Small venue video distribution

Marlow Wilson

Junior
Jan 11, 2011
305
0
16
Montreal/Ottawa
So here is the dilemma,



Small venue (Campus Bar), across two rooms.







Yellow marks the cable box, red the monitors/screen.



The main room currently has two HD cable boxes and a scaler for the live video guys who come in on the big DJ nights.



HD boxes are component video to the two plasma's across from the circular bar, and the scaler and S-video out of the cable box runs into a Kramer SD matrix switcher which can also send the low-res content to the plasma's.



This is basically a legacy S-video backbone with upgraded component feeds from when the Plasmas were installed.



The back room has a single cable box directly to both TV's and the two rooms are not tied together at all. The desired outcome is somewhat flexible, and I'm currently in the process of pulling Cat cable for networking and a Soundweb which is going into the back room for audio, and I figure I might take a crack and making the video system better too.



The ultimate goal would be to integrate everything as it is for the audio, but I doubt there is the budget for that and the formats seem to change too quickly to make that a wise investment given the modest needs.



The most basic goal would be to allow everything to be controlled centrally, but I know HDCP (or whatever the current crop of DRM is) compliance makes this challenging. The video guys can for now do everything in SD without issue, but I'm trying to come up with something that doesn't require running 5 or more cable boxes. I also don't want to buy something that is expensive but won't work with modern laptops for presentation hookups but I fear that may be where things are headed.



Any insight?



Sorry if I missed any obvious and necessary details. If it helps, running cables to and from just about everywhere is not an issue.
 

Charles Harrigan

Sophomore
Jan 11, 2011
188
0
16
Upstate SC
Re: Small venue video distribution

Heres what i know about digital display encryption systems:



HDCP is a content protection system that uses a twisted pair for the checking of a encryption key known as a handshake. HDCP is built in to the HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI systems, as well as some proposed display protocols.



Since they are currently using a system based on component video, you don't have to worry about HDCP as there is no HDCP over component video. This is why stores use component video for their in store displays. You simply plug the display into the distribution amp and it works. Also if they required HDCP over component video, people with pre-HDMI televisions would be unable to see HD content on their televisions. If you used commercial tuners the output solely over HDMI you would have a maximum of 16 displays per tuner (that limit is determined by the HDCP protocol).



I think you would only need a switcher/scaler that accepts s-video, component, and VGA input and outputs in either VGA or component video. You would then most likely need a distribution amp and/or a video balun system to get the signal to the displays. You could have input plates wherever the dj's set up and wherever you foresee people needing to display video content in the future.



Do the current displays have VGA inputs?
 

Marlow Wilson

Junior
Jan 11, 2011
305
0
16
Montreal/Ottawa
Re: Small venue video distribution

Do the current displays have VGA inputs?



The two older displays were taken out of service in the main bar and moved to the back where they see less use. They are both VGA equipped but are just temporarily hooked up to an old SD cable box.



The projector is new and will accept just about anything and new cabling must be run for it regardless. I was likely going to build some redundancy into whatever I run.



The newer TV's I'll have to check into, but I think they may be component/HDMI only. They are currently wired with the component directly into the cable box. I was actually the one who ran the component because at the time HDMI was in its infant stage and I hated it anyways. Looking into the future though, it looks like laptops are starting to have HDMI outputs. It's this future compatibility that makes me fearful of jumping into buying a scaler that will soon be outdated.



I actually bought a component distribution amp when I first installed the TV's (6 or 7 years ago) but it caused more problems than it solved and the direct connection has been fine. At the time those two TV's were the only HD sources in the bar, but there are now four of them and the HD projector.



What switcher/scaler would work well for a handful of inputs and outputs do yo think?



Not every TV needs to be on its own (ie if the back screens are paired it's not an issue, and likewise the projector and one of the bar TV's could be the same as well).



Thanks for the response!



Marlow





 

Stuart Høgg

Sophomore
Jan 12, 2011
109
0
0
Glasgow, Scotland
Re: Small venue video distribution

I hate to throw a potential spanner in the works, however I remember reading (on Gary Kayye's email newsletter I think) that some cable receivers were having the picture resolution of the component outputs restricted. Apparently it made sense for the cable company to try to force people onto HDMI, as this allowed them to limit the amount of output devices being used. In some cases, this restriction had been retrospectively applied via a firmware update, crippling some installations that used component for distribution.



If it's important that the installation is HD, it could be worthwhile double-checking that the cable receiver will actually provide that from the component outputs.
 

Brad Weber

Junior
Jan 12, 2011
417
1
0
Marietta, GA
www.museav.com
Re: Small venue video distribution

I hate to throw a potential spanner in the works, however I remember reading (on Gary Kayye's email newsletter I think) that some cable receivers were having the picture resolution of the component outputs restricted. Apparently it made sense for the cable company to try to force people onto HDMI, as this allowed them to limit the amount of output devices being used. In some cases, this restriction had been retrospectively applied via a firmware update, crippling some installations that used component for distribution.



If it's important that the installation is HD, it could be worthwhile double-checking that the cable receiver will actually provide that from the component outputs.

That sounds like the 'analog sunset' issue, for which the intent is to prevent high definition copying of the content. Apparently the Blu-Ray standard requires that all Blu-Ray players sold after 12/31/2010 restrict the analog output of the players with AACS protected content to 480i/576i SD resolution. And that players manufactured after 12/31/2013 disable the analog outputs with such content. So the standard is limited to AACS encrypted content, which is primarily commercial releases, and the limitations would be enabled by a flag in the content.



However, the standards also do not prohibit manufacturers from including such limitations prior to those dates or for all content. They also do not say that this approach is limited to Blu-Ray players. At first there was apparently some discussion that the same technology would be incorporated into cable and satellite boxes, but that ran into a problem for cable providers as they are required by Federal law to be able to provide an SD resolution signal. However, that does not necessarily mean they have to support component outputs and they could limit the devices to composite video or RF outputs.



There are ways to address a centralized system with multiple video formats both in and out, including those with HDCP, but these solutions are rather expensive. Is there a budget goal for this?
 

Marlow Wilson

Junior
Jan 11, 2011
305
0
16
Montreal/Ottawa
Re: Small venue video distribution

Is there a budget goal for this?



No fixed budget. I am the managing director of the company which is owned by the student union, so I have some discretion, though obviously don't wont to waste money.



The current system works and I can easily add more HD cable boxes and run HDMI to the projector for protected content playback. I was just venturing out there to see if there was a reasonable solution to tie everything together as you can imagine having 5+ cable terminals gets messy when you want to change the channel, or when a staffmember turns subtitles on or changes other settings trying to fix some other 'problem'.



If the ease of use doesn't outweigh the cost than it's not worth it. For reference, we installed three Soundweb's and and several programmable remotes which has greatly simplified the audio side of the operation. This improvement has me looking for similar opportunities for the video and lighting systems. I got the Soundwebs and remotes used and buying the same system new would have been out of budget.



I know the formats in video make it complex and expensive which is why I sought out the advice.



Thanks,



Marlow
 

Brad Weber

Junior
Jan 12, 2011
417
1
0
Marietta, GA
www.museav.com
Re: Small venue video distribution

What I used for several more recent systems were the Crestron DigitalMedia products. There are a number of different products but perhaps the most flexible are modular matrix switchers that have a number of direct connect or remote connect I/O port options. What makes these so handy is that a) there is a wide variety of input and output options, b) remote input or output connections can be addressed via one (proprietary and limited in distance) cable and c) it handles all the format conversion, HDCP issues, etc. One of those with an associated compact control system processor and control panel can make for a very flexible and simple to operate system. But as I said, this comes at a price including having to address the programming of the system.
 

Josh Millward

Junior
Aug 22, 2011
276
2
18
Meridian, MS
Re: Small venue video distribution

I would not waste my time with either the S-Video, Component, or VGA distribution methods. All are going away in a sooner fashion rather than later.

If you are putting in Soundweb, surely you are also putting in a way to control it, right? Crestron? AMX? Cue? something else?

I highly recommend that you look at the video distribution and switching products from Just Add Power, specifically their products listed for meeting rooms:
http://www.justaddpower.com/index.php/vmchk/Meeting-Rooms/View-all-products.html

This will give you the ease of running an Ethernet cable from a central location to each screen and you can program the control system you are using to manage the audio system to also manage the video distribution. The Just Add Power solution gives you the distinct advantage of using HDMI I/O, yet removes the distance issues and allows HDCP to function in a better way than any HDMI matrix switcher that I have seen.

I've not used them myself, but I've heard good reports from people who have. I also have no financial stake in the company, but I like what they are doing with this product and would like to see it evolve.
 
Re: Small venue video distribution

I would not waste my time with either the S-Video, Component, or VGA distribution methods. All are going away in a sooner fashion rather than later.

RGBHV (VGA) isn't going anywhere soon, as far as I can tell. Something about maximum run lengths and no pesky HDCP to deal with. Not to mention the installed base.
 

Josh Millward

Junior
Aug 22, 2011
276
2
18
Meridian, MS
Re: Small venue video distribution

RGBHV (VGA) isn't going anywhere soon, as far as I can tell. Something about maximum run lengths and no pesky HDCP to deal with. Not to mention the installed base.

Well, if you really want to stick with VGA... here is another low cost distribution (not switching) method that no one has mentioned anything about yet:

Peavey VCAT-T Twisted Pair Transmitter:
Takes VGA in via HD-15 connector and provides two outputs on Ethercon connectors. Requires 15V power supply, not included.
http://www.peavey.com/products/accessories/power/index.cfm/item/117101/VCAT-TTransmitter.cfm

P
eavey VCAT-R Twisted Pair Receiver:
One Ethercon input and one Ethercon thru connectors to pass the VGA on twisted pair cable through the unit and on to another. HD-15 output to feed a display device. Includes knob to adjust equalization for cable loss. Requires 15V power supply, not included.
http://www.peavey.com/products/accessories/power/index.cfm/item/117100/VCAT-RReceiver.cfm

P
eavey VGA-2 Buffer Amplifier:
This is your basic VGA 1x2 buffer amplifier. All I/O is on HD-15 connectors. Requires 15V power supply, not included.
http://www.peavey.com/products/accessories/power/index.cfm/item/117102/VGA-2BufferAmplifier.cfm

P
eavey 15VDC Power supply for use with above items:
http://www.peavey.com/products/accessories/power/index.cfm/item/117105/PowerSupply15VoltDC.cfm

H
owever the real problem with this in the case of the original poster is that his initial sources are Cable TV boxes provided to him by his Cable TV provider. These do not have VGA outputs. The component outputs will likely be either disabled or reduced to 480i output by the cable company whenever that analog sunset B.S. is supposed to fall in.

There is not supposed to be a legal way to take the HDMI output and turn it into full 1080P HD over VGA because this would effectively strip the HDCP from the source... "They" don't want this to happen because "they" can not manage it, so everything that could do this is "illegal".

Installed video distribution is not even a consideration for the jack-wagons that come up with this crap. I'm waiting for the day that they want to install some really killer HD video distribution in their own facility and they suddenly find themselves on the wrong end of their stupid laws. I will certainly cherish that day.
 
Last edited:

Brad Weber

Junior
Jan 12, 2011
417
1
0
Marietta, GA
www.museav.com
Re: Small venue video distribution

Well, if you really want to stick with VGA... here is another low cost distribution (not switching) method that no one has mentioned anything about yet:
Josh, is there any technical or support information for those products? There did not seem to be any referenced in the links provided.

However the real problem with this in the case of the original poster is that his initial sources are Cable TV boxes provided to him by his Cable TV provider. These do not have VGA outputs. The component outputs will likely be either disabled or reduced to 480i output by the cable company whenever that analog sunset B.S. is supposed to fall in.

There is not supposed to be a legal way to take the HDMI output and turn it into full 1080P HD over VGA because this would effectively strip the HDCP from the source... "They" don't want this to happen because "they" can not manage it, so everything that could do this is "illegal".

Installed video distribution is not even a consideration for the jack-wagons that come up with this crap. I'm waiting for the day that they want to install some really killer HD video distribution in their own facility and they suddenly find themselves on the wrong end of their stupid laws. I will certainly cherish that day.
That may be a bit of an overreaction. The Analog Sunset timeline already started at the end of last year, which is when devices sold after that time had to have the analog outputs limited to SD resolution, although many devices manufactured before that were also compliant. The next big step is at the end of 2013 when the analog outputs on compliant devices will be disabled. However, in assessing the potential impact of the Analog Sunset it is critical to understand that it relates only to Blu-Ray players, either standalone or in computers/laptops, and only to AACS encrypted content. It does not apply to other devices or unencrypted content. Many cable and satellite boxes were envisioned to apply the same approach to protect HD content until the FCC upheld the Federal law prohibiting disabling the analog outputs. As it is, cable and satellite receivers may include similar technologies in their receivers but they are applied by the providers and limited to specific content such as pay-per-view and Video on Demand new releases and to limited time periods. See the following for additional information:

http://media.extron.com/download/files/whitepaper/analog_sunset.pdf

http://www.crwww.com/PDF/AnalogSunset.pdf

http://www.blondertongue.com/UserFiles/file/.../Tutorial_Analog Sunset.pdf


What is actually of more concern to me are some of the approaches to DRM being applied by Apple. For example, activating HDCP on their recent laptops when connected to any HDCP compliant device even if the content does not include the flag calling for content protection. I personally think this is the result of one party providing the hardware, software and content and using the hardware as a major component in protecting their content, apparently without caring how it affects anything else. Think of situations where if the initial device in the path is HDCP compliant but any device elsewhere in the path is not then being unable to address even unprotected content. Thank you Apple.

On the positive sides, I have heard of current efforts by several major players to develop a 'pro' variation of HDCP to be licensed for devices used in commercial/professional applications.
 

Josh Millward

Junior
Aug 22, 2011
276
2
18
Meridian, MS
Re: Small venue video distribution

Josh, is there any technical or support information for those products? There did not seem to be any referenced in the links provided.

Well, obviously there is not any on the website. After all, who would want to look at that kind of thing??? This is Peavey MI we are talking about... :lol: specifications? you don't need no specifications, you just need pretty blue lights!!! hahaha!!!:lol: I'll poke around a bit and see what I can find... stay tuned for updates. :twisted: Oh, and incidentally, there are no LEDs at all on these boxes. ;-)


That may be a bit of an overreaction.

Good, I'm glad to hear that I may be over-reacting. Considering how small the market is for installed systems, the people making these rules just don't pay it any mind and assume that it will all magically be okay, somehow. I find this really irritating. Thanks for the links, though. I'll definitely have to spend some time perusing them.


What is actually of more concern to me are some of the approaches to DRM being applied by Apple. For example, activating HDCP on their recent laptops when connected to any HDCP compliant device even if the content does not include the flag calling for content protection. I personally think this is the result of one party providing the hardware, software and content and using the hardware as a major component in protecting their content, apparently without caring how it affects anything else. Think of situations where if the initial device in the path is HDCP compliant but any device elsewhere in the path is not then being unable to address even unprotected content. Thank you Apple.

Oh man... that is just completely insane.


On the positive sides, I have heard of current efforts by several major players to develop a 'pro' variation of HDCP to be licensed for devices used in commercial/professional applications.

This would be fantastic. Even better if it were to be a networked protocol that runs on an Ethernet infrastructure with standard network hardware.