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Digital Horizons Upgrades Residential AV Control

Working to retrofit an existing AV system with a wide assortment of existing equipment spread throughout a 10,000-square-foot residential space is not an easy job, but the team at Digital Horizons LLC was more than up to the task.

View a slideshow of project photos here.

Working to retrofit an existing AV system with a wide assortment of existing equipment spread throughout a 10,000-square-foot residential space is not an easy job, but the team at Digital Horizons LLC was more than up to the task. 

The existing installation and control system in this Excelsior, MN, residence not only needed to be updated, but the client also wanted to integrate new technology, as well. Requested upgrades included HDMI-switching capability to utilize full 1080p video where available, the integration of an existing Apple TV plus a new Apple TV for AirPlay capability.

“The previous system included an older, component video-based switching system and utilized a mix of control interfaces to operate 23 zones of audio and 15 zones of video—it was a mess,” said Scott Johannes, co-owner of Digital Horizons. “One of the client’s main concerns was having a control system that everyone in the family could easily use, especially with the amount and diversity of components in the system.” 

To handle the demanding requirements of the system upgrade, the integrator incorporated two RTI XP-8s control processors, which provided improved programming flexibility and processing power for control and automation throughout the home. RTI’s flagship processor, the XP-8s, is ideal for large-scale and more advanced projects. The XP-8s offers an abundance of control interface options such as two-way RS-232, routable IR, ethernet, and relay control. 

Digital Horizons also installed a ZM24 ZigBee transceiver module and multiple RM433 antennas throughout the house in discrete locations to ensure rock-solid RF performance with all the handheld controllers in the large home, while not detracting from the overall architecture and design. 

Digital Horizons replaced eight outdated keypads with RTI’s RK-3V 3.5-inch in-wall touchpanels to give the client a more user-friendly, intuitive experience. Incorporating existing RTI products already in the home, Digital Horizons used the client’s legacy T2+ handheld controllers in the attached and detached garages, as well as a new T3-V+ remote in the theater room. 

For convenience, Digital Horizons placed a “whole system off” button on the kitchen’s RK-3V keypad home page. When the family leaves the house, they can quickly shut off every connected system with one simple press of a button. To ensure that instant control is always close by, every room in the house has either a handheld controller or keypad featuring the same familiar home page with a simple menu of sources available for use. The homeowner wanted this simplified access to the entertainment options to watch or listen to without having to scroll through multiple pages. Another convenience achieved through flexible and intuitive programming is the sharing of DIRECTV receivers between selected locations in the home, which reduced the amount of active receivers on the customer’s account. 

Digital Horizons also turned to RTI to provide the home with powerful and flexible audio distribution for up to 24 zones, utilizing three AD-8 Distributed Audio Systems. The AD-8 combines a 16-channel audio amplifier with a matrix-switching preamplifier. Ideal for large residential and commercial installations where flexibility is important, the AD-8 offers the ability to listen to up to eight different audio sources in any zone, providing plenty of listening options for everyone in the family. 

One of the most unique features Digital Horizons provided was re-incorporating a pre-existing CCTV camera system into the video HDMI matrix. Previously, the security cameras were only viewable on the small security monitors that had been installed to the side of the primary televisions in each room. The updated installation added the ability for camera viewing on additional standalone televisions throughout the home. Because of the versatility of the new RTI system, Digital Horizons was able to provide the homeowner with the ability to power on/off all monitors individually, in addition to a “room off” feature to power off all monitors simultaneously. 

“Everyone in the family enjoys the simplicity and ease of use, and are delighted by the clear differences a full update and upgrade to an RTI control system provides,” said Chris Schucker, co-owner of Digital Horizons.