Install of the Month

With the advent of new, state-of-the-art LED display technology, a whole new dimension has been added to the conventional billboards people have become
Publish date:

Install of the Month

Dec 1, 2002 12:00 PM

With the advent of new, state-of-the-art LED display technology, a whole new dimension has been added to the conventional billboards people have become accustomed to along the highways and byways of North America. Giant outdoor video screens that utilize these LEDs for billboard advertising combine bright, vibrant color with motion visuals to grab the attention of drivers. One of the companies that provides this technology — Lightvision Media Network, based in Vancouver, Canada — is taking this outdoor advertising concept to a new level throughout western Canada. In one location, at the intersection of Highways 99 and 17 in Vancouver, more than 100,000 vehicles are exposed to advertisers' messages each day.

The billboards integrate specially designed outdoor enclosures with large LED screens manufactured by Lighthouse Technologies. According to Tom Sponarski, president of Lightvision Media, “While LED screens display brilliant color, there are inherent challenges in the application of the new LED technology for outdoor billboard use. Outdoor LED screens have unique aspect ratios, dimensions, and resolution requirements.” After extensive research, Lightvision Media selected RGB Spectrum's VLI 200 scaler/interpolator as a core display component in the LED billboard systems.

“The VLI interpolator was the perfect solution for us,” Sponarski says. “It gives us the ability to resize a video signal and adjust, scale, and position the image to fit the special dimensions, aspect ratio, and resolution of our LED screens. Additionally, there is no edge breakup in scenes with horizontal motion.

“Our concept is to place our advertisers' messages in high-traffic freeway locations for maximum exposure using a dynamic, eye-catching medium. This medium has to be flexible, enabling us to change advertising spots on the fly. The VLI interpolator/scaler gives us the versatility to adjust new source images to accommodate the LED billboard's characteristics and quickly switch the advertising message.”

The data is sent to the VLI 200 as a standard NTSC composite video signal, and then using advanced decoding, adaptive comb filtering, and deinterlacing, the interpolator scales this signal to the native VGA resolution of the LED screen. The image is then resized and manipulated to match the LED screen's unusual dimensions, and the image is ported to the LED display. The LED billboard displays 5-, 10-, and 15-second TV spots in a continuous loop. At the advertiser's request, the message can be customized to suit the audience and rapidly switches the message displayed on the LED billboard. For example, a local television station that is an advertiser on the billboard displays that day's programming promotions throughout the day. During the end-of-the-day rush-hour traffic, the TV station ad displays the coming evening's prime-time television lineup. Lightvision operates the LED screens remotely from its control facility through the Internet.

The VLI 200 variable line interpolator/scaler optimizes a video signal for any projector or display device. The VLI 200 makes ordinary video look its best when shown on a large screen. Unlike line doublers and quadruplers, which can only output a signal locked to the input signal, the VLI 200 provides user-programmable output timing to optimize the signal for any projector or another display device. The VLI 200 offers the user complete control over the signal, including refresh rate (up to 80 Hz for flickerfree images) and output resolutions up to quadruple the original. It also includes a time base corrector, 16-by-9 and 4-by-3 aspect ratio control, pan and zoom, and flicker elimination.

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