Featured in CE Pro November 2014
Magnolia Design Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.
By: Arlen Schweiger
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MEGA VIDEO DISTRIBUTION OPPORTUNITY
This 19,000-square-foot residence in Newport Beach, Calif., features more than 30 TVs (pictured, the den is one of several rooms with a 60-inch flat panel complemented by two 26-inchers), but before the client approached Costa Mesa Magnolia Design Center the video was hardly state of the art. Bringing everything up to speed turned into an impressive three-week job that also included installing a new Savant control system; a theater renovation incorporating Stewart Filmscreen’s StarGlas; comprehensive wiring cleanup and replacement of five Middle Atlantic rack systems; a Ruckus managed Wi-Fi system; and swapping most TVs to Samsung HD models that could be controlled via RS-232. “The house was built approximately 12 years ago and when it was constructed, the wiring was a mixture of RG6, Cat 5 and 16-gauge cabling for a distributed audio system. Distributed video was not a feature installed into homes built around that period,” says Magnolia Audio-Video engineering manager David Barnett. “The client was aware the system design was behind the times, so to speak, and asked us if it was possible to bring the entire DirecTV system up to high-definition.” Another goal was to reduce the number of set-top boxes while also making the tuners/DVRs available to all displays.
SOLUTION TAKES A COMMERCIAL TWIST
According to Barnett, the home didn’t have enough Cat 5 run to distribute the video by HDMI matrix switcher and HDBaseT extender technology, so they turned to RF modulation. With this many displays perhaps unsurprisingly Magnolia implemented a commercial-grade solution, which it had discovered at InfoComm 2013 —QAM modulation from Contemporary Research. The resulting video system tally included eight sources: five DirecTV DVRs, two DirecTV tuners and a CCTV camera DVR, with each source modulated using Contemporary Research’s QMOD HD modulator/encoder. The distribution system also has a QCA9-33 8:1 active combiner and a number of 232 ATSC+1 demodulators for older plasma TVs lacking internal QAM tuners, according to Barnett. “We tested two or three[QAM RF modulators] over the years and in each case we were disappointed with the picture quality,” Barnett says. “[With CR] the video signal at the TV was free from the common artifacting we’d seen with other similarly priced QAM modulators.”