Adtec Encoder Simplifies Digital Signage at Rose Garden

Before the 2009-10 season, the Portland Trailblazers fully committed to using digital signage for concession menus throughout the Rose Garden. However, the team quickly found itself with a conundrum: How could digital content be distributed to the 250-plus HD menu screens throughout the arena without cable run to or a server installed on every single monitor? The solution presented itself in the form of Adtec Digital’s HDMI2QAM encoder.

Sold exclusively through Toner Cable, the HDMI2QAM dual-channel, HD MPEG-2 broadcast-distribution encoder features built-in QAM modulation and RF upconversion. It automatically detects video and audio and then encodes, multiplexes, modulates, and upconverts two HDMI channels for distribution via coax cable.

“The unit [allows] the Trailblazers to distribute the signage throughout the whole facility on already existing coax,” says Matt O’Connor, who handled the Rose Garden sale for Toner.

The Trailblazers contracted Omnivex to create the content and the necessary software. The signage comprises highly customized food and beverage menus as well as promotional, advertising, and sponsorship content. A total of 26 branded channels of advertising and menu content run through the HDMI2QAM system.

“The team went with Omnivex for the content creation but still needed a way to distribute the signal throughout the arena from the IT closet,” says O’Connor. “The only cable they had run throughout the facility was coax, and running all new cable can be very costly and labor-intensive. As can putting a digital-signage piece on the back of all 250 televisions; I’ve never seen one of those for less than $1,000. This is a much more cost-effective way of getting your digital signage out there.”

After 15 HDMI2QAMs were purchased from Toner, an in-house crew integrated the system. The Omnivex software originates on Dell PCs and is sent to the 250 displays in 1920x1080p full-HD resolution.

“Rose Garden does all their own integration, which is common in a lot of these stadiums and arenas,” says O’Connor. “We do integration if they need, but it’s a great learning experience. They’ll be able to troubleshoot it for years to come, so they don’t have to rely on us every time there is a little glitch.”

HDMI2QAM units are also being used for digital signage as part of the massive renovations currently under way at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“We provided the Adtec HDMI2QAM units for MSG as well,” says O’Connor. “We sold them to the integrator who’s handling the project. If you were a stadium and you wanted these units, we’re the only place you can get them. I work hand and hand with Adtec’s engineers and technicians.”

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