Fitness Center Challenges – Cable TV Integration
The flow of entertainment into the fitness center continues to present challenges.
The fitness center’s cardio equipment with integrated personal screen TVs were operating beautifully prior to the federal government’s conversion to the digital standard. Now, not so much. However, there are a variety of solutions now being offered by CATV companies–some cheap and some with more healthy price tags. Below, is Heartline’s summary of current electrical and CATV requirements for amenity fitness centers. For further information, don’t hesitate to call your Heartline sales representative.
- All commercial treadmills require 20AMP, dedicated circuits with 5-20R NEMA receptacles.
- Although, there’s a very good chance the other cardio equipment will be self-powered, it is always a good idea to install a standard duplex outlet for these units. There are two primary reasons to do this:
- As these cardio units age, the generators begin to dissipate, requiring them to be charged on an ongoing basis.
- If these other cardio units have TVs or may require TVs in the future then they will need an outlet for AC Adapter pack.
- For all other electrical requirements and/or concerns, please consult with your architect and electrical contractors.
- Each cardio unit with a personal screen television must have power (15AMP or 20AMP line) and a standard RG6 CATV coax connection and CAT 6 WIRING if a new facility for potential future use.
- It is preferred that the RG6 CATV coax connection be positioned next to the power-whether in the form of a floor or wall outlet.
- It is preferred that each CATV connection be a home-run line from the originating main CATV box. If this is not possible, customer must consult with its cable provider or general contractor for best alternative solution via signal boosting and daisy chain. However, it should be pointed out that any kind of signal daisy chain without adequate signal boosting will result in inadequate picture quality or no picture at all. Further demonstrating the importance of “home-run” CATV signals.
- All CATV lines should be “Hot” prior to equipment installation.
- For most situations, a client has three cabling options:
- Direct TV if it works for them. Best solution is their Comm1000 box. This solution is very similar to Comcast’s MdTa solution.
- Cable box with a “hard-wired” remote control (Comcast or Verizon dta boxes).
- Comcast’s new “MdTa” Box. (VERIZON AND CABLEVISION DO NOT HAVE AN MDTA SOLUTION AS YET.)
Finally, it is the client’s responsibility to discuss solutions with their cable providers-whether Direct TV, cable boxes, or direct hook-up via a “MdTa” box. From Heartline’s perspective, we simply need a RG6 connection at the wall or the floor to hook up our equipment. You can help give them some background, but ultimately, it is their responsibility to make this decision, and have the lines available when we arrive with the fitness center equipment.
CAB (Control Adapter Box) Solution
New facilities that purchase Star Trac, FreeMotion, or Life Fitness products from Heartline and do not wish to adopt Comcast’s “MdTa” set-top box solution, now have an alternative solution, called CAB. Control Adapter Box, or CAB, is a device the size of a cigarette box that velcros to the back of cardio unit’s console and plugs into both the cardio’s units PVS (RJ45 connection) and the CATV provider’s “dTa” set top box. Currently, the “dTa” set-top box is the most common and cheapest solution for fitness center cardio equipment. The problem with the dTa box is that it requires the CATV provider’s remote control to change the cardio unit’s TV channels, and also requires Heartline to program and set each TV to default to channel “3”as is the case of most home CATV setups.
By installing the CAB solution, the client is able to remove the remote controls from the fitness center, allowing the exerciser to use the cardio unit’s console to change channel and volume, making for a more appealing user experience.
In terms of existing facilities, those clubs/properties that have Precor®, Life Fitness®, Star Trac®, Matrix®, or Cybex® brands and use a compatible CATV provider and set-top box, may be able to eliminate their remote controls as well, using the Heartline CAB solution. To determine compatibility, we will need the following:
- Cardio equipment console brand and model number.
- PVS (Integrated TV) brand and model.
- Cable or Satellite set-top box brand and model.