Multiple monitors over wide location

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ScottDrummer, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. ScottDrummer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    Hi
    Can anyone recommend a solution for streaming content (from a mac) to display monitors located in various locations within a building.
    The monitors will be in different rooms, and around 5-10 monitors, they will be near power and ethernet ports, the ethernet ports are all routed together.

    Thanks
    Scott
     
  2. ytk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    #2
    There are quite a few ways to do this sort of thing, but what the best way is really depends on your specific needs.

    Do all monitors get the same content, or different content for each monitor?
    What kind of monitors are they--computer displays, or TV sets (more specifically, what types of connections do they have)?
    What sort of resolution do you need--would SD video work, or does it need to be HD?
    Is it static text and images, or full motion video?
    Can you repatch the Cat5 lines so they could carry any kind of signal, or is it necessary that they carry ethernet?
    Approximately how far away are the monitors from the computer, in terms of cable run length?
    Are you interested in a solution that involves a computer at each monitor, or do the monitors need to be fed directly from the main server?

    The answers to these questions will determine the sort of system that would work best for you.
     
  3. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #3
    What kind of distance? High quality HDMI cable goes quite far, especially for 720p. You also might have a look how an AppleTV at each monitor will work.
     
  4. ScottDrummer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Thanks

    Do all monitors get the same content, or different content for each monitor?
    Yes same content, from Keynote

    What kind of monitors are they--computer displays, or TV sets (more
    Computer displays, modern samsung
    specifically, what types of connections do they have)?
    HDMI, VGA,
    What sort of resolution do you need--would SD video work, or does it need to be HD?
    SD is fine
    Is it static text and images, or full motion video?
    mostly just slideshow maybe some video clips.
    Can you repatch the Cat5 lines so they could carry any kind of signal, or is it necessary that they carry ethernet?
    yes, what would this involve?
    Approximately how far away are the monitors from the computer, in terms of cable run length?
    each monitor will be no more than 900metres away from a cat5 wall port.
    Are you interested in a solution that involves a computer at each monitor, or do the monitors need to be fed directly from the main server?
    all displays must be fed from one computer.
     
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #5
    Your sure? Nine hundred meters?
     
  6. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    What's your budget?

    You could look at these products or possibly this, but you should be talking to AV specialists. The former is something broadcast people use, the latter is what AV guys use. Pity you already have the monitors, otherwise you could have sunk the money into digital signage from, for example, Sony, Panasonic or NEC.

    Trust me, you do not want to try and do this on the cheap. If you want something to be bullet-proof and don't want to be fielding calls about quality etc, spend the money and have it professionally installed and supported.

    This means that you can use Cat5e to carry balanced video signals long distances (like the Kramer products do), but they are not IP-based and so you can't have them pass through a router or switch. If necessary, you'd need to yank them and join them directly (though this would result in a small signal loss).

    Since you are talking about a distance of 900m, I can absolutely guarantee you that you do not have a direct Cat5e connection to any of these ethernet jacks from where your Mac is and each cable would have at least 10 hops to each one. The insertional loss would be to great to join all the necessary cat5e cables together for each monitor.

    I'm no expert, but I think you'd be looking at optical fibre. That's usually spelled "$$optical fibre$$". Call a professional.
     
  7. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    #7
    If you are running Keynote files then I'm guessing these don't get updated very often.

    You could look at putting a Mac mini next to each monitor and accessing these via the internet. If you don't mind temporary blank screens you could remotely connect to these and change the Keynote file as needed.

    You can also check on MacScripter.net for Applescripts that do this. I recall seeing posts there from people using this setup for digital signage. The Apple script would swap out the Keynote files as needed without showing the desktop on the monitor.
     
  8. ytk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    #8
    It sounds like this might work for you:

    http://volante.southernvisionsystems.com/

    I can't speak as to how well it works, but it seems to be exactly what you're looking for. It's a sender/receiver combo that allows you to plug a DVI or HDMI source into the transmitter, which then sends the signal to (they claim) an unlimited number of receivers via Ethernet. So you likely wouldn't have to rewire anything at all.

    In the marketing material they refer to it as a "digital signage network", which sounds exactly like what you're looking for. Ain't cheap, though. From what I can find, the server runs about $1,600, and the clients are about a grand each. Seems like for considerably less than that, you could roll your own by using streaming media software and a computer at each monitor, but then I guess you'd lose the reliability and simplicity advantages of having a dedicated device.
     

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