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Sports Spectacular

RTI Brings Simplified Control to Las Vegas Sports Bar

Overview

Televised sports play a central role in the guest experience at both Blondies Sports Bar & Grill and DB’s Pong and Pool in Las Vegas. With a multitude of sources and displays at each location, control over the A/V systems is a major concern. Utilizing RTI solutions, Blondies and DB’s staff can access sources and displays independently, view live video from sources, and switch between games effortlessly from a simple and intuitive iPad®/iPhone® interface.

RTI Products Used:
  • XP-8 control processor (2)
  • PCM-8 port control module (12)
  • CB-8 connecting block (2)
  • vIRsa Mouse IR emitter (several)
  • RTiPanel App - iPad (3)
  • RTiPanel App - iPhone (1)

RTI Case studies available in PDF format

Located in the Miracle Mile Shops of the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Blondies Sports Bar & Grill has been voted one of the best sports bars in the country by MSN CityGuides and Gayot.com. Its nearby sister establishment, DB’s Pong and Pool, has the distinction of being the only billiards hall on the Las Vegas Strip. A common element to both hot spots is the televised sports that play a central role in the guest experience.

Blondies features more than 60 screens ranging in size from 32 inches to 12 feet. And while DB’s might be best known for its pool and beer pong, the 20,000-square-foot, two-story mega-bar is also loaded with screens of all sizes. In both locations, each display is connected to a number of A/V sources. At DB’s these include eight DIRECTV HD receivers, two HD cable boxes, an Apple® TV, and a DVD player. Blondies features 12 DIRECTV HD receivers, two HD cable boxes, an Apple TV, and an RTiDock from RTI, which allows staff to connect an iPod® easily to the bar’s distributed audio system.

With so many sources and displays, control over the A/V systems at Blondies and DB’s is a major concern. And while control solutions have always been featured in both establishments, what had been missing in each was a single cohesive platform with the power and sophistication for staff to access each source and display independently, allowing them to switch between games effortlessly. This all changed, however, when the control systems in both locations were upgraded to RTI to provide complete control from a simple and intuitive iPad®/iPhone® interface.

“In 2012, the owners of Blondies opened a new bar in Philadelphia and wanted to try out RTI control solutions in the new location, as they offered very advanced functionality at a low price point,” said Matthew Yealy, A/V manager/integrator for Blondies. “Everyone was impressed with RTI’s performance; particularly with the ease of use and reliability of the RTiPanel app for the iPad/iPhone. The RTI system was such a hit in Philadelphia that the decision was made to upgrade the systems in Blondies and DB’s in Vegas as well.”

RTI’s XP-8 control processor lies at the heart of the control systems in Blondies and DB’s. Ideal for large-scale and more advanced projects, the processor offers an abundance of advanced control interface options such as two-way RS-232, routable IR, relay control, and Ethernet control. Additionally, the unit incorporates an astronomical clock, allowing for time-based events and control. Each location features six RTI PCM-8 port control modules, a CB-8 connecting block, and vIRsa Mouse IR emitters to enable control over all sources from the XP-8.

Employees at Blondies and DB’s have complete control over the XP-8 processor and all connected electronic systems from the convenience of an iPad or iPhone via the RTiPanel app, which offers unique features such as full two-way feedback, dynamic scrolling lists, a completely customizable user interface, and more. Blondies purchased two RTiPanel licenses for use on iPads, while DB’s has one license for an iPhone and one for an iPad.

One unique aspect of the control systems at Blondies and DB’s is that Yealy was able to display live video from sources on the iPad interface. Due to their large size, both facilities utilize Video Storm CMX1616V video matrixes. Yealy took the unused composite output from the DIRECTV receivers and ran it to AXIS 241Q video servers that he added to the network, allowing the output from the DIRECTV HD receivers to be shown on the iPads in the same manner that surveillance video would. This turned out to be an integral control feature, as it allows staff to see what sports are playing at any given time and make adjustments on the fly, from anywhere in the bar.

“RTI’s ability to integrate seamlessly with third-party components was essential to the success of this installation, especially when it came to the Video Storm matrixes. RTI’s RS-232 control drivers made that integration simple,” added Yealy. “Since going live, the control systems have performed flawlessly and have proven to be very popular. The staff in both locations love using the iPad control and find it very intuitive. Even the patrons we have shown the interface to, have been completely blown away.”

"Since going live, the control systems have performed flawlessly and have proven to be very popular."

- Matthew Yealy
A/V manager/integrator for Blondies
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