Friday, July 29, 2011

Xantech Products Chosen for Locker Room Facilities at University of Illinois’ Baseball Field

A major expansion of the locker room facilities at Illinois Field, home to the University of Illinois baseball team, presented the Big Ten powerhouse with an opportunity to also upgrade its installed training and entertainment audiovisual systems. C.V. Lloyde, a Champaign, Illinois-based design-build firm and full-service music retailer, acted as both consultant and installer on the project, incorporating A/V source selection and control hardware from Xantech, a leader in the field of audio/video remote control and distribution for 40 years.

“Even though this is a Division 1 collegiate campus, the budget for A/V was quite modest,” reports Stephen Morris, president and CEO of C.V. Lloyde, a family-run business that has been in operation since 1867. “Xantech fit the bill – it addresses the financial constraints but also provides flexibility and reliability.” The expanded facility opened at the start of the new season in March 2011.

The locker room construction provided training staff for the Fighting Illini – the 2011 Big Ten Tournament Champions – with the opportunity to implement new A/V systems for both instructional and entertainment purposes, according to Morris. “The coach was excited to turn this into a teaching venue and a locker room for the future,” he says. “A locker room typically isn’t a place to hang out, but he wanted to make it a local hangout for the players and to also use it for classroom instruction and training.”

A Xantech 6.4-inch CSPLCD64GW Smartpad LCD Graphic Touchpanel in the main locker room manages selection of audio and video sources, including DirecTV, video playback, multiple computers and various music sources, such as CD, iPod docking stations and a radio tuner. Throughout the rest of the facility, in the coach’s and umpires’ locker rooms, training room, dry area and players’ lounge, C.V. Lloyde installed a D5SHK4 4-Source 4-Zone Wall Mount Kit from Xantech’s Digi-5 DDS digital distribution and control system, which features keypads with digital audio amplification.

“I wanted to give them a control surface that felt relevant for today, with color and multiple pages – one that was easy and intuitive for them to operate, and could be installed on a budget. That’s why I felt the Xantech color touchpanel was a good choice,” explains Morris, who notes that the university has been one of the primary customers for C.V. Lloyde’s design-build operation for over 20 years.

“A projector on a lift in the main locker room drops down at the touch of a button. We drop a screen, we drop down a projector, and we allow them to project multiple different source selections. And all that control is through the touch pad,” he adds.

To support playback of training videos, as well as MLB game broadcasts for motivation and entertainment, C.V. Lloyde installed two LG large-screen HDTV displays and a retractable BenQ projector in the main locker room. Two LG HD displays in the lounge can share the locker room video source or can be locally selected to other sources, including a Sony PS3 video game console and a Blu-ray Disc player. Seven full-range ceiling speakers and a subwoofer in the locker room, and two wall-mount, full-range speakers plus a subwoofer in the lounge, carry the audio.

For the other rooms, which required basic volume control and selection between multiple audio-only sources to a pair of ceiling speakers, Xantech’s Digi-5 system was appropriate, continues Morris. “Each keypad has a built-in 15-watt/channel amplifier, allowing us to be self-contained with power and control all over CAT5 wiring, which eliminated the need for long speaker wire runs. An easy, programmable interface ended up being perfect for a simple audio solution that addressed the budget constraints as well.”

In order to distribute control and video signals between rooms while maintaining 1080p quality, Morris also utilized a total of five Xantech HDMIC5IR Point-to-Point HDMI and IR/CAT-5 extender baluns with IR wall plates. “That allowed me to distribute high-def content over long distances but also carry the IR control,” he elaborates. The system enables local infrared control of the DirecTV boxes, which are located in a central rack, from each TV display.

Having less than two years of experience with Xantech products, says Morris, he was grateful for the support provided by technical sales engineer Dana Hathaway. “He was instrumental in making sure that we chose the appropriate pieces for the system and helped explain, particularly with the newer Digi-5 equipment, how that integrates.”

He concludes, "My relationship right now with Xantech is also largely because of the support of Director of Business Development, Rick Seegull, and his team. They helped us deliver a very flexible system that the University is proud of."

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