SVSi voLANte Uses Existing Fiber Network for Live Video
Due to their growing and diverse congregation, Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, Alabama continues to expand their campus to offer a greater variety of services and classes. The church offers traditional services in their main sanctuary and contemporary services across the street in the Five Points Center. In addition, they offer many classes all over the campus.
Asbury’s growth has brought both opportunities and challenges, such as how to keep their members informed of what’s happening on their ever-expanding campus, while also staying unified in the church’s mission and maintaining the individuality of the various groups.
“We’d seen how other churches used flat-screen monitors for room schedules and announcements. We knew we wanted to do this at some point in the future,” says Sue Bartlow, communications director at Asbury. “We wanted something that’s easy to keep updated and visually appealing. Plus, we wanted to cut back on how much paper we were using.”
Asbury was also looking for an easier, more reliable way to simulcast programs and services between the Five Points Center and the main sanctuary. “We have guest speakers that the traditional and contemporary worshipers would both like, so we wanted a way to offer that to both congregations.”
The main sanctuary and the Five Points Center are connected via a fiber-optic network running under a city street that separates the two buildings. Asbury uses this gigabit Ethernet network for data transfer between the two sides of the campus and wanted to use it for their video network as well. The technology they were currently using for video transmission didn’t use the fiber network and was hit-or-miss. “When it worked, it was after we’d spent a lot of time tinkering with it,” said Bartlow. “We were determined to connect the two facilities but we needed something that actually worked.”
Analog over GigE Fiber-optic Network
SVSi determined that the church could use their existing fiber-optic network to narrowcast live feeds between the main sanctuary and the Five Point Center – even though Asbury’s top-of-the-line audio-visual hardware is analog.
With a simple VGA-to-HDMI adapter connected to the program output of Asbury’s Extron switch, SVSi was able to convert the analog signals to digital, then use the voLANte VMT 105 stand-alone transmitter to encode the digital video for transmission over the fiber-optic network, while still allowing other network traffic.
Since fiber-optic cable relies on components that are functionally compatible, the voLANte VMT was a perfect choice. The voLANte VMT 105 easily integrated with the existing network smart switch at the Five Points Center. At the main sanctuary on the other side of the street, another network smart switch routes the digital video to a voLANte VRR 104 receiver for decoding and display on an HDTV. Video and audio is real-time and synchronized, so Asbury can display multiple instances of their narrowcast without distracting timing issues. They can also make use of the voLANte system’s unique LocalPlay™ feature to play slide shows on the HDTV directly from the receiver when not showing the live feed.
Growth Path to Digital Signage
Now that they’ve solved the problem of getting live video from one side of the street to the other, Asbury UMC can now focus on implementing that long-awaited digital signage network. With a voLANte VRR 104 receiver in place, they can now daisy-chain additional receivers to more displays and use the same network as their live feeds if needed. Or they can set up another path on their GigE fiber network strictly for digital signage. The possibilities are endless.
“The SVSi voLANte system solved our immediate need for a reliable way to get live video streaming between the two worship areas – and that’s big,” says Bartlow. “But, I’m equally excited about using their product to get a digital signage network going. That,” says Bartlow, “is going to really help with our communications initiatives.”