ESPN Zone converting restaurants to HDTV

ESPN Zone, the sports-themed restaurant chain owned by The Walt Disney Co. and ESPN, has kicked off a multi-million dollar technological conversion of all eight restaurants to high-definition viewing.

ESPN Zones in New York, Las Vegas, Washington and Baltimore will be converted to HD in time for the Super Bowl XL broadcast on ABC-TV on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. ET. The remaining ESPN Zone locations in Chicago, Anaheim, Atlanta and Denver will be converted to HD by the end of 2006.

Each facility will be replacing standard-definition television monitors with Philips flat screen plasmas and LCD’s. In addition, each of the large projection screens at ESPN Zone have been converted to be able to project up to 16 foot images in HD.

In addition to the hundreds of new Philips monitors, each converted ESPN Zone also features up to eight new HD satellite receivers, up to eight new HD cable receivers, HD-compatible routing and switching equipment, as well as 10,000 feet of CAT 6E skew-free network cable. “Given the significant amount and complexity of the audio/visual infrastructure in place at ESPN Zone, the conversion to high definition has been much more elaborate than a typical sports bar,” said Guy Savage, manager of audio/visual systems for ESPN Zone.

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