THE STARLIGHT CASINO'S NEW AV CAPABILITIES HIT THE JACKPOT WITH CUSTOMERS AND STAFF.
Early in December 2007, casino operators Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Inc. completed work on a new casino and entertainment facility in New Westminster,
The 27-foot display wall makes a strong statement to patrons at the Starlight Casino lounge. British Columbia, Canada. No expense was spared in the creation of the $100 million, 100,000-square-foot casino complex with its 850 slot machines and 55 gaming tables.
The jewel in the crown of the innovative new casino is its eye-popping digital display wall, spanning almost 27 feet in width, which sits above the bar located at the entrance to the show lounge and is visible from anywhere on the floor.
Since the display system was designed to be the focal point of the sports bar, Acumen Engineering Ltd, the consulting engineering firm brought into to design the complex installation, suggested that Gateway invest in a sophisticated video system. The new system would combine, size, scale, and display video from ordinary, computer-generated, and highdefinition sources alongside digital signage and footage from popular sporting and entertainment events, all while maintaining the full resolution of the original video program. What sets Starlight Casino apart from others gaming venues is the importance its owners placed on audio and visuals that would capture and hold the interest of patrons.
Placing and aligning the new 12-cube display with the required accuracy was no small challenge. With the help of a structural engineering firm, a special purpose steel deck was constructed above the bar. While balanced on the deck, the systems integration team from Allstar Show Industries had to lift and position each of the 12 200-pound cubes and align them to within one millimeter of each other in order to minimize any visible seams between them.
Since there was no room behind the bar's counter to locate the necessary control and video distribution equipment, all equipment was housed centrally in an AV rack room. To maintain accurate video resolution and optimum quality, Acumen Engineering recommended fiber optic transmission to transfer the signal over the 300-foot distance from the equipment rack to the displays.
Adding to the drama of installation was the fact that casino construction was already well underway when the decision to add the sophisticated display wall was made. System integrators had to work around completed construction, fishing fiber and control lines through walls and ceiling spaces that were already drywalled.
In operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a casino like the Starlight requires a system that offers a very high degree of reliability. Downtime can result in immediate lost revenue, and repairs can be costly. Quality, robustness, long life, and ease-of-maintenance, as well as outstanding video quality, were the deciding factors in the selection of the display wall and its controller. In particular, the 67- inch Mitsubishi VS-67XLW50U DLP projection cubes used in the system were selected for their long life and ability to automatically compensate for changes in illumination levels and color balance. Each Mitsubishi display wall cube is equipped with a built-in brightness sensor that measures brightness every 2 seconds. The Dynamic Brightness Balancing circuit then communicates the measured brightness data between all cubes and automatically performs the necessary adjustments to maintain optimum brightness uniformity across the entire display wall. In addition, each cube has a digital color balancing and
blending circuit that compensates for color differences among all of the cubes in a multi-unit configuration.
A Jupiter Systems PixelNet system was chosen for its ability to display feeds from a wide range of sources and to size, place, and scale the images anywhere on the screen without losing any resolution. For this system, 12 Gefen DVI- 1000HD extenders were used to take the DVI signals out of the Jupiter processor and transmit them via fiber optic to the DVI inputs on the Mitsubishi cubes.
Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Inc. wanted to ensure that the videowall and all other AV systems could be easily operated by casino shift managers and staff without requiring specially trained technicians. Custom programming was developed to integrate control of the display wall system into the casino's Crestron AV2 controller, so that everything could be operated easily from Crestron TPS- 4000 and TPS-3000 touchscreens.
This state-of-the-art system can provide content from a wide range of sources - standard and high-definition video, as well as analog and DVI computer signals, enabling the casino to provide digital signage, promotional materials, or display sporting and entertainment events all at the same time. Jupiter's PixelNet offered inputs from a wide range of sources at extremely high resolution, while maintaining the fault tolerance and high-availability necessary for a 24/7/365 installation. The Jupiter PixelNet System also provides pre-programmed templates for instant recall and an easy transition to other input formats as they become available.
Systems integrator Allstar Show Industries installed the video feeds from the main AV rack room and control interfaces and, with technical support and collaboration from Mitsubishi, the cube frames and hardware. A factory-trained technician from Mitsubishi performed the videowall programming and color balance adjustments with the assistance of Allstar's local technicians. An Extron MAV Plus 3264 V matrix switcher supplies composite video to over 100 LG Electronics plasma and LCD displays ranging in size from 42 to 65 inches, distributed throughout the casino.
For audio in the main casino, Allstar installed over 400 JBL Control 24CT and 26T ceiling loudspeakers powered by QSC CX204V amplifiers, with Biamp AudiaFlex, providing signal processing and digital audio networking via CobraNet. The show lounge was specified with 7.1 surround audio using QSC HPR122i loudspeakers. The Meyer Sound CQ-1 main loudspeakers are fed by a Yamaha LS9-32 digital mixing console and digital distribution using an Aviom A-Net digital snake for the Sennheiser microphones and Aviom A-Net monitors.
Both the show lounge and the main casino use independent Crestron control systems, which are interconnected over the facility's LAN. This permits routing of casino content to the show lounge and live events from the show lounge back out various parts of the casino floor. All control functions are available at touchscreens located in the AV rack room, on stage, and at FOH in the show lounge, as well as at the reception area. A remote client with streaming video preview was added, so that managers can interact with the control system from their desktops.
JUPITER SYSTEMS: www.jupiter.com
LG ELECTRONICS: www.lge.com
QSC AUDIO: www.qscaudio.com
Robin Stavisky is a professional writer and blogger for technology-based industries, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.