“I want the biggest TV that will fit in the elevator and 3 smaller TVs above for my US sports.”
A massive 4 TV combination that is surprisingly easy to use. It took our client 30 seconds to understand the logic of the remote control thanks to the great work of Glen Falkiner. See below under “Controlling it all” for details on Glen’s wizardry.
From Start to Finish:
With the work we get to do, we sometimes have clients with great vision and excitement for their systems (not to mention a realistic budget). It is truly a fun and rewarding experience as technicians and craftsmen to bring a vision to life. In this project we were asked to “GO BIG” so we looked at many options.
Projection vs. TV:
Projection was the first option because we could go HUGE without having to fit a TV in the elevator. Oh, did I mention this condo is on the 40th floor of a downtown tower? Not the easiest to coordinate a massive TV. If you look back at some of our older projects, we installed the first Panasonic 103″ Plasma ($71,000 CAD at the time) but that was on the main floor of a large home north of Toronto. As long as it was under 9′ high, we could get it in the doors. This request was much tougher…logistically, physically and technically.
Our client didn’t want projection because we also had to build in a group of upper TVs to showcase above the main TV and we had direct sunlight from a large bay of windows coming from the West.
So, 1 large TV and a group of smaller TVs above. We were also asked to encase the entire setup in a custom cabinet system instead of just mounting everything on the wall.
Here was the space after 5 years of use when the condo was originally built.
There was already a 5.1 surround sound system with rear in-ceiling speakers and a SONY 65″ HDTV.
We sat down with one of our partners, Shawn Pinarreta, from Rosedale Kitchens to figure out what we could fit in the existing space. Originally we discussed just adding 3 or 4 TVs above this existing setup then we settled on going as large as possible using an Ultra HDTV from LG. The 84″ 9600 4K TV. We knew that TV was going to be difficult to fit in the elevator but we were determined.
Next was trying to figure out what could fit above the TV without knocking down walls or going too high. We settled on 3 x 46″ Samsung 8000 series TVs. We evaluated using ultrathin edge commercial displays but it was more affordable to use the 8000 consumer models and that left us with 1/2″ overall so we had to be exact.
Here’s what the CAD looked like with the cabinet and TVs exact measurements.
We found ourselves managing difficult logistics getting the equipment up to the 40th floor as well as the cabinets. All of the cabinets were per-assembled at the shop and then disassembled to bring on site in manageable pieces. Our biggest issue was on the day of the cabinet deliver was having 2 of the 3 elevators down and trying not to disrupt the tenants by tying up the elevators. It took a few hours more than it should but in the end we had everything installed in a single day with final touches and temporary shelving ready for the equipment. (our final shelves needed to be stained as we ran out of matching stain on the first batch).
Once the cabinets were installed we were ready to start assembling the equipment.
Amazing work from team. Thanks to Mark Fokkens and Petar Petrovic for their incredible attention to detail. They put this entire system together in less than 2 days.
- 3 x 46″ Samsung F8000
- 1 x 84″ LG 9600
- Re-installed the client’s existing KEF surround sound speaker package with a Sunfire 8″ Subwoofer. All front speakers to be located in the lower cabinets behind speaker cloth
- Marantz SR5008 AV receiver
- 4 x Rogers HD PVR cable boxes
- 1 x AppleTV
- 1 x PS4
- 1 x XBOX One
- Key Digital 6×6 video matrix. This is the most significant piece of the equation for controlling and distributing the video in an intuitive manner.
- 2 x Panamax MR4003
Controlling it all
- MX-890 Universal Remote from URC
- MSC-400 Base Station
- Now that we have our components in place, it was time to make it easy to use. We have 6 sources connected to the matrix (everything except the Apple TV).
- Our universal remote had to be able to easily control any TV, swap any 2 sources on any 2 TVs and then control the proper device. If you’ve ever programmed remotes, you will know this is a mind bender.
- URC has some easy to build macros but 2 key things make this system re:
- RS-232 from the MSC-400 to the 6×6 Matrix. Without RS-232 we would have delays and macros would be prone to errors.
- Video sensing from the MSC to each Rogers box. Rogers boxes have always (I still scratch my head about this) used a single POWER command instead of discrete ON/OFF functions. That means we would never really know what the state of the device was in when trying to execute commands. Without video sensing, you are looking at PRESS and PRAY commands. Our MSC-400 knows exactly the state of the boxes and can therefore execute the power commands for reliable control.
We finally have everything installed and continue with our programming. It took us about 18 hours of programming and testing to get the system ready for our client’s hands.
While we did that Shawn was installing the cabinet doors and final touches on the cabinets.
We are finally ready for the system demo.
Our client took less than 30 seconds to catch on to our logic for control. That made us all smile.
He was smiling from ear to ear as he watched 3 college basketball games while his friend played the new NBA game on the PS4.
Let the games begin!!!!