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Our Client

If this project would have been for a normal house the brief and implementation would have been straightforward, but our client’s home was a canal boat and this fact complicated the procedure a little. The client wanted a home cinema system in the main salon, 5 zones of audio and an additional video zone in the bedroom; a big task for a 69 foot canal boat. Thus, the system we were about to design needed to make the most out of the limited storage and living space on board whilst remaining accessible and easy to use.

The Project

The planning and coordination with the boat builder was key in realising this project. AV cabling and its installation was the initial step, and we supplied a full specification and wiring schematic for this work to be done. Several visits were made to ensure everything was in order and that the cables run to the correct points. Numerous design iterations were also required to ensure we could fit the equipment rack into the space available, which was by far the biggest challenge. The rack rails were fixed and access was enabled via removal of a cupboard to the right. The boat builder engineered this area with just enough space to service the system.

Our Solution

The large components and items that may have affected the boat fit were done in dry dock, this included the TVs, antenna mounts, in-motion satellite tracking system and the woodwork around the rack. The rack equipment included Sky, Playstation and Blu-ray for the video and audio zones with a music server and an Apple based Organ simulator completing the audio only sources, all these were fitted once the boat was in the water. The final installation was done in two different marinas on the Grand Union Canal. The time scales were much longer than usual due to the space restrictions on board, as it meant that only one person could work on the project at a time. Yet, apart from issues with limited space, another problem came up. The boat builder had used substandard HDMI cables for both TVs, this meant we could only pass 720p at most. To resolve this we switched to a Cat5 transmitter and receiver pair, we always lay Cat cable alongside HDMI just in case. After that adjustment we were able to pass 1080p without issue from the HDMI matrix.

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Canal-boat
Canal-boat
Canal-boat
Canal-boat

The Result

We are used to dealing with complex projects and bespoke, high-quality AV systems, but this project was a new challenge. However, it was a hugely enjoyable experience that has brought us a lot of newfound expertise. We succeeded in fitting the canal boat with a state-of-the-art broadband, satellite television and audio system, including antenna mounts and in-motion satellite tracking system. Learning about the very specific needs and requirements of clients who live in and on mobile vehicles, from reduced space to the fact that moving can adversely affect internet connection. As a result of this project, we embarked on an intensive programme of research and development to create ways to connect to the internet that are not compromised by the movement of vehicles and the process of travelling.