Big Al’s Entertainment Center Lights Up the Night With Extron MGP 464 Multi-Graphic Processors

Big Al’s is a growing chain of family-oriented entertainment centers located in the Pacific Northwest. AV integrator CompView had installed a full complement of Extron products including matrix switchers, signal processors and distribution amplifiers, in the original Big Al’s. To support an even more intense AV experience in a second, larger Big Al’s location in Beaverton, Oregon, CompView added Extron MGP 464 multi-graphic processors to the system design, allowing display of multiple video images on a single screen.

We selected the MGP 464 because it can be set up by our commissioning team and controlled by our programmer in a fraction of the time required by other windowing processors.

Erin Shannon, Design Engineer, CompView

Multimedia Entertainment Experience

Completed in August 2010, the second Big Al’s is a two-story, 66,000 square foot complex with 42 lounge-style bowling alleys, a 6,000-square-foot virtual golf and gaming arcade, pool tables, private party rooms, and a sports bar designed to look like a stadium and featuring a 55-foot-wide, 12-foot-high display screen. The massive screen uses three projectors and is divided into a center area showing a single image, and two side areas fed by MGP 464s displaying up to four separate video feeds each.

Wide Range of Input Sources

In addition to HD broadcast and satellite television transmissions, the displays in the bar have to support off-air and closed-circuit programming, scoring for a wide range of games, and DVD and Blu-ray Disc content. Because Extron’s MGP 464 supports a wide range of input sources, from composite video to HDTV 1080p/60 and computer-video up to 1920x1200, CompView used two MGP 464s to control AV processing and ensure optimal signal quality from the various sources.

Centralized System Control

To accommodate customer requests for specific sporting events, staff members can use the MGP 464 feature set to control the images displayed in the bar. Any of the 19 inputs on the MGP 464 can be scaled and placed in any of the four windows located on each end of the screen. To simplify display control for Big Al’s staff members, several of the available 128 memory presets for PIP window configurations were used. The presets include PIP window settings for positioning, size, zoom, priority, image freeze, bordering with selectable colors, and text labeling. Some signals other than NTSC are routed through a sub-switcher using virtual inputs, recalling input presets on the MGP 464. The front panel security lockout feature on the MGP 464 prevents unauthorized users from affecting the images on the displays.

Image Quality

Compview Design Engineer Erin Shannon was amazed by the quality of the multiple video images shown on the main screen’s side areas, which have to be transmitted and processed by several devices, including the MGP 464 and Extron twisted pair extenders, and travel long runs of twisted pair cable. "The multiple images on either side of the main screen are absolutely as sharp as the single center image," Shannon stated. "The Extron equipment maintained complete image quality.” Erin added: "We selected the MGP 464 because it can be set up by our commissioning team and controlled by our programmer in a fraction of the time required by other windowing processors."

Since opening day, Big Al’s dynamic AV system designed around Extron products continues to provide an all-encompassing entertainment experience for families in and around Beaverton, Oregon.

The central focus at Big Al’s is the massive screen using three projectors. The outer two projectors each use an MGP 464 to create dynamic multi-window displays.

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