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AVoIP Case Study: LTJ Systems brings innovative, high-impact AV to Sandbar Mexican Grill

Popular dog-friendly space does color and fun over IP

Whether it’s a club, bar, restaurant, or event space, each venue owned and operated by Les and Diane Corieri’s Evening Entertainment Group (EEG) offers a distinct ambiance. One thing they all have in common, however, is the stunning AV experience delivered for their guests.

Those engaging installations are performed in-house by Jason Jones and his company LTJ Systems (LTJ), which does sound, video, intelligent lighting, and anything new with tech — whether it’s cold fire spark machines or hydraulic lifts for booths. It’s a recipe that works, just ask anyone who’s visited LTJ’s latest high-tech creation in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun: Sandbar Mexican Grill-Gilbert.

Following in the steps of its predecessors in Chandler and Desert Ridge, the third Sandbar location offers up a colorful Mexican-style décor, paired with a dog-friendly patio featuring private cabanas and a variety of games — from ping pong to cornhole. And thanks to LTJ, the bar and restaurant is primed to entertain with an advanced lighting system, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a myriad of displays to showcase sports and other content.


Highlights at Sandbar Gilbert include an 18-foot by 10-foot video wall consisting of 81 LED panels in a 9×9 configuration. In addition, 55 55-inch Samsung flat-panel displays are located throughout the property, with the ability to add more on the patio to accommodate big events, such as the bar and restaurant’s weekend-long Cinco de Mayo celebration. Feeding the screens are 13 DirecTV boxes, a cable box, one computer media input, two DJ booth inputs for music videos, a Roku player, and a Just Add Power VBS-HDIP-759A 3G+4+ video tiling processor that allows up to four inputs on one screen in different configurations.

When it came to video distribution at Sandbar Gilbert, a system was required that could be trusted to provide reliable operation day in and day out, and allowed managers to quickly and easily change the video source on any screen or group of screens in the establishment. To provide it, LTJ utilized a solution that had proven successful in a number of the company’s other installations: Just Add Power’s 2GW/3G HD Over IP platform, combined with networking solutions from Luxul and DTVGameControl’s iPad-based app for control.

“We’ve refined our approach to video distribution over the years, moving from simple matrix systems to single HDMI splitters and larger matrixes — all of which had drawbacks when it came to reliability, ease of use, or both,” said Jones. “We hit our stride with the Just Add Power HD Over IP platform. Not only is it completely dependable, but it offers functionality that other solutions can’t match. Combined with a rock-solid Luxul network backbone and the intuitive DTVGameControl app interface, the result is a high-performance solution that can easily and reliably handle installations of any size.”

Each video source at Sandbar Gilbert is equipped with a Just Add Power VBS-HDIP-715 PoE transmitter, while a VBS-HDIP-515 PoE receiver is attached to each display and the video wall. The receivers feature an integrated scaler that automatically adjusts the picture to fit the screen, while Just Add Power’s built-in SwitchPlease web interface allows LTJ to remotely access the devices to perform reboots if needed.

Completely scalable, the HD Over IP platform allows LTJ to expand the bar and restaurant’s system with an additional screen, source, or video format by simply adding receivers and/or transmitters. Taking advantage of this capability, extension receivers are located on the restaurant’s patio to accommodate additional displays if needed.

The Just Add Power transmitters are installed in a Middle Atlantic rack, along with the video sources and three Luxul XMS-7048P 52-port stackable Gigabit PoE+ L2/L3 switches, which manage the wireless network. For reduced cable clutter and a simplified installation, the Just Add Power receivers and transmitters run on PoE through the switches instead of relying on external power.

Bar and restaurant managers control the system using the DTVGameControl floor-plan-based iPad application. The intuitive interface depicts Sandbar Gilbert’s layout, display locations, sources, and more — all on one screen. Users simply tap a source to select it, choose a channel, and tap on the screen or screens they want to display it on. With Just Add Power’s tiler, they can easily display up to four images in a picture-in-picture configuration on any display. A live preview window lets them confirm their selection before making it official.

To quickly power on and off displays, the Just Add Power transmitters’ CEC feature sends on/off command signals over the same HDMI cables that deliver the video. This allows managers to power on/off all displays with a screen tap, without the need for additional IR equipment, cables, or remote controls.

“Managers at the restaurant who’ve never had to struggle with a different system have no idea how much easier Just Add Power, Luxul, and the DTVGameControl app have made their lives,” continued Jones. “But for those who have, they really appreciate it and love having this solution at their disposal.”


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