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Transform Your Sports Bar Video with a Video Router
also known as a video routing switcher
by Bob Hudson

Starting a sports bar used to be easy: get a cheap TV, a set of rabbit ears and a copy of TV Guide, but you could have skipped the TV Guide because chances are the set only picked up three channels and you were lucky to find one sporting, let alone having a choice.

Then came cable TV and satellite TV and choice: instead of just one Sunday NFL game you might have access to several or maybe you could choose from menu of football and basketball games all airing at the same times.

It was then that the sports bar started to come into its own and when that single set with rabbit ears became obsolete. Up went the six-foot diameter satellite dish and instead of one set behind the bar, we started seeing multiple sets hung at various locations around the room. But even with multiple sets there was often only one game being shown.

In some sports bars that's still the case even though the owner has cable AND satellite (and possibly multiple satellite dishes).

Savvy sports bars owners and designers though have discovered the video router, a small box (smaller than a shoebox) that lets you program the sports bar so that different events can be sent to different TV's: the big game with the local college team could be on three screens, while two screens off in the corners show a couple of other contests of interest.

Sports bars can use the Sign Video router to feed mutliple TV's from multiple sources
Sports bars can use the Sign Video router to feed multiple TV's from multiple sources
But, if the big game gets really hot, you can, with a push of a button, switch that game to all sets.

The video router that can handle these switching chores has a name that's a mouthful: a SignVideo "8X8 Video Router."

The "8X8" refers to the fact that it can accept inputs from eight different sources and feed them to eight different destinations. The sources can be cable, satellite, DVD, VCR, live cameras (nightclubs like that one), pretty much any video or audio source. You may have used a little mechanical video/audio switch box such as those sold by Radio Shack. Well those are nothing like a Sign Video router. Mechanical switchers are very limited and basically can send an audio/video source to one of three or so destinations: it can't send it to multiple TV's at the same time and it can't handle multiple sources.

Sign Video's video router, though, uses high quality electronic circuits to route the video and audio throughout your sports bar or other establishment. Audio and video can be controlled separately and you can simultaneously have multiple sources sending video and audio to multiple TV's and/or PA systems.

While the technology behind this type of video router is complex, it is easy to set up and operate. The inputs and outputs and numbered and you make a list showing which devices are connected to which set of inputs and/or inputs. Then it becomes a matter of simply pushing, for example, "From" button 5 and "To" button 3.

This type of video router can also find use in venues as such as race tracks and off-track betting parlors, where patrons want to follow several different televised events.

Article Copyright © 2005 by Bob Hudson

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