For a friend's bar

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Sporg
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For a friend's bar

Postby Sporg » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:20 pm

Okay, this one is a bit funky. A friend of mine recently contacted me. He's opening a new bar in about 6 weeks and wants to run TVs and audio off of a computer. So after some looking around here's the layout that I'm looking at.

For video I'm looking at throwing in 3 GT 240's (doesn't have to be these, but they seemed to fit what I am looking for).
1 will run a 15" LCD touchscreen behind the bar (I want this to be the front end interface)
1 will run to an 1x8 HDMI splitter/extender (think of this as zone 1) - shadow dancers or some sort of graphic looping
1 will run to an 1x8 HDMI splitter/extender (think of this as zone 2) - some form of "liquid audio" that pulses to the music

Audio
1 RCA out that will feed mono to the audio system

The idea here is to have around 16 flat panel TVs with "mood" graphics for the club side of the bar.

So I'm looking for a front end that does:
1) Touch screen friendly and ability to display front end on this screen only
2) Ability to run and control multiple video cards and have independent video feeds to each
3) This is optional - We need long playlist support that won't bog down the system.

As far as the computer hardware goes I'm looking at a quad core setup with around 4 GB RAM. I was thinking of running two hard drives, with the ability to add more in the future. 1 drive would be the OS and the programs, the 2nd would be for audio/video files. Like I posted above, 3 vid cards and 1 audio card. I'm not so concerned about the hardware, but depending on OS and front end limitations this can be changed.

OS suggestions? MCE or would XP Pro work fine? I want something that is stable and this machine will not be on the Net at all (other than initial config and load). A front end over XP Pro was my thinking, but I am flexible if MCE can handle what I need. I also plan on making some sort of work log for this, since it's kind of interesting.
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby Sporg » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:51 pm

Well, I was unable to find a front end that could do everything I want. I assume that's why there was zero input from the community. I did find a piece of software that I figure I could share.

Ultramon - This has worked good so far to get everything going. Makes managing multiple video signals pretty easy and smooth. There's a free version out there and a pay version if you are a business using it. Lots of settings and configuration options. Well worth a look if you are running multiple video outs.

For sound I'm using a device called a Windy6 by Infrasonic (Auzentech). I had a hell of a time getting this to work the way I wanted. For our setup we want a device to be cable of passing multiple input signals out to an amp that is daisy chained to 2 other amps. The Windy6 comes with a fair amount of software. This thing is really designed to be used with musical/midi/mic devices, but also has the ability to use audio from a PC (or Mac I believe). The drivers that come with it may work on a normal device, but didn't do squat for me with Win 7 Pro x64. Specifically I wanted to use the PC as the audio source and pass everything to the box via firewire. I had no luck getting this to work initially. I tried the manual which is a 25 page PDF that is a freaking joke and their support is non-existent. I still have a trouble ticket open with them from last week and not a single response or update. I never did find a toll free tech support line either.

I did find a firmware and driver upgrade on their website. To update the firmware they want you to use a 32bit OS. They also want you to use drivers previous to the 4.4 version. I took the box home and used one of my Win XP 32 bit boxes that had a firewire port. I used the 4.3 drivers off of the website and then performed the firmware upgraded. After the upgrade I loaded the 4.6 drivers (newest as of right now) and it seems to have worked. The control panel for the device got a major facelift and it appears that I am now able to send audio through the device via firewire. I'm going back to the site tomorrow and will hook it back up.

So if everything works (which it should now) we'll have all of the songs coming out of the PC into the device via firewire. We'll have a run from the cable box into the device, a permanent line for the DJ to tie into, and a line for a receiver to tie into.

For video I went with 3 XFX GT240's. I have a VGA line running to a 15" touch screen behind the bar, a line to a 19" LCD in the basement for troubleshooting and maintenance. I have an HDMI out to a 2x8 splitter that will show shadow dancing on 6 tv's with capacity for 2 more. I have another HDMI out to another 2x8 splitter for visualizations. Right now I think we're going to use g-force, but we may change that.

Each splitter has 2 inputs and 8 outputs. We will have a cable box running to each. We won't show TV in this part of the bar except during March madness when KU (yes I'm a Jayhawk) goes to the tournament. The downtown area is freaking nuts during this time and it would be silly not to be open for those games.

The only video hangup that I've had so far is the 15" touch screen. I'm trying to get it to be the only device to display a screen saver. It would be a good place to show drink specials behind the bar and help out with the general effect. I'm also working on a manual to help the staff out. This is a new place and they're still putting the staff together, so hopefully I can get this going early this week. Oh, for the touch I am using a 15" Planar (can't remember the model # now) that works fairly well.

I'll try to get some pics taken to show you guys what I've been working on. It's been a pretty fun project so far, even with the headaches.
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby DMB2000uk » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:27 pm

I had a look round when you first posted but couldn't find anything that you wanted. I guess I forgot to reply after giving up looking :axe:

Glad that you managed to find a solution.

Looking forward to the pictures.

Dan
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby Sporg » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:31 pm

Thanks, Dan. I spent quite a bit of time downloading and testing things out. I found a few potential options, but they were all packages from companies that do stuff like this for others. So, in-house software that they won't let you buy! lol Anyway, the idea was simplicity for whoever has to set it up on the nights it will be in use was my goal and hopefully I've done that.
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby Sporg » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:11 pm

Here are some shots of the bar and how it turned out. There are two sides to this sucker. The first side is the "Pub" side that is open 7 days a week. The other side is the "Tonic" side which is open 3 nights a week and features a DJ. We can also play audio through the PC and into the amps.

Pub Side
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Tonic Side
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Some of the hardware:
I put in (2) 2x8 HDMI splitter boxes. I can run two video channels and feed up to 8 TVs on each. We're pushing 720P through for visualizations and what not. We have an HD cable box down in the basement that is currently setup to feed both boxes should the need arise.
Image
Image

I need a more recent shot of the PC. We had almost no time to setup and test which meant a very dusty work environment. I've been in there constantly trying to keep that sucker clean. It's getting a lot better now though, so I should be able to just clean it monthly.
Image
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby DMB2000uk » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:25 pm

Looks good :)

What software did you end up going with?

Dan
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby Sporg » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:36 pm

I never was able to find an all-in-one piece of software.

OS - Win7 Pro - 64bit
Audio Software - Traktor Pro (DJ software by Native Instruments)
Visualizer - G-Force -- still working through some issues with this
WMP 12 - have a playlist that runs a mix of shadow dancers.

Two of the 3 managers didn't like Traktor so one put Winamp on and the other put iTunes on. I'm working through an issue now that began last week where the audio will basically crash. I don't know if it's related to Winamp or iTunes but we'll see. I'm going back down there tonight to try and recreate the issue again. I'm leaning towards DPC being my problem, but won't know for sure until I can run the system for a while. I'm kind of annoyed because the PC was rock solid and had zero issues. It should be running fairly light because I didn't install a lot of gunk. I don't know if one of the guys installed something or what. I'm considering locking down the "general use" profile. The owner is on board with whatever I decide.

[Edit - For the multi-monitor solution I ended up going with Display Fusion. It worked a bit better for this than Multimon. I also had to run the video channels feeding the TVs at 59Hz. We have a mix of new and old and it was the only way to get everything on the same page.]
Last edited by Sporg on Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby Darkstar » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:06 pm

Looks good! Is that the Mass St. Pub?

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Re: For a friend's bar

Postby Sporg » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:18 pm

Yep
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
~Bertrand Russell


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