Bigger than the biggest: Giant LED screen in Las Vegas

Chief editor - Vladimir Krylov
Deputy chief editor - Michael Nikoulichev

Giant LED screen in Las Vegas Giant LED screen in Las Vegas

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but with apologies to singer George Benson, New York's most-bedazzling thoroughfare had nothing on Fremont Street on Monday evening.

That's when an estimated crowd of 800 invited guests and hundreds of bystanders gathered in downtown Las Vegas to attend the public unveiling of “Viva Vision”, the $17 million Fremont Street Experience canopy upgrade civic officials and business leaders hope will re-energize downtown tourism.

“It's hard to believe,” said Charles Czerwonka, one of many guests of the event. “I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't been here to see it.”

Over the past several months, workers have replaced nearly 2 million incandescent light bulbs with approximately 12.5 million light-emitting diode lamps. The new lamps are capable of displaying images nearly 900 percent clearer than their predecessors' output, resulting in a picture quality that's comparable to a high-definition television screen located 90 feet above the sidewalk. “I think we're just barely on the cusp of finding out what kind of capabilities this gives us,” Joe Schillaci, Fremont Street Experience president and chief executive, said Monday of the system designed by electronics manufacturer LG. “The other day, just for fun, we hooked up an X-box video game and it looked great up on the canopy.”

Seoul, South Korea-based LG agreed to pay $2.25 million in sponsorship fees for the rights to showcase its products before Fremont Street's more than 16 million estimated annual visitors.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in late 2002 committed $7 million toward the project's budget, with the remaining $7.75 million paid for by the owners of the 10 downtown hotel-casinos that make up the Fremont Street Experience holding company.

Such investment has been deemed critical to the future of downtown Las Vegas, where visitor volume last year dipped to less than 16.4 million from a peak of 21.3 million reported in both 1996 and 1997.

LG Company reports that the LED screen’s length is equal to 1500 feet (around 500 meters) and the width is 90 feet (30 meters). In order to understand how is significant the LED screen size, one may compare it with the area of five soccer fields! As it was mentioned earlier, the price of the LED screen is 17 million dollars. So, probably this LED wonder will stay for a long time not only the biggest one in world, but also the most expensive.