CBS Sports intros new NFL studio

By Ken Kerschbaumer
After months of preparation CBS Sports this weekend will kick off its NFL season from a new studio that promises to meet the demands of today’s HD viewers.

“The new set is being designed for 16:9,” says Ken Aagaard CBS Sports SVP operations and production. “When we decided to tie our graphics look in with our studio it was a reality check that made us design a new set with a totally different look.”

The most obvious change will be wealth of LCD screens, nearly 60 in all.
“A lot of Vizrt-created graphics will be in the monitor wall for the set,” says Aagaard. “The set is exceedingly electronic with options like tickers that are incredible.”

CBS Sports Director of Engineering Bruce Goldfeder says using so many monitors meant the technical team had to set up a distributed infrastucture, where monitors are grouped together.

“By setting up zone around the set for distribution there isn’t a single point of failure,” he says. DVI signals will be sent over fiber to individual monitors with a Sony MVS8000A with 80 inputs and 48 outputs serving out graphics and video. A Vista compositor is also on hand, feeding 8 inputs to handle 8 looping sources.

Steven Artsis, EVP, from systems integrator Video Visions put the monitor walls together (he also recently completed work on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and NAB attendees who stay at the MGM Grand see his work as he helped build the video wall behind the reception desk.

The CBS NFL set includes fourty 20-inch Viewsonic LC monitors, nine 42-inch Barco LCD screen, 10 15-inch NEC LCD monitors, and an 8-foot by 14 foot LED wall from Lighthouse with 6 mm of space between LEDs. Also in front of the desk is an 8-foot long by 20-inches high LED screen.

“We went with LCD because you can put a logo up on the screen and it won’t burn in,” says Artsis.

An interesting wrinkle is a Stealth LED screen from Element Labs that is like an LED curtain with 12-inch squares of LED lights locked together and hung off of a grid. “It’s basically the equivalent of an LED screen with 25mm pitch,” says Artsis. “They’re spaced far enough apart so the viewer can see someone or video screen behind the Stealth screen.”