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I thought that I was ahead of the game when I had two computer monitors on my desk. I would swipe content from one screen to the next. It was not only cool but efficient. After leaving municipal government work and making the transition to Shakatronics, I couldn’t help but wonder if multi-screening had similar benefits in the audio video entertainment industry. For starters … yes it does on multiple levels.

What it is and What it isn’t.

Multi-screening is not just having multiple TVs showing different parts of one video, that’s called a video wall and that’s for another blog. It is having multiple screens showing different sources. Whether different channels on each display from different Satellite of Cable providers, or Apple TV on the main screen and sports games on the others or gamers using two separate screens to play against each other. Multi-screen can be on one display showing multiple source views (TV or projector screen) or as many TVs as needed to display one source per TV.

The Basic Nuts and Bolts of a Multi-Screen Setup

I’ll keep it simple in explaining the basic components of a multi-screen setup. First you have the source (Cable box, Blu-ray player, Xbox, AppleTV). This connects to a video processor, typically a switch/matrix type processor, which is designed to take multiple source signals in, then process/manage/distribute the signals as necessary. Finally, a display. This can be a TV (or multiple TVs) or a projector and screen, as well as a combination of the two. This combination of sources, video processor and display medium can yield a result for business or entertainment purposes. To view multiple stock activities to make accurate purchases and sales of stock or gamers and sports enthusiasts at home or in a bar.

The Bar

Whether commercial or residential bar set-ups should always maximize viewing options. Guest should be able to watch multiple showings with sound. Just seeing the ticker at the bottom of the screen doesn’t do the anyone justice. When we do commercial bars, we educate the owners on spacing, television size and concentrated sound. There is no use having televisions that are too high, too low, too small or too big in a space for viewing comfort. Cheap under and/or oversized televisions with inadequate switchboards will cost you more two years later. I encourage our clients to pay for more up-front and give them warranties to ensure confidence in our work.

Residential bars follow similar rules. Sometimes a larger TV with multi-screen ability works better than multiple screens in a small environment. It’s about getting a feel for what the client really wants out of the space. Which brings me to one other commercial use… Signage.

Digital signage is often a missed opportunity for improvement that business owners should rethink. Digital signage can add beauty to a store while informing customers about a product. More and more commercial venues are changing from static to digital signage. The ease at which one can change pricing, sales, deals and information is not only efficient but effective. I must admit, the new interactive monitors are even more useful. They are commonly used for navigation purposes. I have also found it to be a benefit in schools and businesses for providing critical information such as schedules, assignments and directions/locations, as well as doing presentations and demonstrations.

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