Using RF for HD Distribution on a Mega-Yacht

September 9th, 2011 in Case Studies

When the owners of a 115-meter private yacht decided to refit their AV/IT network for HD content, they were already well on their way. Triton Technical, a Seattle-based systems integrator that specializes in mega yachts, had already performed many upgrades, including an AV/IT integration three years prior and display device upgrades as part of an ongoing service agreement.

The owners were already comfortable with their AMX/Crestron control infrastructure, which interfaces with a system that covers 20+ private cabins, public guest areas, and private crew cabins. The yacht’s radio room had ample room for what would become five racks—a rarity on a luxury yacht.

The key to the upgrade would be the distribution system to handle the HD content. “We had two very different options,” says Jeremy Mikkola, operational sales director for Triton Technical. “One approach would have been a full retrofit of the interior and distribution infrastructure (installation of new fiber and interconnects), costing several millions and consuming lots of time during the peak of the yachting season—and that’s assuming it was even possible, many times these ships have structural elements that make it difficult to do certain changes.”

This led Triton Technical to arrive at a solution that took advantage of the ship’s existing coax: Contemporary Research’s QMOD-HD modulator with 232-ATSC HDTV tuners. For about $150K, 5-10 percent the cost of a full retrofit , Triton Technical delivered a 1080i distribution solution using the existing outdated analog modulation daisy-chained SD coaxial infrastructure.

Twelve of the ship’s media locations use Contemporary Research 232-ATSC universal HDTV tuners with Panasonic Professional Displays while others use legacy PAL displays with built-in PAL tuners for non-HDTV content. The system reuses the original distributed coaxial network with the addition of SPAUN DMS multi-switches connected to 20 sat receivers, which are connected to their own QMOD-HD. Using AMX programming and QMOD-HD functionality, the system assigns receivers to a specific destination. Audio —via QSC amplifiers with Velodyne and B&W speakers and subwoofers—and video passes through a QMOD-HD modulator and becomes a digital 1080i TV channel decoded in the actual room for the end users viewing pleasure.

The Contemporary Research QMOD-HD is a 1RU HDTV modulator for distributing the output of an HD satellite receiver to any number of display over existing RF cabling. VGA sources can also be connected for RF distribution to digital signage displays. The QMOD can output resolutions of 720p and 1080i from component and VGA sources. It can also handle composite or S-Video at 480i. Integrates with RS-232 control and feedback via ASCII.

Click here to view the article in Sound and Video Contractor "AV Distribution for a Private Mega Yacht"