Too Much To See on TV? Try Multi-Plexing!
Bowl season is almost here - not to mention the NFL season is heating up. So, what’s a guy supposed to do when there is more than one game on that you JUST - CAN’T - MISS?? You could always flip back and forth, use picture-in-picture, or move multiple TVs into the room. These are good work-arounds, but if we are being honest, life is too short for work-arounds. In 2017, there is no reason not to set up a quadplex so that you and your friends can watch 4 games at a time in vivid HD quality.
There are a lot of solutions to QuadPlexing today, and many are compatible with your typical home theater setup so you don’t have to choose between QuadPlexing and your crisp, clear surround sound. But choosing the right solution can be just as important as soundproofing your man-cave. Here are some things to look for.
The most important issue in QuadPlexing is resolution. There are a wide variety of low-end QuadPlexers that display at 1080p. At first glance one might think, “sure - I can live with that”. Don’t be fooled. 1080p is fine when you are watching a single screen, but remember, you are cutting that screen into 4 sections, making each section essentially half the resolution on both the X and Y axis. So if you select one of these low-end options, while in 4x mode, you will essentially be watching 540p resolution on each of your 4 screens. This is not ideal.
The better option is to select a solution including both a display and a QuadPlexer with resolution of at least 2160p (4k UHD). This way, each screen will be at true HD resolution.
When selecting TV products, many make the mistake of overlooking the audio aspect of their designed experience. When setting up your QuadPlexing solution, make sure you select an audio processor with enough audio channels to get the most out of your surround sound system. For instance, RGB Spectrum offers several QuadPlexing solutions that meet the desired video resolution, but only the QuadView UHD offers adequate audio support. It comes with 6 HDMI or DP embedded audio channels or 7 stereo 3.5mm analog channels. WyreStorm also offers a full line of excellent QuadPlexers with more than adequate audio support.
The control system, while of secondary importance, can make a big difference in the overall level of enjoyment. Try to select an option that has iPad control available. Ideally, you will want to establish control from a single device over the multiplexer, the TV, and your surround sound system. The iPad control option makes it easier to integrate the control of your theater lighting, and party-guest entry access system into your experience.
Invariably, you or one of your guests is going to make a run to the kitchen during the game, and if you are like many rabid football fans, the game will be on in the kitchen as well. Even a slightly noticeable latency can detract from the experience if the kitchen TV is a second or so ahead of the primary TV. It is essential that you keep your system latency down so that the reaction from the guest on the food run, or the instance score notification you get on your smartphone doesn’t ruin the moment at a crucial time during the game!
Of course, it doesn’t matter what resolution your QuadPlexer is if your actual display television is limited. Make sure your actual display is large enough for everyone in the room to see it clearly, and that your display’s resolution is high enough that its not a limiting factor. While this article is not about Curved tvs vs Flat tvs, for this application, a larger, higher resolution Flat TV is a better option than a curved screen with a potentially lower resolution. This is because the function of the curved TV is to provide an enhanced viewing experience when taking in the entire screen at once. By definition, while viewing a Quad-Plexed screen you will be focussed on only a portion of the screen at a time, thus eliminating the advantage of the curved screen, especially if the screen is being viewed from a large number of different angles as is customary in a Super Bowl party, or while watching the SEC Championship or National Championship for that matter!
All in all the most important thing is that your integration experts are well versed in all aspects of the technologies you are installing. This way, they will be able to answer all your questions and ensure that all of your technologies are functioning as smoothly as possible together.