Source: Pro AV MAGAZINE Publication date: May 24, 2010
By Dan Daley
When the Buffalo Wings & Rings (BWR) chain decided to put their newest restaurant in the shadow of Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, the company knew the place had to meet the expectations of hungry, sports-crazy Colts fans. It also had to withstand what would certainly be more than a few wild nights. BW&R achieved both goals through carefully chosen AV systems and some level-headed thinking.
Systems integrator AVI eConsulting of Orlando, Fla., was tasked with giving each of the restaurant's 17 booths its own 19-inch Samsung LCD video screen, plus 38 other displays of various sizes throughout the 6,200-square-foot facility, so that every seat gets a great view of multiple screens. That part seemed easy enough. But when the restaurant's mandate expanded to include individual control by the booths' patrons of the DirecTV satellite content on each screen, things could have become complicated. Putting patrons in control and keeping it simple are key for a state-of-the-art sports bar. But when is anything simple?
BW&R is a 40-location chain of sports restaurants that is expanding at an astounding rate of one new restaurant per week. It's known for employing high technology in its operations, including online ordering and e-mail marketing. The chain believes each patron should have his or her choice of TV programming, which is why they wanted so many monitors in their restaurants.
"There were some solutions for getting a modulated HDTV source to each booth's display, but they were costly and not completely solid-state, so they needed [cooling] fans and there would be reliability issues," explains Vinny Barber, AVI eConsulting's president. "With satellite TV, every video display would need its own receiver unless you modulated the receiver, and up until then there wasn't a cost-effective way to do that."
Barber says his curiosity was piqued by Contemporary Research's QMOD-HD modulator, which can distribute HD AV, Component, or NTSC video; convert the audio and video to a digital cable channel; and amplify the signal for distribution through a broadband cable system without the need for matrix routers or IP resources. And the modulators could do it for under $2,400 per unit.
Barber decided on 10 QMOD-HD units, one for each of the DirecTV sports channels patrons would be able to choose from. "They're rack-mounted and it takes about 45 seconds to program each one for the channels you want," Barber says. "Everything else works from the preset defaults. You set the channels and you're done."
The 10 QMOD-HD units were connected via SPC RG6 coaxial cabling to an equal number of DirecTV receivers. An eleventh receiver was wired to the bar's juke box and its distributed audio system.
An autosensing port on the juke box senses when music is selected from the XM channels piped in by DirecTV, or from pay-per-view-type televised events, and distributed throughout the restaurant. But such a setup raised the issue of synchronization between the juke box audio and the distributed video. It turned out the processing and reprocessing done by the QMOD-HDs would add about 1.5 milliseconds to the video signal, causing it to lag behind the distributed sound. The solution was to place a Behringer Shark DSP in line for the audio and set the appropriate delay time. (The booth displays use the speakers in the LCD screens, so synchronization wasn't an issue for those TVs.)
Cabling the video presented its own challenges. The installation used over 6,000 feet of Structured Cable Products (SPC) RG6 coaxial cable, as well as Cat-5 wire for data and telephone communications, including a Mitel four-line phone and point-of-sale system.
The video security system uses SPC RG59 cabling running among the 13 Hunt HTC 76N29 IR cameras covering the restaurant, bar area, and office, connected to an EverFocus EDR 1603 DVR.
But the biggest concern was getting the signal from the DirecTV satellite dish atop the nine-story building to the restaurant, which is located below a ground-level building parking lot.
"It was really closer to nine and three-quarters stories away, since the disk was mounted on top of the elevator housing on the roof," says AVI eConsulting's Barber. "We couldn't do that over RG6; we needed RG11, which was like running garden hose nine floors down to the restaurant."
But there was a chase waiting for it in the form of low-voltage conduit already in place along a support column that ran the length of the building. AVI eConsulting added SPC indoor/outdoor-rated RG11 cable, boosted by a Spaun WBA-425F DirecTV Four-Way Wide Band Amplifier.
The cabling challenges didn't end on the inside, either. Under the parking lot, the restaurant had concrete support struts 3 to 4 feet above its dropped ceiling. That was addressed by suspending cable conduit from eye hooks drilled into the concrete using J-hooks and caddy straps. The same concrete cocoon also affected video display mounting.
Barber chose Atdec Telehook TH-3070-CTB and Telehook TH-3070-CTB-B2B mounts, which he says are a good solution for single- and double-pole-mount situations. Cars rumbling above would create vibration, so at each joint Barber used four RedHead fasteners, which have a flange that expands, molly bolt-style, into the concrete.
However, the parking lot also has planed ramps between levels and that meant that the ceilings changed height in certain places. Barber added washers behind each mount in order to offset the slight ceiling angles.
Samsung (www.samsung.com) PN58B530 58-inch plasma TV PN50C450 50-inch plasma TV 33 PN42B450 42-inch plasma TVs 3 LN26B350 26-inch LCD TVs 17 LN19B360 19-inch LCD TVs
DirecTV (www.directv.com) HD 5 LNB satellite dish 10 H22-200 HD satellite receivers
EverFocus (www.everfocus.com) EDR 1603 16-channel DVR
Photo: Jason Boyer
JVL Corp. (www.jvl.ca) JVL Vortex countertop touchscreen game system
Universal Remote Control (www.universalremote.com) MX-950 remote control 2 MRF-350 remote base stations
Contemporary Research (www.crwww.com) 10 QMOD-HD HDTV modulators
Behringer (www.behringer.com) Behringer Shark DSP110 multifunction signal processor
Pico Macom (www.picomacom.com) Pico Macom CA-30RK1000 headend launch 30-dB amp
R.L. Drake (www.rldrake.com) Drake AC1686 active combiner
Spaun USA (www.spaunshop.com) WBA-425F DirecTV four-way wide band amplifier
Atdec (www.atdec.com) Various Telehook TH-3070-CTB, TH-3070-CTB-B2B ceiling mounts
Premier Mounts (www.premiermounts.com) 3 Premier AM2 LCD arm mounts
SnapAV (www.snapav.com) 3 Strong SM-F-L large fixed mounts 6 Strong SM-CS-ART2-L contractor series universal dual-arm articulating mounts
17 Strong SM-CS-ART1-M Contractor Series universal single-arm articulating mounts
4 Episode PR-11-LIGHT 11-outlet lighted power racks (2160 joules, 58-db EMI/RFI, 15A
GE Security (www.gesecurity.com)
NetworX NX-6 security system