Commercial Project:


Cypress, CA

Atlona® Helps Create High-Performance Boardroom for Christie®

Christie Digital Systems, Inc. is a global visual technologies company that has specialized in film projection since 1929 and professional digital projection systems since 1979. Today, it continues to lead the market by offering a variety of technologies and solutions for business, entertainment, and industry with more than 100,000 installations of projection solutions worldwide. At the company’s U.S. headquarters in Cypress, California, Christie® was seeking to renovate and modernize its executive boardroom — which became known as the “Stateroom” — with the goal to upgrade its corporate presentation capabilities and turn the space into an advanced telepresence facility. This meant selecting an integrator that could identify the components that would provide unparalleled quality, flexibility, ease of use, and adhere to Christie’s pre-established budget plans. To satisfy these conditions, Christie retained the services of Los Angeles-based Audiovisual Architects Inc., which turned to Atlona® and other software& hardware partners to create an integrated, state-of-the-art boardroom solution.

The project’s main requirements were to enable executives to meet within an acoustically-tuned environment where they could make presentations by simultaneously connecting laptops or other source equipment without having to negotiate cabling complexities or other problems related to the room’s connectivity. In other words, the room’s setup needed to be seamless, allowing executives to go from one source to another during high-level presentations. Second, meeting members wanted the ability to audition different types of equipment in the space, since Christie is a major entertainment manufacturing company. To fulfill this requirement, the space needed to provide digital cinema-like experiences consisting of audio which was also close to studio quality. This meant that the room had to perform at extremely high standards — both technically and because top executives from around the world would be assembling inside. Third, Christie had strict budget restrictions which meant that the installer needed to select components and devices that delivered industry-best performance while remaining cost-effective. A further requirement from Christie was telepresence capabilities, meaning integrating a 7.2 surround sound system and videoconferencing camera which could create a field of view around a 12-person boardroom table. In sum, many variables needed to balance the room’s quality and functionality capabilities, which included high-quality audio and video, telepresence capabilities, and seamless operation of the entire system.

The Solution

To enable seamless switching between the room’s different component sources and ensure the highest possible quality, Audio Visual Architects selected Atlona’s AT-HD-16×2 HDMI® matrix switcher. This allowed the integrator to keep costs within range, since HD transmission over Cat 6 cable right out of the box can be rather expensive. Instead, by selecting a switcher that provides pure HDMI, Sunset was able to implement an extender solution fed by the switcher, running directly from the tilt-ups around the boardroom table. In addition, the AT-HD4-SI40SR extenders — installed within table legs — were integrated in such a way that they would be able to work continuously and also be easily serviceable if ever required. From the rack, Atlona receivers also fed the HDMI switcher.

“The devices we selected enabled us to create seamless two-way control capabilities while reducing installation complexity,” said Jon Edwards, CEO at Audiovisual Architects, Inc. “These units enable time saving, gain increased installation flexibility options, and offer more possibilities to presenters. This includes connecting laptops via table tilt-ups, and testing new equipment on the room’s 120-inch screen or studio-grade surround sound system.”
Ideal for boardroom settings such as Christie’s Stateroom, the Atlona switchers enable users to match any source to the room’s 120-inch Christie HD10K HD rear projection display, thus reducing the amount of equipment required during meetings. This also enables Christie to keep the unified aesthetics of its ultra-modern room intact. Using the Atlona HDMI extenders, sources can also provide true HD resolution over a single Cat 5/6/7 cable, and have the ability to provide zone-specific bidirectional IR pass-through up to 60 KHz. In sum, Christie obtains the ultimate in flexibility, signal strength, and high-quality connectivity. The devices also support the conference room’s telepresence capabilities by bringing high-quality 1080p video into the meeting space.

“Upon completion, the room’s wow factor was the combination of elements that were seamlessly integrated with a user interface that requires literally no training,” continued Edwards. “At the touch of a button, users can be on a 1080p HD image in real-time anywhere in the world, while looking like they are talking to someone right across the table. The nautical name ‘The Stateroom,’ derived from the space layout looking like the prow of a ship, and since we engineered the room to take advantage of the space planning complexities, we actually turned these hurdles into the room’s acoustic strong points. While the room is not a recording studio, we have achieved a real gut-sense of ‘dead silence’ when someone walks into the room and closes the doors. It’s an amazing effect that brings a sense of quiet reverence into the boardroom.”

In terms of acoustics, Sunset needed to ensure the highest possible audio quality inside the room for video conferencing, testing purposes, and presentations. By designing and specifying a cloud ceiling, the room gains an acoustic buffer, which absorbs sound waves and prevents them from bouncing around the space, eliminating unwanted “standing waves.” The audio experience was further fortified by building in a bass trap at the bow end of the room that is packed with mineral wool and acts as another catch point for standing waves. These techniques also increase security by making sure that important meetings cannot be heard beyond the Stateroom’s walls. The touch screen control also enables full automation of every audio, video, lighting, and telepresence function within the room, enhancing the executives’ experience within the space.

The Result

Today, the room regularly accommodates up to eight meeting participants plugged in around the boardroom table, or four other positions around the room where users can connect their laptops, HDMI, VGA, or even USB sticks to the in-house PC via tilt-ups conveniently located at the table and around the room. The turnkey solution also permits members to seamlessly switch to the large-screen presentation on-the-fly, operating the room’s controls via a simple, wireless touch screen display. The presentation system also includes dual network ports, dual monitor outputs, and full HD media playback capabilities for equipment testing purposes, enabling Christie to perform demos for its executives. For telepresence-type events, the boardroom can also enable easy switching provided by a dedicated video teleconference codec and for PC-based video conferencing collaboration. The solution provides a fixed USB focal-length camera, altogether making the Stateroom one of the most advanced broadband-connected meeting spaces in operation today.
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