The technical difficulties of implementing 8K at a large
stadium have necessitated a series of trials this season
at press conferences.
Post-season, Foxconn will evaluate the data for
insights with a view to rolling it out across the stadium.
“We should be able to get a good understanding of how
we shoot in 8K and figure out how to upgrade the
video boards, cabling and all our monitors to 8K
capacity,” Schoeb says. Foxconn has already introduced
8K televisions with a screen resolution ratio of 7,680 by
4,320 pixels - 4.3 times clearer than human eyesight.
But they cost more than four times a 4K set and until
prices fall, will remain a minority purchase. Foxconn is
banking on 8K as the future, however, and is building
the world’s largest 8K-resolution panel factory in
The 49ers are also working closely with broadcast
partner NBC on pre- and post-game shows. The club
uses a live audience for both so fans at the stadium are
involved in the action, while TV audiences get the
feeling of being there. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi has been
boosted to deal with massive data requirements.
Schoeb explains it is absolutely critical to enable 60,000
fans to stream, especially when the stadium is based in
Silicon Valley. Professor Kirk agrees high-powered Wi-
Fi is critical. “It’s still arguably the most important
technology. It has to handle huge data needs of 20,000,
The nine-story-high jumbotron
at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T
Stadium raised the bar for AV
systems when installed in 2009
or more, fans wanting to post on social media at the
same time. The best experience is a shared experience
and if fans cannot interact at the same speed and ease
they do at home, or in a bar, they won’t think it’s worth
going to a game,” he says.
The San Francisco 49ers may be leading the way,
but many US stadia are improving the live experience.
Christine Williamson, Belden’s strategic account
manager for North American stadia, explains how
US sports clubs know they have to battle falling
attendances and have been stepping up investments
in their new stadia. “They have to make it more
memorable for fans so clubs are hiring dedicated
production teams and installing control rooms to
manage interactive experiences. The wealthier clubs
are putting in beautiful, huge LED boards and
populating them with high-end production values,
such as the Dallas Cowboys’ 700-ton screens that
are 160ft 48m wide and 72ft 22m high,” she says.
To attract fans away from their comfy armchairs, there
is enormous investment in hardware. An important
consideration is to increase bandwidth at every seat
and there is a big debate around the importance of
installing DAS (Digital Antenna Systems). “DAS is
a hot topic for a lot of stadia as no millennial will stand
for bandwidth that is not top-notch. It’s rising faster
than Wi-Fi now,” she believes.
40 www.stadia-magazine.com Showcase 2020