Issue 27

Entertainment On The High Seas

Keeping luxury vessel guests entertained at sea with a dependable multimedia solution


30 March 2022

You can’t make onsite support calls or run user training sessions in the middle of the ocean, so reliability and simplicity are important when it comes to designing innovative multimedia solutions for the open water. When New Zealand maritime technology provider Global Marine Technology Services sought a high-end multimedia solution for fitting out luxury vessels, it knew the system would sink or swim based on its simplicity and reliability. This simplicity included the ability for users to stream video from personal devices, without the need to reach for an extra controller to turn on equipment or adjust the volume.

Reusing the vessel’s existing infrastructure where possible was essential, to minimise cable installation as part of the refit. Unlike a home entertainment upgrade when remodelling a house, running new cables on a boat is extremely difficult. As a result, GMTS required a solution which ran as many commands as possible via IP or RS-232, rather than relying heavily on infrared remote controls. The answer was a high-end multimedia solution built around the ATEN Control System – a standard Ethernet-based management system which connects all the hardware devices on the vessel to provide centralised control via a mobile device or tablet. The system relies on ATEN VK2100 and compact VK1100 control boxes, which serve as central platforms for connecting devices. The control boxes support various interface connections, a Web GUI for easy system configuration, a USB port for easy profile upload and an IR learning function for adding infrared device drivers. 

Throughout the vessel, the system also incorporates ATEN VK-248 relay boxes, wired up as a Stew Call system. Pressing a button triggers a relay which is connected to a Panasonic PABX system. This rings a series of phones in the Crew Areas, with the message field showing the location. Building on ATEN as a foundation, GMTS favours Onkyo or Integra AV receivers as the main HDMI input source. These AV receivers are used world-wide and offer extensive features, good amplification and excellent IP control. When it comes to televisions, both LG and Sony are global brands which offer exceptional IP control and feedback systems for control. HDBase-T 4K Extenders, with IR and RS-232 support, are used on vessels for remote control of televisions and projectors. If a source is shared between multiple devices, GMTS employs a 4×4, 8×8 or 16×16 HDMI Matrix with IP control.

ATEN’s VK6000 Configurator Software streamlines and simplifies complicated hardware setup. Operation for any room, and control of any device, can be customised in a viewer which includes a personally-designed GUI that fits perfectly on the tablet or mobile device’s screen. The ATEN Control System Mobile App imports and updates profiles from the controller, offering the ability to control hardware devices via simple point-n-tap operations from a customised GUI. User access to any device can be password-protected for system security. When it comes to devices for controlling the multimedia systems in cabins, GMTS turns to the Apple iPad. If embedded touchpads are required in walls or desktops, it uses the iPad mini. iPads are available world-wide, can easily be replaced and support a wide range of other features such as audio/video streaming and alarms. 

The result is a multimedia solution which is extremely stable and reliable at sea.



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Issue 27