The Dual Screen Video Challenge

LCBC satellite installationSometimes, explaining what we do as satellite integrators is just as hard – or even harder – than actually doing it! With lots of input from Mark (Link Up’s Director of Technology), nearly a week was spent writing (and rewriting!) our New Technology Product entry into the Worship Facilities Awards, taking place at the WFX Show in Dallas, October 1-2.

500 words. Our entry could only contain 500 words. How do we explain all the time and attention to detail spent researching and designing a customized satellite solution within the confining limits of a mere 500 words? Not an easy task, especially when our entry was about how we spent months customizing a live satellite delivery for LCBC Church, a Central Pennsylvania multi site church, that involved the integration of not one, but TWO video screens.

But, we managed. 500 words exactly. Below is our entry for the WFX New Technology Product award – give or take a word or two. Hope you enjoy reading about how we accomplished a dual screen feed – something we had never attempted before. Whether we win an award or not, we’re very proud of the work we did for this amazing church.

LCBC Church approached Link Up Communications with a unique challenge: to help them carry out their goal of having “one look, one voice, one message” by re-creating the dual screen presentation found at their main campus at their five remote locations. The church had previously looked at terrestrial based solutions, but soon realized that these were complex and too expensive. Could Link Up come up with a cost-effective satellite solution to the dual screen challenge?

2013-10-17 19.09.06Link Up engineering designed a system for LCBC that includes individual HD video encoders for both screen shots and 4 stereo audio feeds. A transport stream multiplexer (mux) was used to combine the outputs of both encoders. The mux provides a single transmission stream that includes both video feeds and 8 stereo audio feeds to a satellite RF modulator, which drives the satellite uplink’s amplifier to feed the transmission to a geo-synchronous satellite. The satellite receives, converts, and re-transmits the signal back to the Continental US.

At the remote campus, a small, unobtrusive satellite antenna receives the feed and delivers it to the dual high-def video decoders located within the A/V technical booth. The two decoders separate the individual video feeds from the multiplex transmission and allow the tech staff to deliver to separate projection screens.

Upon installation, LCBC’s recording devices were found to need an even tighter specification for the frame synchronization than previously LCBC satellite installationexpected. Although the decoders came with “Genlock” as a feature, the HD video recorders used by LCBC required a tighter spec. We wanted LCBC to not only have a great picture to the projectors, but also the same clarity for potential recording devices. To solve this issue, an additional out-board frame sync generator was added at remote locations.

How is it working, you ask? This sophisticated system is extremely reliable, yet simple enough for staff and volunteers to operate. The video quality at LCBC is exceptional; both screens are high definition. LCBC can choose to send video messages live for immediate play, or store them at remote campuses for delayed playback. And the flexibility of this system gives their team the convenience of planting a remote campus anywhere. A simple dish, receiver, and additional frame sync generator is all that’s needed to feed dual screens.

“One look, one voice, one message”. LCBC Church has achieved the goal of dual screen video through broadcast-grade satellite technology. Being live has enhanced the spiritual growth of their congregants; no longer are remote campuses seeing last week’s – or even last night’s – sermons. Now, even if members attend different locations, their interactions are now enhanced by the immediacy of the message. With live, dual screens via satellite, LCBC Church is truly ONE church.