How is this done?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by hdnewone, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. hdnewone macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2008
    I was in a bar and saw that on the 42" LCD TV, the live TV feed was reduced in size to about 37" and was positioned in the bottom left had corner. The rest of screen area around the feed was then displaying advertisements. These were done in flash and would cycle continuously.

    I know that the main driver hardware was a mac mini, but there must have been some hardware that intercepted the signal, and some software that was doing the TV resize and overlay.

    Any suggestions on how it was done?

  2. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    Don't have an answer for you, but a couple questions/observations.

    What was the "live TV feed?" One of the big networks? Cable Channel? A Movie?

    What was being advertised?

    How do you know the advertising was flash based and that a Mac mini controlled it?

    If somebody's altering a network, they could be in serious trouble if found out. There are all kinds of laws preventing people from doing that.

    One (I guess legal) possibility is that they ran the tv as a monitor out of the mini. They could then display a TV broadcast thru the mini, scaled it to fit 2/3 of the screen added a border, and ran a slideshow of jpg adds in the available space.

    Please post if you come across the answer outside of this site. I'd be very interested to know.
  3. hdnewone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2008
    The feed was from Directv. I am guessing that they are taking the coax output from the Sat box into some external USB device that is plugged into the mac mini.

    It was local advertisements.

    I know it was flash because I overheard the salesman.

    I know it was a mac mini, because I saw it in the master box. (but didnt get to see other components).

    I know that the TV is being fed a VGA cable, so this is directly from the Mac Mini.

    They are not altering a network, so nothing illegal. The original picture is left unchanged, just resized to 80%.

    I consider myself a tech-head, so this is really bugging me trying to figure it out!!

  4. chinarider macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008

    Some sort of multiplexer - I've seen it done (though I am only familiar with the hardware versions)

    My guess - A local company wrote some software for this to sell to local businesses. I'm no programmer, but it seems like it would be easy enough software to code, if there is not software already out that does this (and I know there is, but have no experience with it)
  5. nhshah macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2008

    one of my guesses would be to compile the ads in Final Cut, Avid or even iMovie
    then run a firewire out into a newish digital deck
    (dvd-recorder or even hdd-deck that has "firewire in" or "dv in"
    for example: jvc sr dvm 700us)
    then just run finalcut or iMovie on loop play
    (when you are playing video, with the right settings enabled, it will display
    live audio and video of whatever you are working with, so if a preview is playing on your screen, then a digital version is playing to the DV deck and out to the tv)
    then just enable picture in picture (this assumes that the vga cable is used only for a big monitor for the macmini and not during normal business hours)

    another guess would be having some kinda of compilation similar to a finalcut or avid timeline or a dvd or something and have it running through a video mixer with superimposing capabilities, but this wouldnt require any computer at all

    final guess would be some sort of cgi machine.
    a cgi machine can be set up mainly 2 different ways:
    1) as a head end - where actual video(in this case direct tv) runs through the computer and the computer has a master output. the machine can then overlay an image, part of an image, or use an only internally generated image. the computer can control mixing, fading, p-in-p etc.
    2) the output of a cgi machine is used as a video source into a video mixer, where the video mixer would do any overlaying, mixing, p-in-p.

    the second is not likely if a cgi software/hardware setup is used bc the mixer is just extra equipment that most likely cost a lot of money and all of the same functions are held in the cgi computer itself.

    *cgi machine is composed of 2 parts
    software- interface similar to that of keynote or powerpoint
    hardware- internal pci card (or maybe a firewire or usb external periph) that has bnc/composite/s-video INS and OUTS......

    i have set up studios and other facilities using all of these techniques, so if any1 else has any other thoughts, please post....i am always looking for easier/new/cheaper ways of making something work

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