic

While it might have taken the Big Board four months to be built, you can watch it take shape in the video below in about 30 seconds.

About the author

Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for Crave and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.

 

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