The house of worship environment is one that has been changing more than ever in recent years, and with this evolving landscape, new challenges have arisen that seem to permeate much of the market. A few of these common challenges include growth, “mobile” churches and implementing enhanced AV systems.
With growing congregations comes the need for expanding venues, which often require the implementation of new AV technologies. The growth often involves moving outside of a single setting. Congregations want to follow the service, in many cases stretching beyond one room, building or geographic location. When collaborative events go beyond a single building, they require the highest level of reliability to ensure quality video and sound. Many churches even have multiple distributed audio systems, with one for the main stage and others that might cover the church lobby or other adjacent areas.
New “mobile” churches are popping up across the country, presenting a fresh set of challenges that have never been addressed before. These churches don’t own a building, and services are often produced at a different location every week. Because the service is “portable,” the quality and reliability of the production becomes more essential than ever before, if they want to retain a following.
The implementation of videowalls is another common trend within the HOW market. This signage is used as an additional means for the church to enhance its congregation’s experience. Embracing these new technologies could make a church more appealing or familiar to younger generations by offering their younger members a true multimedia experience. This same technology doubles for older members, though, who may have trouble seeing or hearing the events on stage. Distributed sound and video can eliminate these problems, but they also require enhanced levels of reliability and versatility in the underlying network and digital extender technology.
As the HOW strives to deliver AV quality comparable to a high-end concert hall, coaxial cables and component equipment are giving way to new digital AV networks. Using standard IP, UHD quality video and digital audio can be extended or multicast around the venue from a single source. With the simple addition of a standard gigabit switch, you can fully manage any number of sources and displays on the network, and the control room looks more like an IT operations center where the IP network takes center stage.
The key to delivering HD video remotely is the availability of network bandwidth. As bandwidth grows, the ability to deliver better image quality and higher frame rates increases, and commercial AV solutions now offer churches real-time interactivity with remote locations.
If you look inside the main house of worship building, projectors can now use SDI signals over fiber cabling that run back to the video control room with its production switcher, broadcast control console and SDI matrix. Live video of the service can take place using high-end HD cameras to capture the service for later editing and distribution. Even Apple Mac Pro and iMac computers can be used as video sources and for video editing of services for later distribution.
To go beyond the main stage, encoders and decoders can be used to distribute live AV across the network, allowing members to experience the sermon in hallways, classrooms and additional overflow rooms, in real time.
Advances in IT technology and IP networks allow video content and data to be monitored from almost anywhere in the world, be it from a different room, different building or a different city altogether. This is facilitated through the use of KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) systems (over standard IP networks) that allow information and data to be reliably and securely shared across machines and between multiple locations in real time.
IP-based KVM solutions are a simple, yet effective, solution to manage the workflow and connectivity issues for this market’s developing needs. IP-based KVM solutions use the existing and inexpensive IP network infrastructure to remove the limitations of traditional AV equipment. The distances between rooms and buildings are therefore not prohibitive in delivering high-quality data, as IP delivery ensures that content is absolutely pixel perfect, even when extended to multiple locations or campuses. Additionally, IP-based KVM solutions allow operators to switch between many different component systems and workflows from one location, while enabling multiple locations to share the same resources.
The investment in higher quality AV in the house of worship market will enhance concerts from contemporary praise bands and deliver multimedia seminars to congregations to keep them engaged and inspired. Video streaming and broadcasting integration capability enables outreach to congregations anywhere.
Ultimately, the inherent benefits and new capabilities that IP can bring with these new technologies will keep the congregation fully engaged and informed, whether they are watching it up close or from a distance or different location entirely.