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May 14, 2012 3:56 PM


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The owners of the Chicago Pizza and Sports Grille restaurants in Jacksonville, Fla., pride themselves on offering an “outstanding atmosphere.” That atmosphere incorporates AV and IT technology into the guest experience, says Peter Marks of First Coast Entertainment, a Jacksonville systems integration company that works across several of the Chicago Pizza locations.

Marks says the client understood that a sports bar needs HD to compete. But the Chicago Pizza AV design has not only been driven by HD quality but also a desire to incorporate elements of wireless, security, presentation, and digital signage systems into a complete guest experience.

For example, at one location, each of the restaurant’s booths feature a personally controllable 26in. TV, offering a full range of TV stations, plus one channel that takes a security camera feed from the restaurant’s video gaming room, says First Coast Entertainment president Gene Solano. “Parents can let their kids go to the gaming room and still keep an eye on them,” Solano explains. This innovation made sense given First Coast’s security experience.

Meanwhile, for those patrons who want to enjoy the game as part of the group atmosphere, Chicago Pizza obliges them with nearly 65 56in. flatscreen televisions located through the interior and exterior of the restaurant. These screens are supported by analog audio through a distributed JBL speaker system, ensuring that the HD images will be matched with quality synched sound. The system can break into two zones providing an option to run two games simultaneously in different parts of the restaurant.

The distribution hub for all these screens is the 10 Contemporary Research QMOD-HD modulators, used to modulate and distribute the signal from 10 DirecTV receivers.

“Previous Chicago Pizza installations used a series of 16x16 matrix switchers, but using the QMOD modulators made it a much easier installation,” Solano says. “This was our first modulation system and it works flawlessly.” Marks also cites the advantage of being able to deliver a bulletproof solution that used RJ-6 cable. First Coast Entertainment is a regional integrator working within a 100 square mile radius of Jacksonville. A Crestron and Hai dealer, the company does both residential and commercial AV and can handle wireless system integration, security, and monitoring—technologies their customers expect to integrate with AV systems. The Chicago Pizza restaurants have become something of a flagship customer because of expanding use of AV systems. “They have definitely raised the bar in this area,” Marks says.

Certainly, the client’s competitive goal came true in at least one high profile way; shortly after the AV systems went in at Jacksonville Landing, a popular post-game analysis show moved their live broadcast from a competing sports bar. Now Chicago Pizza customers can see the post-game interviews live and/or tune them in on the personal TV at their table.

Product at Work: Contemporary Research QMOD

The QMOD-HD HDTV Modulator enables distribution of HD digital signage and HD subscriber sources using existing broadband coax cabling in sports, retail and entertainment facilities, corporate offices, colleges, schools, and worship centers. It supports the distribution of satellite, cable, digital signage, and media sources as HD digital cable channels for viewing on any HDTV display or tuner and/or as a 720p/1080i MPEG-2 stream for broadcast. It accepts 720p/1080i/480p/480i VGA, component, or S-Video/composite video; merges audio with video from analog stereo, digital optical, and coax inputs; and integrates with RS-232 control and feedback with simple ASCII commands.



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