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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Sennheiser Cinema Connect in a drive-in?

Author Topic: Sennheiser Cinema Connect in a drive-in?
Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1069
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 09-06-2017 11:28 PM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We get asked almost weekly from patrons who want to "stream" the movie audio to their phones. We tell them that the uploading and subsequent downloading would create a delay in the audio to the point where the sound wouldn't match the picture. They understand that.. for the most part.

Second thing we've been asked a lot lately is for "closed captioning" for patrons who are hearing impaired. Up until now, there really hasn't been a viable solution for "closed captioning" in a drive-in setting.

I found online the Sennheiser Cinema Connect system, and it seems to do everything I would want all in one box.
The Sennheiser box takes the closed captioning data from the server and transmits it via WiFi to the patrons own device via a free app they can download from iTunes or Google Play. It also streams the audio as well.

With a powerful enough WiFi signal, why would this not work in a drive-in setting?

Does anyone here have any "hands on experience" with the Sennheiser system?

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2646
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012

 - posted 09-07-2017 12:59 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I do know one location that uses the Sennheiser Cinema Connect system and they seem to be happy with it. It saves them the expense of having dedicated closed captioning devices. I also remember Carsten Kurz mentioning the system and having hands-on experience with it.

As for the wifi coverage, depending on the size of your plot, you would probably need multiple wifi access points to have good coverage. Also, you don't want too many associations on a single AP. To facilitate roaming, where multiple access points handle the same SSIDs, you should look at a solution with a controller. I've seen good results with very affordable options from Ubiquiti. There are also plenty of other options, like Cisco Meraki, Aruba Wireless and Fortinet FortiWifi, most of them far more expensive than the Ubiquiti option though.

You mentioning an app to stream the sound is an interesting one. I was recently trying to get 5.1 audio-streaming over Bluetooth to work in a modern Audi, which seemingly should've supported it. It didn't work. You're right though, with all the buffering on different levels, streaming audio via an app will be quite a nightmare.

It's unfortunate the DAB+ broadcasting standard never got much traction, even in Europe, where there is an active network, it remains an expensive upgrade for most new cars. DAB+ also has been upgraded to support 5.1 digital surround, by the same guys that brought us the MP3.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3865
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009

 - posted 09-07-2017 07:11 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't have hand's on experience with Cinema Connect, but I know a few cinemas who operate it and it seems to work ok for them. The installation manual has quite some passages on proper WIFI setup, range extension, suitable access points, etc.

It should certainly work for closed captions. Wether it actually works forwarding the received audio stream to car audio systems wirelessly, I doubt it. It will certainly work through a wired (headphone) connection to the car audio, but that is probably not what people expect (or have).
I would think that a 'standard' RF signal would still offer the best compatibility level.

- Carsten

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Clint Koch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1435
From: San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 09-07-2017 10:24 AM      Profile for Clint Koch   Email Clint Koch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Barry, thanks for your post and interest in CinemaConnect. There are only a couple units installed at this time in the US, both in California. I have been working for Sennheiser for the last year and would love to help you out. If you like you can reach me through Film_tech or we could PM. Let me know how and if you wish to proceed.

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