​Keeping score on the world's largest video displays

The small town behind the biggest scoreboards... 07:34
The resolution is four times better than what one could get at home. The screens are a constellation of millions of LEDs -- about the size of a small thumb tack -- spaced about a half an inch apart. Standing near them, it's hard to actually picture a picture; all your eyes focus on are clusters of red, blue and green lights.
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But back away . . . and those clusters miraculously blend together into a portrait in vivid detail.

The panels undergo brutal testing to make sure they can withstand the elements -- everything from the steamy heat of Sun Life Stadium in Miami, to the pounding rain and snow of Chicago's Soldier Field. Some are even submerged in water.

But perhaps the biggest test for Daktronics has been the students at SDSU, where Al Kurtenbach -- long since retired as a professor -- still rarely misses a Jackrabbits game (under HIS scoreboard, of course).

In the early '80s, only 22 percent of Engineering graduates here actually found work near Brookings, S.D. Today, that number is closer to 62 percent. Many of Daktronics' would-be employees now attend class in the university's Daktronics Engineering Hall.

"I felt we always had to show them exciting work, demonstrate that there was exciting work right here in Brookings," said Kurtenbach.

Daktronics, of course, isn't the only manufacturer of stadium big screens. Mitsubishi turned heads years ago with a massive display at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

But it's Daktronics that has just been awarded the contract to build the biggest scoreboard to date. Called a "Halo Board," it will ring the top of the new Atlanta Stadium. The only way for this screen to get any bigger is for the stadium itself to grow.

"How big can these displays get?" asked Cowan. "I mean, are we approaching sort of the biggest they're gonna be?"

"I think it depends on how large the checkbook is," said Kurtenbach. "That would certainly be a factor. If the checkbook is larger, we'll sure try to build it!"

And we, undoubtedly, will watch.

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