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Video Champs

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Patrons of Champps restaurants, one of the country's fastest-growing chains of upscale restaurants/sports bars, are increasingly diverted from their tempting entrees and handcrafted cocktails by the sight of professional and college sports displayed on Panasonic's high-contrast plasma displays and DLP projectors.

Since August, parent company Champps Entertainment (Littleton, CO) has invested in a substantial number of 42- and 50-inch professional high-definition plasmas and single-chip mid-to-large venue DLP projectors to provide its customers a level of video entertainment they are unlikely to find at home.

Two new restaurants located in the Whitman Square and Penn's Landing developments in Philadelphia are exclusively equipped with Panasonic display technology, including five 50-inch HD plasmas, four 42-inch HD plasmas, and two PT-D5500U DLP projectors (in rear-view configurations feeding 100- and 115-inch screens) in each facility. Additional 50- and 42-inch HD plasmas and PT-D5500Us have been purchased to replace the outdated standard televisions in 10 existing Champps restaurants.

The two Philadelphia-area restaurants are similarly configured, with the 50-inch plasmas installed throughout the approximately 8,300-square-foot restaurants, and the 42-inch plasmas situated in two separate side dining areas, where small-to-medium-sized parties might choose to bring in their own video material to display. The PT-D5500U projectors are installed in the larger dining area; up to six feeds can be displayed on the 115-inch screen (in combinations of 1, 3 or 6), while four feeds can be shown on the 100-inch screen (in combinations of 1 or 4).

"So far, we've been very pleased with the projectors' performance," said Champps vice president of construction and design David miller. "They were easily installed, and would certainly be easier to swap out than a multi-cube video wall, if needed. The PT-D5500U has a long lamp life -- twice that of competitive models -- which is terrific, as we have them running 15 hours a day."

"People can't figure out how the projector works, which we like. We don't want our patrons to feel like they're watching last year's technology at Champps, or that it's something they might run out and buy on sale at a local audio/video store. The company's style is to keep our visual effects and menu on the cutting edge."

Miller said he intends to substitute the single-chip PT-D5500U or the 3-chip, 7,000 lumens PT-D7700U projectors for aging video walls in many of the restaurants already retrofitted with professional plasma displays.

Miller continued, "The Panasonic plasmas are totally in keeping with our restaurants' sophisticated atmosphere. We view the plasmas as pieces of décor-much like our Warhol and Jasper Johns prints--and as such they are aesthetically very pleasing. As we purchase additional plasmas, our thinking is to move towards the larger sizes-Panasonic's current 50-inch model and the upcoming 65-inch HD model-as we want to maintain the 'wow!' factor with our clientele.

Panasonic
www.panasonic.com

Champps Entertainment
www.champps.com

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