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Fiber optics technology takes to the big screen

Photonics Spectra
Sep 1997
Ruth A. Mendonsa

Visitors to the National Western Event Center in Denver, an equestrian arena used primarily for concerts, horse shows and other sporting events, can now see what's going on even better because of a newly installed FiberVision screen from Advance Display Technologies Inc.


The complex also uses the screen as a money-maker. Advertisers can buy ad time and send graphics messages. This looks like a win/win situation all around.

The 9 × 12-ft display screen is made up of more than 440,000 optical fibers, each representing a pixel. The only bulb illuminating the hundreds of thousands of pixels is the projection light source. The passive device provides up to 363 magnification from an 18 × 24-in. input, and it provides higher resolution than any other competitive light bulb, light-emitting diode or cathode ray tube product in the world, according to John Kilgore, the vice president of sales and marketing at Advance Display Technologies. Because the fibers never burn out or need replacement as typical bulb display systems do, and because fiber optics consume no power, maintenance and operating costs are greatly reduced.

Any source can be used for light delivery, and because FiberVision has a very small input matrix onto which images are projected, space limitation is not an issue. Without a long throw distance, the projected image does not have to expand and is not affected by ambient light, so it maintains its light-intensity level.

Fans and owners alike enjoy the fact that FiberVision provides a viewing angle exceeding 170° in every direction. The director of marketing for the complex, Marvin Witt, says the screen can be used to show instant replays, class results and individual winners at the equestrian events. "The viewing angle literally must be seen to be believed. We have no bad seats," he said.

The complex also uses the screen as a money-maker. Advertisers can buy ad time and send graphics messages. This looks like a win/win situation all around.


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