When faced with the daunting task of retrofitting an existing 10,000 square-foot residential space with an assortment of existing equipment, integrator Digital Horizons turned to RTI's innovative line of control interfaces and processors to provide an incredibly powerful, yet easy to use, A/V automation system. Featuring RK3-V in-wall controllers and XP-8s processors, the design team was able to re-integrate and re-design an efficient system incorporating the latest in A/V technologies.
8 RK3-V in-wall controllers
4 RM433 RF antennas
T3-V+ wireless controller
Working to retrofit an existing A/V system with a hodge-podge of switching and IR routing throughout a 10,000 square-foot residential space is not an easy job, but the team at Digital Horizons, LLC was more than up to the task. The existing installation and automation control in this Brainerd, Minnesota residence not only needed to be updated, but the client wanted to integrate new technology as well, including HDMI-switching capability to utilize full 1080p video where available, the integration of an existing Apple TV® (with a hard drive full of music), and a new Apple TV® for AirPlay® capability. Digital Horizons knew they could depend on the power of RTI to get the job done while providing the client with a user-friendly experience.
“The previous system included an older component video based switching system and utilized a mix of RTI and Sonance control interfaces to operate 23 zones of audio and 15 zones of video – it was a mess,” said Chris Schucker, owner of Digital Horizons, LLC. “One of the client’s main concerns was having a control system that everyone in the family could easily use, especially with the amount and diversity of components in the system.”
Digital Horizons incorporated two RTI XP-8s control processors, which provided improved programming flexibility and handling of the execution of system commands throughout the system. The integrator also replaced the eight existing Sonance® keypads with RTI’s RK-3V 3.5 inch in-wall touchpanel keypads as a means to give the client a more user-friendly, intuitive experience. In addition, the integrator used the client’s existing T2+ handheld controllers in the attached and detached garages and a T3V handheld remote in the Theater Room, adding flexibility to the system and providing immediate access to the technology incorporated in the home.”
Obviously, the size and scope of a retrofit project of this magnitude presented some unique challenges. In extending the HDMI video to a detached garage, the design team encountered two problems. First, the Cat5 wiring had been compromised and was too short for the HDBaseT extender that was being incorporated into the design. The team solved this by utilizing an RG6 extension kit that was capable of going the nearly 400 feet between the equipment rack and the detached garage. Another solution to cope with the size of the project was to install an RTI ZM24 ZigBee® Transceiver Module and multiple RM433 antennas throughout the house in inconspicuous locations to improve reliability when using the handheld controllers.
For convenience sake, on the kitchen’s RK-3V keypad, Digital Horizons placed a “whole system off” button on the home page so when the family leaves, they can literally shut off every connected system with one simple press of a button. This example of ease of use was not lost on the client. Additionally, every room in the house has either a handheld controller or keypad featuring the same familiar home page with a simple menu of sources available for use. This simplified accessing what the client wanted to watch or listen to, without them having to scroll through multiple pages. In addition, when a particular zone is turned off, the touchpanel keypads automatically show the current weather conditions. Another convenience achieved through flexible and intuitive programming is the sharing of DIRECTV® receivers between selected locations in the home, which reduces the amount of active receivers on the customer’s account.
One of the most unique features Digital Horizons provided was re-incorporating a pre-existing CCTV camera system into the video HDMI matrix, so the security cameras were viewable on not only the small security monitors that were previously installed to the side of the primary televisions in each room, but also on a few televisions in the home that stand alone. Because of the versatility of the RTI system, the integrator was able to provide the client with the ability to turn those small monitors on/off individually and also the convenience that when they turned off the room, the small monitor would also be turned off.
“Everyone in the family enjoys the simplicity and ease of use of the controllers compared to the old system and are delighted by the clear differences a full update and upgrade to an RTI control system provides,” said Schucker. “They're big users of Apple TV and let us know how nice it is to have everything available to them in any room and on the televisions for on-screen display.”
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