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Case Study: Sometimes Less Really Is More

RTI customizes minimalist control experience over displays and sources for luxury Georgetown penthouse.

For residential integrators, form and function often intersect in high-end projects, requiring them to balance state-of-the-art technology with the aesthetic demands of a modern design. Such was the challenge facing Atlantic Control Technologies during an installation at a new luxury high-rise penthouse in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C.

For the client, the 2000-square-foot residence would serve as a second home, where they would stay once or twice a week when in town. During these visits, they wanted to enjoy movies and television in an elegant space that showcased their love of art. To deliver this combination of technology and aesthetics, Atlantic installed Samsung Frame 4K QLED Smart TVs in the family room and study. When in use, the displays allow the homeowner to watch content from either an Apple TV or cable box in ultra-high-definition; when idle, they provide an important design element by displaying stunning art.

When it came to control over the Frame TVs and sources, ease of use was key for the client. They wanted a touchscreen handheld controller in both the family room and study, each offering a minimalist interface and one-button operation over multiple components. Another requirement was the ability to turn on the TVs’ Art Mode when powering down equipment. To meet these needs, Atlantic relied on RTI’s control and automation platform.

“We chose RTI for the penthouse because their solutions are extremely reliable and exceptionally easy to customize to the specific needs of any project,” says Jan Erik Eden, operations manager of Atlantic Control Technologies. “RTI’s Integration Designer programming software played a key role in this installation when it came to creating a minimalist, clutter-free interface and providing control over the Frame TVs. Like most integrators at the time, we were having trouble with the on/off commands for the Art Mode. With Integration Designer, we were able to create a workaround that performed perfectly.”

The penthouse’s control system is powered by RTI’s XP-6s control processor, in conjunction with an ECB-5 IR emitter connecting block. Seamless integration with the Frame TVs is provided by IP drivers, while IR is used to control the Apple TV, cable box, and an AV receiver. The client interacts with the system using T2i handheld touchscreen remote controls. Their uncluttered interfaces offer a choice of “Cable” or “Apple TV.” A tap of either button powers on the AV receiver, selected source, and the TV, while switching to the correct input. Tapping the “Off” button powers down components and brings up an option to enable the Art Mode. If selected, the TV will display artwork according to pre-configured preferences.

“For this particular client, less was more when it came to control,” adds Eden. “However, providing that simplicity calls for a level of customization that not every platform can deliver. With RTI, we were able to create a control solution that completely met our client’s needs. And as a bonus, the T2i remote controls lend a sleek look that complements the penthouse’s décor.”