Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Go play day: AV style"

I had an opportunity at having a slow day yesterday at work, so I decided to bring my Roku 3 with me. I spoke to my boss, and we both agreed that the day could be utilized to learn "what the future may hold with technology" as well as "should the need arise / a client pop up a streaming device, someone should be somewhat versed in how to hook everything up". Therefore, in between random client interactions, I was able to figure out a way to get my player hooked to the work equipment, and "play".

Quick run down of equipment used (via Amazon):

Notes: The products with the ** are what I could find on Amazon that are comparable / compatible to what we use at work. 
  • The projector screen listed is an older version of what we are using at my property. 
  • I used a 25ft HDMI cable that I connected from the Roku to the Projector, as it was the first cable I grabbed from the wall in the office (plus the fact it's going to be used tomorrow for an event, so I needed to use all this equipment anyway to set the room). 
  • The XLR is not the brand we use at work, and I had picked up a 50ft cable instead of a 25ft cable, which I realized I needed to add as the 50ft will be too long. 
  • The power extension cord and surge protectors are similar in the sense I did use a 25 foot AC power (but different brand).
  • I linked to a black power strip for blog use.

To take all this down a notch and explain what was going on, there is a meeting tomorrow in one of the conference rooms at the hotel. I had to set the room up in accordance to what the banquet department was doing with their tables and what AV equipment was rented to this group. 


Out comes the 8ft tripod screen, a wireless microphone kit (not used in my "play" situation), the Allen & Heath mixer, NEC projector, 8" Electro-Voice speaker, a speaker stand (not listed in my breakdown, but an array of different stands can be found here), various XLR, a power extension cord, 2 power strips (one for projector, one for audio table), projector stand (not listed in breakdown) and a roll of tape. 

After all of the main event basics were set, I was able to plug in my Roku to the projector. I went HDMI out from the Roku to HDMI in to the projector. An aux cable from the Audio Out of the projector to the Audio In on SwitchCraft box, ran an XLR cable from the SwitchCraft to the mixer, and then another XLR cable from the mixer to the speaker. I forgot to turn the internal volume up on the projector, so I ended up listening to audio at a lower volume than I wanted. Especially when I'd then need to use this setup and play with a set of lights. 

I ran everything mono, although the ability to run stereo audio is there. Tomorrow's event doesn't call for two speakers in the room and it would have been wasteful (both time, resources and energy) to set up stereo for a play day. It's all a matter of running one more wire from the SwitchCraft into the Mixer and then add another speaker. Simple enough.

* All pictures shot on an iPhone 5S and edited in Photoshop (my watermark name) *

Skewed top view of video setup
Top view of video set up
Back view of video set up

Front of Speaker

Back of Speaker

Allen & Heath ZED mixer

Upon Roku start up, I needed to access the Wifi. I got the following message (see picture):

Connection please!

It was hard to get connected at first because the internet is hit or miss some days, depending on where you are in the hotel. But the ability to have a hotel or dorm room connectivity in the Roku is great; it's an awesome resource for those who travel and want to bring along their streaming device, or the students who can get onto campus wifi and not want to pay for a cable subscription. The down part? The "need" to have a smartphone or tablet to get the Roku connected to the wifi. Although "you will not be charged for mobile data", it's a little bit of a downer that you've got to have a smart device laying around - what happens if you own a dumb phone? What if you have a laptop? I luckily had my iPhone, so I was able to connect, but it was still awkward, as there is a timeout limit with the wireless setup. Your phone connection has to be pretty good in order to connect to the Roku right away. However, it can drain your phone battery real quick as well. I started with 90% around 12:30 and by the time I left at 6, I had 40% battery. I don't know if it was a combination of taking 3 videos and 10 pictures plus connecting to the Roku, or it was something else. I factory reset my phone Monday night, so I know it should be okay. It was odd that I lost that much battery life in five and a half hours.

But once I was able to get everything wirelessly connected, it took a few minutes for all my apps to appear and be working, as everything needed to register on the internet to play. First thing I did was try Vevo for some music videos and I got them to play.

* Videos shot on iPhone 5S and edited in Pinnacle Studio 18 Ultimate * 

(The video shows my entire set up)
Youtube link HERE for those who don't have Flash on a device. Also, the video seems washed out with Blogger's processing... apologies for that! Youtube video is cleaner.

Confident in my setup, I opened my A&E app and started Monday night's season premiere of Bates Motel. I sat in the back of the room to make sure all my settings were comfortable, and I watched the first 20 minutes of the episode. "Unfortunately", I ended up having to pause and then stop the show so I could help clients in other rooms and then work on some brand of lights we have and why they don't pick up audio so wonderfully. 


Youtube link HERE for those who don't have Flash on a device. Also, the video seems washed out with Blogger's processing... apologies for that! Youtube video is cleaner.

Panoramic view from "the back of the room"

All in all, it was a great test of where the future can go. It's not the set up I would love for my own home theatre system, but it's a start in trying products out and figuring out how to hook things together to make them work. I'm sure someone has some better equipment out than what I use / used at work / this situation, and maybe someone can make everything be heard and seen so it just pops, thus allowing users to have an amazing experience in their audio and video moment in time. 

At least I now know how to get everything hooked up and talking to each other and am confident enough that I can work with clients and provide exceptional service to them, should the need arise that they bring a streaming device and want a "theatre mode" AV experience.


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