Page 1

Spring 2009


rd riggersdigest {

Trade News For The Installation Professional

Strong Support

New partnership impacts sound & lighting

Total Clarity

Multimedia HD Installations explained

Accessible Security

New CCTV Distributor makes life easy

Four Sight

A new vision for Sky+ and HD installations • TV & Satellite • Multimedia • Sound & Lighting • Security •

Winners of The QueenтАЩs Award For International Trade 2007, Horizon Global Electronics is a UK Company established in 2001 specialising in the design and manufacture of hand held test equipment for the digital satellite and TV sector. Our strength lies in being able to ямБnd innovative solutions to leading technology issues .




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FIxeD LCD aND PLaSMa BraCkeTry Display Mounts for 23” to 60” Plasma and LCD Flat Panel TVs • Single person installation – intuitive Hook & Hang design • A spare hand on installation – integrated spirit level •Neat and professional appearance - cable management system management system • Ideal for security sensitive areas - locking facility •Durable and robust – high strength materials • Stylish looks – superb black powder coating finish



editorsletter {

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Rigger’s Digest Unit 1 Redbourne Park Liliput Road, Brackmills Northampton NN4 7DT

editorial 01604 664575 editor Pete French 01604 664572


French editor

subeditor Miles Breakwell 01604 664575 exhibitions Shaun Morgan 01604 664575 graphics Gareth Wraight 01604 664574 artwork Lisa Tweed 01604 664576 webmaster Cathryn Bailey 01604 664575 photography Kiara Dalal 01604 664573


Breakwell subeditor

n Recognise the name? It’s been a while, but judging by comments we’ve received we get the feeling that the return of Riggers’ Digest is a welcome one. We think you will enjoy the broader platform, which allows us to look at the many faces of installation. Aerial and satellite riggers will hopefully find the news and features on the sound and lighting sector an interesting read, whilst security camera installations are an integral part of many walks of life and offer numerous crossover opportunities. n Business evolves. There is always a need for change, to move with the times, to innovate. Factors impacting on you will be varied – Digital Switchover, new products fuelling a change in consumer demands, which are in turn affected by things like the, dare I say it, the Credit Crunch. Many riggers are expanding their services, applying their expertise to new concepts, adding new strings to their bow. And training is an important issue – with the right qualifications come added marketing opportunities. The “Digital Tick” for aerial and satellite installers is a prime example, and we a take an in-depth look at this in this issue. n In conjunction with the Digital Technologies Directorate within Matthew Boulton College, each issue of RD will include invaluable tips and solutions related to technical issues faced by the Digital TV and Satellite installer. Highly respected in his field, Peter Chester is a Senior Digital TV NVQ Assessor/Verifier and we are delighted that he will be submitting topical articles as well as the regular Ask Matthew Boulton column, in which he gives answers to queries received from installation engineers who have been training under his watchful guidance. We’d like to thank Peter and the staff at Matthew Boulton College for their valuable contributions, the first of which can be found on page 48.

miles breakwell subeditor TM

Volume 2, Number 1 - Spring 2009

ISSN 2040-087X

© 2009 Solutions Group UK Plc. Riggers is published four times a year by Solutions Group UK Plc and printed in the UK. All rights reserved. Reproduction in the whole or any part without prior written consent of the editors is strictly prohibited. All product images and specifications are correct at time of going to press, but subject to change. E&OE. All trade names are copyright to their respective owners. All opinions quoted are that of outsourced material and may not be the opinion of the publishers. It is assumed that any images taken from sources which are widely distributed, such as on the internet, are in the public domain. However, since such images are passed freely between sources such as websites the original source is not always possible to trace. It is possible that copyrighted material has ended up in a public domain, if you see a graphic or image which should not be in a public domain please let our editorial or graphics team know, so they can deal with that matter.




rd 44

spring 2009

contents cover story

12 Litestructures Market-leading manufacturer

of truss and staging systems


50 Four Sight

18 Solutions Group Size and service do go together 24 HDTV

Putting the links in the chain

40 Green Matters

Total Clarity


Reducing the footprint

44 Trade Bodies

Which one will you join?

50 Four into One


...does go with the Vision SCR

52 Security for Installers

New specialist CCTV distributor

regulars 8

News Round-Up

The latest happenings

22 Business Briefs

Info & advice for the small business

30 Product News

New on the market

48 Digital Doctor


Strong Support

49 Ask Matthew Boulton Q&A tips from the experts 54 ProFile A casual chat with someone

Accessible Security

Technical solutions for the aerial and digital TV installer

you might know

plus 12

20 Diary Dates Major events for 2009 spring09


CAI Benchmark Standard 1 CAI Benchmark Standard 2 CAI Benchmark Standard 3 CAI Benchmark Standard 4 Forward Gain Max Gain Typically Max Gain Typically Front to back ratio Length Wind load Acceptance angle Cross polar rejection Feeder pickup

: Meets and Exceeds : Meets and Exceeds : Meets and Exceeds : Meets and Exceeds : Exceeds Standard 1 all channels : 13dBd flat : 15dBi flat : Exceeds -30dB : 1305mm : 800 N/m² at 120km/h : ± 7.5º : Exceeds 20dB : Exceeds -35dB

VISION Products (Europe) Ltd Unit 1 Redbourne Park Liliput Road, Brackmills Northampton NN4 7DT Switchboard: T: 0845 017 1010 Lo-Call F: 0845 017 1011 Lo-Call





rd newsround-up

Biggest ever Catalogue for 2009 Catalogue The

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media •

lite • Multi

• TV & Satel

Sound &

• TV & Satellite • Multimedia


• TV & Sate


• Security

Edi tion 200 9 -


ia • • Multimed

Sound &


• Security

• Sound & Lighting • Security

Catalogue The

• TV & Satellite

solutionsgrou p

• Multimedia

• Sound & Light

ing • Security

Freesat adds Five

Ed itio n 200 9 -



Freesat and Five were delighted to announce that the channel would become available on the digital service towards the end of last year.

2009 - Edition 17 TM



Solutions Group has launched the latest edition of its trade product catalogue. At 236 pages, the 17th edition is valid for 2009 and is the Group’s largest catalogue yet. Over 1600 products are featured from the huge range offered by the Group’s various operating divisions.


200 9 - Edi tion 17


A massive choice of TV & Satellite products is once again complemented by a range of Multimedia products such as mounting brackets for flat-screen TV sets and HDMI cables.

offered by our customers, with aerial and satellite installers, for example, now fitting full home cinema and domestic security systems. It seemed a logical move to give our customers a one-stop-shop in the form of just one catalogue from which they can source all the products they need.”

Featured for the first time is a large selection of products from two of Solutions Group’s other trade distribution arms, with a range of professional sound, light and trussing products from Impact Products, as well as CCTV equipment from Security Solutions.

Every product is presented with a full colour image and technical text, and each can be easily located thanks to easy to use indices. Full contact details of the Group’s national network of branches are provided, along with maps and direction to all the trade counters.

Commenting on the new catalogue, Solutions Group Managing Director Grant Lester said “We are seeing more and more crossover of the services

The catalogue is out now and is available from Solutions Group’s branches nationwide, and copies can be requested by phone or e-mail.


The terrestrial channel had been notably absent from the service since Freesat’s launch in May 2008 due to “rights issues”. Having resolved the problems, the broadcaster launched its flagship service on the digital TV provider in the middle of November. Freesat MD Emma Scott described Five, which joined the Freesat EPG on channel 105, as a “fantastic addition” to the service. With Five having now been available for some weeks, at its launch on Freesat Charles Constable, Five’s director of strategy, said: “I am delighted that Five will be available to Freesat viewers. Our launch will support three of Five’s objectives: to be universally available throughout the UK, to let viewers watch our programmes on the platform of their choice, and to enable as many people as possible to watch Five free of charge.” Launch dates for Five’s digital channels Five USA and Fiver have yet to be confirmed.


newsround-up rd

Need a Product Demo? Here’s The Solution The UK’s first club-sized dedicated Demo Room is set to be unveiled in February, as Solutions Group prepares to start offering its customers a unique “try before you buy” experience.

In its Northampton headquarters, the leading trade supplier has utilised part of its massive warehouse facility to create The Solution, a purpose-built auditorium where customers can put a huge choice of professional equipment to the test. This ranges from the amplifiers, speaker systems and lighting fixtures offered by sound and light distributing division, Impact Products, to a Satellite TV feed to support the launch and demonstration of products within the Aerial and Digital TV field. As well as having a wide selection of products on permanent display for on-the-

spot demonstration, personal auditions will be available by appointment for customers to put items in which they are interested through their paces. A full trussing system inside the room has been constructed from Litestructures’ Astralite3 and heavy duty Litepro290-4, from which any number of audio and lighting fixtures can be rigged for demonstration. Among the speaker systems rigged for testing, Brooke’s Stadium and Compact series Line Array will be flown with a range of amplifiers and sound processing equipment installed to produce a variety of audio results. Lighting fixtures will be interchanged on a regular basis, and any lighting or laser unit from Impact’s extensive stocks can be introduced on demand. This will particularly include the impressive selection of eco-friendly LED luminaires

from US-based Chauvet, for whom Impact is the exclusive distributor in the UK. Boasting a huge video wall and stage, the auditorium also provides an ideal venue for numerous events on Solutions Group’s busy calendar. As well as internal training sessions, staff and sales meetings, the Company regularly hosts customer training seminars on its product range, and The Solution is fully equipped to cater for all these. More news on The Solution and its official grand opening will appear in the next issue of RD.




rd newsround-up

Aspire to be Rewarded Solutions Group has updated its popular Aspire loyalty reward scheme with a brand new website and a much wider range of gifts in partnership with the leading high street catalogue retailer Argos. Open to all customers of Solutions Group, the scheme awards Aspire points to its members with payment for every qualifying purchase. Using their own personal login, members can monitor their account by keeping track of their Aspire Points total, and redeem them for their chosen gifts on the easy to use Aspire website.

Commenting on the improved scheme, Managing Director Grant Lester said: “Aspire operates all year round and members can now choose from over 18,000 gifts online, the best of the range of products offered by Argos. As well as still having gifts delivered to their business address, members now also have the option of ordering vouchers so they can collect their Aspire purchases personally from their nearest high street Argos store.”

comprise TV & Satellite Solutions and Multimedia Solutions, Impact Products distributing professional sound and lighting products, and specialist trade supplier of electronic security equipment Security Solutions. Registering to participate in the unique loyalty scheme is easy and can be done online by following a few simple steps from the Aspire link on the homepage on any of the divisions’ websites.

The Aspire scheme is available to the trade customers of all the divisions which make up the Solutions Group network. These

College offers Free NVQ With Digital Switchover now firmly underway, coupled with the growth of HDTV, increasingly high levels of expertise are being demanded from installation engineers. Through its Digital Technologies Directorate, Matthew Boulton College is at the heart of delivering National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) for engineers installing and upgrading aerials and systems both during and beyond the move from analogue to

digital television within the UK. Recognised nationally by key organisation within the sector, including Digital UK and respected trade associations, the college offers flexible delivery methods of the NVQ level II & III, as well as the City and Guilds 2218 Certificate in Digital Aerial Installation programme. One of these methods comes through a partnership with Solutions Group, which sees the leading trade distributor offering the use of extensive

Matthew Boulton College of Further & Higher Education

facilities in its Northampton headquarters for the conducting of NVQ training. This will provide engineers in the Northampton and London catchment areas with better access to Digital TV and Satellite Installation training. Staff from the college’s digital team are visiting Solutions Group’s Northampton trade counter every Tuesday and Thursday to answer questions on the training programme from installers calling in to the branch, who will then also be able to enrol for their preferred course. Training course sessions will then be held in Northampton twice weekly from February, and Matthew Boulton College is offering places free of charge to those existing customers of Solutions Group who meet the entry criteria.

10 spring09


newsround-up rd

Chauvet in the Pink Supplied by Impact Products, Chauvet Lighting’s COLORado LED series had its RGB mixing capability put to the test when Event Lighting Services used them to light up the landmark Falcon Cliff building in Douglas, Isle of Man in support of Breast Cancer Care charity’s official “In the Pink Day”. For the third successive year, the island was renamed the Isle of Woman for a weekend of fund-raising activities in the autumn. In support of this ELS were delighted to accept a request to donate their services in illuminating the former hotel in pink for three nights. ELS used four of Chauvet’s COLORado1 9-channel wash lights and two COLORado3 12-channel bank systems. Both

ideal for outdoor use with IP66 weatherproofing, the models offer full RGB colour mixing with or without DMX control as well as a range of built-in automated programs. “As soon as we were asked to help, we knew straight away that these were the right lights for the job” said ELS owner Justin McMullin. “We’ve always been impressed by the vivid colours and spectacular brightness we get from Chauvet’s LED range, and because of this we only had to use six fixtures to light up the whole building.” Justin also noted that the units offered versatility, as he was able to use the mounting and doubleyoke brackets as floor stands.

Isle of Man’s leading stage and event lighting rental specialists, taking advantage of Impact’s same day despatch and free delivery policies on qualifying orders to source their extensive range of Chauvet lighting products. As Master Stocking Distributor for Litestructures, Impact also supply ELS with lightweight aluminium trussing and staging from their huge stock.

Event Lighting Services are the

New Webshop portal for whole group Solutions Group has launched a new design for the online portal to the Webshops for its numerous operating divisions. With simple navigation, customers wishing to order products online can quickly access six different Webshops supplying TV, Satellite and Multimedia products, sound and lighting equipment from Impact Products. and CCTV from Security Solutions.

Group’s catalogue. Replicating the catalogue’s cover, a group of colour-coded figures watching a giant screen act as links to the different divisions, with a button to take the visitor through to the specific Webshop once the desired division has been selected.

Links are now also featured to dedicated Webshops the Group is operating for two of the major suppliers to its professional sound & light division, namely Litestructures and Chauvet Lighting.

Alongside a route to Solutions Group’s main website containing information on the company, there is also a link to the website for the Group’s unique Aspire loyalty scheme, where members can monitor and redeem points earned on purchases from all of the Group’s divisions against a massive selection of gifts from Argos.

With an attractive home page,, mirrors the design features of the new 2009 edition of the

All Webshops offer online purchasing of the whole of

the Group’s range, 7 days a week. Request for full access is done in a few simple steps from any of the Webshops, whilst registration for Aspire membership is also available from the home page of the scheme’s website.

spring09 11


rd litestructures

litestructures Support for your ideas 2008 marked the 25th anniversary of the introduction of Litestructures’ AstraLite, the world’s firstever lightweight aluminium trussing system a high-performance, modular concept that gained rapid acceptance and remains in worldwide daily use. With high levels of demand across the UK alone, last year Litestructures began the search for an improved Route to Market in the form of an established trade distributor. It didn’t take too long. All the required elements of generous warehouse capacity and a nationwide infrastructure for fast and efficient delivery, backed by expert knowledge and dedicated customer support, was soon found in the form of Impact Products, now the Master Stocking Distributor of Litestructures. Originally a manufacturer of aluminium

12 spring09

scaffold towers, in the spring of 1983 Litestructures’ MD Adrian Brooks received a request from a customer for a triangular truss from which equipment could be flown on a forthcoming opera being toured around schools across the north of England. This led to the production of the 3-chord truss which is now recognised as an industry standard. The solution Brooks and his team created comprised three straight lengths of what is now commonly referred to as A03, and two 90° corner pieces to create a goalpost effect. Customised base plates were added to give the structure stability.

Creating connections Such was the delight of the client with the finished product, he suggested it be shown at that summer’s ABTT show in London. Brooks’ decision to follow up on

the idea proved lucrative. “We had already been contemplating a 3-way corner to complement the new truss system,” says Brooks, “when a show visitor enquired about the possibility of creating a rectangular structure on four legs for use on an electronics trade roadshow”. This was the spur needed to accelerate the development of the new component, and the rest, to quote a phrase, is history. One of many notable achievements came just a couple of years later when the staggering two-level set for the Channel 4 live music show The Tube was constructed entirely using AstraLite. Nowadays it’s difficult to imagine any event without aluminium trussing. In 1990, the restructuring of the company saw Litestructures relocate from its long-term Leeds base to nearby Wakefield to cater


litestructures rd for the continuing expansion of the range of both its products and services. This new site was soon outgrown and after a further 5 years in Wakefield’s Durkar area it become evident that even bigger and better equipped premises were required, resulting in a move to the Company’s current address. Newly built, state of the art 4000m² premises in South Kirkby, Wakefield were occupied in 1998, coinciding with the founding of Litestructures Deutschland. The subsidiary was set up to handle sales in the Company’s largest export market of Germany as well as to provide a warehouse and distribution hub for the wider European marketplace. Since 2003, what is now the Litestructures Group has had a second manufacturing base in Romania. “Creating this centre for the efficient engineering and manufacture of the Company’s standard products allows our Wakefield headquarters to focus on its R&D and the production of custom products for our many bespoke projects,” said Brooks. The South Kirkby site has since doubled in size with the renovation of the complex and the establishment of the renowned Litestructures Studios four years ago. The largest purpose built facility of its kind in Europe, this gives prestigious touring productions the ideal stage on which to plan and test their sets, drawing on the service

and expertise of Litestructures’ staff. The long list of prominent clients already includes the Stereophonics, Coldplay and Holiday on Ice.

box sections, they make use of a bolted connection to eliminate unsightly fixings from the main chord to provide the cleanest possible lines.

Truss for all occasions

Available in a choice of Standard or Heavy Duty formats, LitePro290, along with its bigger brother, the Heavy Duty LitePro390, deliver high load capacities over longer spans to the professional market, and both benefit from the advanced TaperLok connection system. This easy-to-fit tapered spigot ensures a rigid joint whilst minimising deflections over spans of up to 15 metres.

Matching the numerous stages of Litestructures’ evolvement into the leading manufacturer it is today, the product range has developed to provide a solution to practically every structural need in its market. AstraLite is now just one member of the Litestructures family of modular trussing systems, with the introduction over the years of both smaller and larger formats specifically designed for a wide variety of environments. The widely acclaimed ShopLite has found endless applications in the retail and exhibition markets and is an indispensable tool for creative architects and interior designers. Despite slender aesthetics and compact dimensions, it has a considerable load capacity making it the obvious choice for instances where both looks and performance are paramount. Some applications requiring architectural aesthetics, however, demand even higher performance than that offered by smaller truss. This is satisfied on two levels by the MaxiLite and MegaLite ranges. Combining optimised diagonal paths with simple yet robust

The “big daddy” of the family is undoubtedly the 520Pro. A large format solution to the heavy duty load suspension needs of the live production and touring industry, 520Pro incorporates the latest jigging and production techniques to allow higher accuracy as well as robust long-term performance. With the exception of the 3- or 4-chord LitePro 390 and 4-chordonly 520Pro, the modular truss systems come in a choice of 2-, 3- or 4-chord models, and can be configured into virtually any size and shape of structure thanks to the extensive range of corner components. Angles from 45° to 135° LiteMast line array tower

Versatile use

spring09 13


rd litestructures are variously combined with twoway up to six-way connections, with options of apex-up or down in the case of the 3-chord format. All this is further supplemented by the LiveLite and Digitruss ranges. The former was the first ever trussing to incorporate an integrated lighting track, whilst DigiTruss, the world’s first trussing track to carry both power and data, helped Litestructures to win the TPI award in the Favourite Set Construction Company for an unprecedented second successive year in 2006.

Staging it all The product family tree, however, extends well beyond the branch of trussing and all its related accessories. The LiteDeck modular stage system joins its sister trussing product AstraLite as undisputed industry standard, with endless stage configurations created from the wide range of shapes and dimensions in which LiteDeck units are available. A robust 19mm ply with matt black finish is the most popular style of decking top, but the choice also includes clear macrolon or aluminium mesh to respectively allow understage light or pyrotechnic and smoke effects to filter upwards LiteBarrier through the crowd stage. control system A system of legs and frames facilitate stage heights of up to nearly 2.5

14 spring09

metres, with a range of modular steps to suit every level and a choice of handrails to provide the finishing touch. What’s more, all the component deck units come in a choice of standard bolt connection or the intuitive TopLok system, the latter offering huge time and crew cost saving benefits as an integrated claw catch is easily engaged with the single turn of an Allen key. 2007 saw the launch of LiteMast and LiteBarrier. LiteMast was conceived to bring the development of trussing towers for the support of compact line array systems in line with that of the speakers themselves. Using the innovative ProBase with an integrated motor mount in conjunction with LitePro290 main truss, the system offers a structurally certified load capability of up to 625kg and allows the fast, one-man rigging of a complete 7.5m PA mast. For ease of transport and storage, LiteMast folds down and can be rolled directly in or out of position by means of an optional castor kit. In direct response to feedback, Litestructures now provides its customers with a modular crowd control solution in the form of the lightweight yet strong LiteBarrier. Complying with 4kN loading regulations and with a unit weight of just 35kg, the 1m wide sections fold flat for storage and two different sizes of framed dolly board, the BarrierDolly, are available for the simple manoeuvring of up to 12 sections at a time. An effective hinge and pin mechanism allows easy assembly and breakdown, and the system benefits from the Wedge and adjustable Versa Corner sections which enable the construction of a multitude of crowd line configurations. Points of barrier entry for security personnel can

be positioned anywhere along the line by use of the matching Access Gate.

Catalogues and DJs Extensive ranges of accessories, from spigots and quick release pins to clamps and end caps, along with other market specific products such as the GigRig™ – a complete and portable “lighting rig in a bag”, aimed at the mobile DJ – are all featured alongside full technical information on the trussing and staging systems in Litestructures’ recently updated product catalogue. And together with the product comes service. Litestructures offers a full range of design consultation and build facilities for complete stage sets, exhibition stands, tailored components and custom projects. Last year saw the opening of a brand new 3000m² manufacturing facility for Litestructures Romania. This was followed at the start of PLASA08 in September, one of the most important dates on the industry’s calendar, by Adrian Brooks and his counterpart Grant Lester, MD of Impact’s parent company Solutions Group, announcing the agreement which saw the appointment of Impact as Master Stocking Distributor in the UK for all Litestructures standard products. PLASA08 also saw the launch of a brand new touring DJ Console, commissioned by globally recognised DJ Paul Oakenfold and constructed of ShopLite3 and 4.


litestructures rd Designed by Litestructures in association with Pioneer and Anolis, the console drew the comment from Oakenfold: “It was important to have a console that is easily transported, can be adapted and expanded for any specific reason or occasion, and is visually appealing. I am delighted with the beautiful piece of staging technology that has been produced.” Since then, Litestructures and Impact have cemented their relationship by sharing a stand to promote their combined expertise in manufacturing and distribution on the Irish stage at Dublin’s EvenTech Ireland exhibition in November. The show gained the two companies a new hire partner in the form of Castle Stage Hire, who has now become one of leading suppliers of mobile stages both north and south of the Irish border. In 1983, the launch of AstraLite revolutionised the touring entertainment market. Since then, Litestructures has continued to support innovative ideas, whether they come from the world’s top performers and sports teams, from individual riggers and architects, or even from rocket scientists. From anyone, in fact, who has a similar determination to Litestructures itself - the drive to create something special.

LiteDeck modular staging and (right) AstraLite, the industry standard

Flashback, 5th Sept 2008: How the news hit the press Litestructures, one the largest manufacturers of lightweight aluminium trussing, staging and structural solutions in the world, has appointed Impact Products as its Master Stocking Distributor in the UK. Adrian Brooks, Managing Director of Litestructures, said “I am delighted to announce the contractual completion of the deal with Impact Products, which we expect to be worth well in excess of £10 million over the next few years. Impact has a complete infrastructure in place to fully serve our mutual customers and we look forward to a highly successful partnership”. Impact offers Litestructures’ products with immediate availability from stock in its Northampton base, supported by a national network of trade counters as well as fully automated on-line purchasing platforms on its webshop litestructures. Litestructures is renowned for its wide selection of lightweight yet strong ranges of trussing, complemented by its innovative LiteDeck staging system. With a modular basis to all products, they are easy to install can be constructed on a custom-built basis, giving a

professional and high-tech look to every installation from shop interiors to large stadium. Impact, an operating division of Solutions Group, is already the UK’s leading trade-only supplier of professional audio and lighting equipment. Adding the Litestructures range to its product portfolio means small or portable installations right through to large clubs and theatres will be able to satisfy all their stage, sound and visual requirements from one trusted source. Same day despatch and free delivery are both available from Impact, who also offer technical knowledge from its expert sales team alongside a dedicated customer service department in their national headquarters. Litestructures customers can now also benefit from Impact’s no credit card charge policy as well as its unique Aspire loyalty scheme, through which reward points can be earned and redeemed against the full range of gifts from the leading catalogue retailer Argos. Impact Products can be contacted on 08456 00 22 55 or For more information visit

Adrian Brooks (right), Litestructures’ Managing Director, with Grant Lester MD of Solutions Group

spring09 15


50mW Green Effects Laser


180mW RG DMX Effects Laser

Cluster Buster II 150mW RGY DMX Effects Laser


Bubble Machine Manual Bubble Button

LED PAR 38 Pack Hurricane F-650

Set of 4 LED Black Cans, lightweight stand, chaser and footcontroller

Fog Machine Wired Remote

Just Some of the High Performance Products at Affordable Prices available today from all good DJ stores

Vue 1.1

6-channel DMX LED Moonflower Blackout/Static/Strobe

DJ Bank

Compact RGBY LED Bank Fully automatic/sound activated


DJ Twin Table

Rack Case converts to twin deck tops and mixer desk ®


19” Mixer Rack Case

Twin Door, 8U, Lift Up Rack ®


Protective Shoulder Case ®

Four Lined Compartments



rd thecompany

sizing it all up Are you a TV rigger getting your equipment from TV & Satellite Solutions? Or maybe an installer of sound and light systems phoning Impact to order the products you need? Or perhaps a search for electronic surveillance equipment has led you to Security Solutions? Did you know you are all valued customers of Solutions Group (UK) Plc? Originally a trade supplier only of aerial and satellite equipment to television installers, Satellite Solutions began life in 1991 with just a handful of staff working in a small unit in Northampton’s Moulton Park. Founded by two engineers with longstanding technical experience in such fields as radio frequency, the unrivalled service offered by the company attracted more and more trade customers and quickly led to the opening of its first trade counter in Scotland. With the opening of several new branches, as well as a number of business take-overs, came a change of name. Satellite Solutions evolved into Solutions Group 8 years

18 spring09

ago, followed by a need for larger premises in 2003 in order to continue fully supporting both its growing customer base and increasing product range. Range Two adjoining industrial-sized units in Brackmills now make up the company’s national headquarters and, along with a network of 15 branches across the country, it holds a diverse range of over £3million worth of products in over 150,000 sq. ft. of warehouse capacity. Solutions Group is now Britain’s leading trade distributor to the TV & Satellite installer and also offers a range of multimedia products in support of the continued advances in home entertainment technology. But today this is just one part of the overall operation.

The last couple of years have seen the addition of two new divisions: since its launch in 2006, Impact Products has become the UK’s fastest growing trade supplier to sound and lighting professionals, whilst Security Solutions specialises in the distribution of electronic security equipment.


Alongside trade counters housed in the company’s main base, a chain of branches nationwide serves the Group’s customers from Edinburgh to Poole. With the vast majority having their own warehouse facility to ensure over the counter availability, they all have live computer access to stock held throughout the country for on-the-spot ordering of any item. Many customers already avail themselves of the national telesales centre, knowing that orders can be made quickly and efficiently over the phone for immediate despatch. Managing Director Grant Lester has always been keen to provide customers with a high level of service, including the most convenient ways for customers to access the products they want. “We have also developed fully automated online Webshops, linking directly to our in-house stock and sales system. They are easy to use and allow registered users to browse the full product ranges for each division. Every product is displayed with a detailed description and image, live stock availability and current prices” said Grant. “All products can then be ordered online, 24 hours a day”


thecompany rd Regardless of ordering method, a national fleet of specialist delivery vans then offers the possibility of same day despatch and free delivery for qualifying orders.

attentive after-sales support with a dedicated customer service team handling any issues which may arise on orders, and they work in close contact with our inhouse service and repair centre” he said.

Value As a leading supplier, Solutions Group is well aware that cost is just as important to its customers as level of service and quality of product. Longstanding relationships with over 100 trusted manufacturers are translated into extremely competitive trade prices, and this superb value is increased further by monthly special offers. Add to this a no credit card charge policy, arrangements for free carriage and the availability of credit accounts, and the whole thing adds up to the best trade prices available. What’s more, Solutions Group is accredited by BSkyB as an Authorised Sky Wholesaler, meaning it is one of a select number of distributors nationwide which can sell subsidised Sky equipment to registered ASA installers. A further benefit offered to aerial and satellite installers is the free online advertising offered on com. Registration is free to all relevant customers, allowing them to promote themselves to consumers who are searching online for installers in their area. Service Grant Lester also believes Solutions Group is unique in its field because it actually treats customer satisfaction as its number one priority. “Our technical expertise is not just limited to our knowledgeable sales staff. We also provide

Both departments are based in the group’s Northampton offices, speeding up the way that queries on products are dealt with. To enhance this service further, the distribution hubs around the country work in conjunction with the vehicle fleet to make sure any faulty goods are in the hands of the right people for their immediate attention. The importance of making sure the right product is matched to the job has been a spur in another recent customer-focused innovation. With the principle of “try before you buy” in mind, and particularly aimed at the sound and light professional looking for powerful and reliable equipment, ‘The Solution’ is the UK’s first club-sized demo room in which any product can be rigged up by appointment for a full pre-sale demonstration. Whether it’s an IRS satellite television system that is being installed, entertainment venue or security camera network, each of the company’s divisions prides itself on being able to offer technical assistance and advice on the installation to get the best results from equipment.

appreciative of its customers’ business. The unique Aspire loyalty reward scheme says a big thank you, awarding Aspire Points on purchases which participants can monitor with their personal log-in on a dedicated, easy to use website. The points can then be redeemed online against a choice of over 18,000 gifts from the leading high street catalogue retailer, Argos, with the option of having the gifts delivered or collecting them in-store. Membership of the scheme is free and available to everyone, with simple online registration found via the Aspire link on each division’s website. One-stop shop Whatever the product range, Solutions Group provides a distribution network right across the country with a clear focus on the customer. Excellent prices go hand in hand with expert sales staff, swift delivery and a commitment to customer service. The 2009 Solutions Group catalogue is the biggest ever, featuring products from all the divisions in one publication for the first time, along with details of all the branches nationwide. With all this to offer, it’s no wonder Solutions Group are confident that you won’t find a better place to buy.

Rewards Solutions Group is very

spring09 19


rd diarydates

don’tforget... ite TV & Satell ow, Cardiff 3 Feb 5 Feb 17 Feb 19 Feb 15-16 Jun 23-25 Jun

CAI Roadsh w, Exeter CAI Roadsho e w, Cambridg CAI Roadsho ark P w, Haydock CAI Roadsho ir CAI Trade Fa 09, London o CEDIA Exp

Sound & Light

3-5 Feb

Integrated Systems Europe, Amsterdam 4-5 Feb The ARC Show, Lond on 25-26 Feb evenTech Scotland, Glasgow 28 Feb-1 Mar Sounds Expo, London 1-4 Apr Prolight & Sound, Fra nkfurt 26-28 Apr PALME Middle East, Du bai 28-29 Apr PLASA Focus, Leeds 16-19 May Showlight, Glasgow 16-18 Jun Showtec, Berlin 23-24 Jun BAR 09, London Security 1-2 Jul evenTech, Singapore po 09, 13-16 Sep PLASA09, London Counter Terror Ex 1 Feb -1 10 3-4 Oct BPM, Birmingham London usseldorf 24-25 Nov evenTech Ireland, Du EuroCIS 2009, D blin 12-14 Feb pe, Infosecurity Euro 28-30 Apr London gham SEC 2009, Birmin 11–14 May IF Expo 2009, TranSec World 3-4 Jun Amsterdam 20 spring09


rd businessbriefs

knowyour rights

don’t get it wrong

Employment legislation is a complex matter. And just when you thought you’d got your head around it all you, the Government makes changes in various areas requiring your valuable time to research and implement. To help keep you up to date, RD reviews some of the changes in areas of the law which may affect particularly the smaller businesses operating in our sectors.

22 spring09

National Minimum Wage

Paid Holiday Entitlement

From 1st October 2008, new hourly rates were introduced on the following age scale:

From 1st April 2009, employees’ statutory annual holiday entitlement will rise from 24 days to 28 days, including Bank Holidays.

22 and over £5.73 18 to 21 £4.77 Under 18* £3.53 *and no longer of compulsory school age. It is also expected that changes will be introduced in the early part of this year which will mean that ex-gratia payments such as tips and service charges may no longer be taken into account when determining an employee’s minimum wage.

Statutory Sick Pay Where SSP is concerned, an agency worker is classed as an employee but was previously not entitled to receive SSP if on a contract of less than 3 months duration. This changed from 27th October 2008 so that agency workers can now claim SSP even if working under a fixed term contract of less than 3 months.


businessbriefs rd Maternity Rights The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Amendment) Regulations 2008 saw changes to legislation in relation to Maternity Leave. Entitlements under Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and Additional Maternity Leave (AML) were previously treated separately, but now for mothers of babies born on or after 5th October 2008, all benefits (with the exception of pay) available during OML must also be provided during AML. Examples of contractual benefits that mothers may claim during AML which were also available when on OML include: • Accrual of contractual holiday entitlement; • Company car; • Contractual non-cash benefits, where the employee has taken a salary sacrifice in return for a non-cash benefit of equivalent value such as child-care vouchers.

Flexible Working A Government consultation is currently in progress which may see changes come into force in April with regards to requesting flexible working. These may include: • Extending the rights to request flexible working to parents of children up to 15 years old, compared to the current child age threshold of 6 years; • Generally raising awareness of the right to request flexible working. Certain sections of the UK workforce have been identified as being unaware of the extent if their rights in this area, for example fathers and carers; • Simplifying the process for employers to deal with requests.

Employers’ Liability Insurance The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 came into force at the start of October 2008, introducing some changes to the employers’ handling of their liability insurance certificate. The certificate no longer has to be kept for 40 years, and the requirements to display it have changed so that the certificate can now be displayed electronically as long as employees have reasonable access.

Statutory Disciplinary and Grievance Following the consultation launched in May 2007 “Resolving disputes in the workplace”, the Government’s response is making the following proposals: • The abolition of the statutory dispute resolution procedures; • The introduction of an ACAS revised code incorporating penalties for non-compliance; • The introduction of a new fast-track procedure for the handling of straightforward monetary claims. This could allow claims for matters such as holiday pay, national minimum wage, breach of contract, redundancy pay and unlawful deductions from wages to be resolved without a hearing in certain circumstances. With its response, the Government is confirming the measures proposed in the Employment Bill, which is currently due to come into force on 6th April 2009.

Equality Act In June last year the Government published the White Paper “Framework for a Fairer Future – The Equality Bill”. The Equality Bill intends to bring together all current discrimination legislation in a single Act, written in “plain English” to promote understanding by all of the rights and responsibilities it contains. It is expected that the Bill will: • Allow positive discrimination in the case of selection between two equally qualified candidates where under representation of a minority group may exist; • Seek to reduce the gender pay gap by prohibiting the pay secrecy clauses in employment contracts; • Introduce conditions for Employment Tribunals to make recommendations in discrimination claims which can be applied to the whole workforce and are not restricted solely to the successful claimant. These are highlights of some recent and forthcoming changes in employment legislation which RD feels may be of interest, and more importantly that those of you operating a busy small to medium business in a hands-on way may not have had the time to investigate. Riggers’ Digest accepts no responsibility for, and cannot advise on, the implementation of any such legislation and recommends seeking the advice and support of appropriate legal organisations.

spring09 23

rd rd highdefinition {

highdefinition let’s be clear High Definition – or simply HD - television is arguably one of the biggest developments in broadcasting history since the introduction of colour TV over 40 years ago.

But in this digital world of the 21st century, with new products, or moreover technical advances in existing products, being launched onto the market at an alarming pace it is sometimes difficult to keep abreast of the changes. And as far as TV is concerned, there is certainly a lot to keep up with right now. How many will be staring at a blank screen come Digital Switchover as, despite all the publicity, they still won’t have taken the right

24 spring09

measures to make sure they can catch the evening’s episode of ‘Stenders on DSO-day, even in Standard Definifion? So with a combination of ever-increasing consumer choice and the resultant information overload, is it any wonder many don’t fully understand what HD is, and how it works?

According to recent research undertaken by a major household electronics manufacturer, 80% of UK consumers don’t know the difference between HD-Ready and HD-Ready 1080p, with a further 25 per cent of Britons not really understanding what HD is, thinking that simply owning a TV with an HD-Ready logo instantly

makes all programmes HD.

At the risk of preaching to the converted, the unbelievable depth and clarity of the superb picture quality afforded by HD is due to the major increase in vertical lines from the conventional 576 to the 720 or indeed 1080 used in HDTV, with the pixels in each of those lines also being significantly closer.

Dot your “i”s and watch your “p”s… Whilst there are technically three formats of High Definition, television broadcasts use one of two of these – 720p or 1080i - with the third, absolute best format of 1080p not used by broadcasters due to the demand on bandwidth. This latter format


highdefinition rd 1920



NTSC: 480i & 480p PAL: 576i & 576p HD720: 720p

The two TV broadcast formats differ not only in their resolution, but also in the way the image is displayed. In the 720p version, the picture is made up of 1280 lines along the horizontal by 720 vertical lines with the “p” indicating that the image is shown progressively, that is, drawn in a single scan sequentially from top to bottom. This is very much in line with LCD and plasma screens, which are inherently progressive devices. With a higher display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the 1080i format uses interlaced scanning to construct the image, hence the “i”. This system was developed in the early days of television as a way to provide acceptable picture quality without using too much bandwidth, and builds up a video frame from two scans. The first scan produces every other horizontal picture line, with the alternate lines in between then displayed by the second scan. The benefit of this to the broadcaster is that a sufficiently high scan rate can be used to


480 576 720

HD1080: 1080i & 1080p is therefore currently the reserve of other media, with some 1080p movies perhaps appearing in Blu-ray, and Sony’s PS3 and the new generation Xbox360 producing 1080p output.



avoid image flickering while only using half the bandwidth which would otherwise be required for progressively scanned images produced at the same rate.

Putting it on display Each of these two display methods is suitable in turn for different types of programming. Due to the issue of visible flickering when displaying quick motion, interlacing can cause what appears to be a loss in vertical resolution and therefore image quality, and consequently is not ideal for sports broadcasts, which tend to be in 720p at 50/60 frames per second (fps). Exceptionally sharp images for slower-moving content, however, are created in 1080i. This is because the bandwidth saving generated by interlacing can be channelled into delivering 50/60 higher resolution 1920x1080 fields whilst reducing the frame rate by half down to 25 or 30fps. A high-res screen with at least 720 lines will show both formats but only a 1080-line screen will show 1080i footage at its best, i.e. in an un-scaled form. As mentioned above, the traditional nature of LCDs and plasmas means they were designed for progressive scans

and are therefore unsuitable for interlaced images. As a result, they have to “de-interlace” broadcasts in 1080i before these can be viewed on a progressive display. It is worth noting that when this complex process is performed thoroughly, the conversion to progressive image is very good indeed. Conversely, cheaper and simpler conversion methods can produce quite poor results, so putting time and effort into researching the deinterlacing hardware available in different apparatus is advisable to ensure that the end result suits viewing expectations. Having said that, some LCD and plasma displays natively supporting the 1080 line format’s resolution of 1920x1080 pixels are starting to become available. By default, however, they are physically large and expensive and therefore still only found at the top end of their respective markets. This creates a predominantly budget-led decision between the improved pixel resolution (compared to Standard Definition) of a downscaled 1080 line image, and the higher quality image (but also higher price) afforded by a native 1080 line display. But that is just part of the story. So far we’ve only talked about the wonderful picture on the screen, which is the last link of a chain which has to be upgraded all the way along in order to display HD programmes. For a system to receive High Definition broadcasts, it must have a special HDTV cable connection between the HD Ready TV and an HD-compatible set-top box receiver. HD Receivers are available from a selection of satellite and cable providers, providing access to varying ranges of Pay TV HD services as well as the BBC’s

spring09 25


rd highdefinition free-to-air HD channel. HD set top box receivers usually carry the ‘HDTV’ logo, and the options are studied in more detail further down. For a TV to meet the requirements laid down by the EICTA (European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Associations) and be able to display the HD Ready logo, it must have at least 720 lines of vertical picture resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio (HDTV is in widescreen format), be able to display both 720 and 1080 line content, and just as importantly have the necessary interfaces to accept high-definition content. These include a digital HDMI or DVI input (at least one of which supports HDCP) as well as analogue component video input. Indeed, the type and number of connections offered by an HD TV will invariably be at the forefront of its marketing material. Although the interfaces for traditional connection methods, from Composite through to SCART and Component Video, are still found on HD TVs, they do not support the HD signal. The reason for their continued inclusion is purely so that other existing Standard Definition devices such as VCR or DVD can still be used through the new device.


26 spring09

For transmitting the HD signal from the receiver to the TV there are, in principle, two connection methods, namely Digital Visual Interface (DVI) and High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). The newest of these, HDMI, along with later versions of DVI, are compatible with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, or HDCP. HDCP is a code encrypted into the digital signal to prevent the content from being copied, at the same time ensuring that only compliant devices will talk to each other. If an HDCP video source is connected to a display without the correct HDCP decoding mechanism, the resultant image may have a snowy effect or be in very low resolution.

HDMI DVI was developed in response to the inability of analogue formats to properly transmit higher bandwidth and higher resolution signals. Whilst it was designed to deliver high definition video between components such as digital cable boxes and digital displays such as flat panels, and provides comparable video quality to the newer HDMI, audio must be carried on a separate connection. Offering a single cable solution, HDMI carries both high-definition video and multi-channel digital audio signals, neatly eliminating the need for separate video and audio cables. In certain instances, an HDMI is the only option: the Sky+ HD Box, for example, now only has an HDMI interface. One obvious implication of this is that the box can then only be connected to

an HD Ready TV, avoiding any mismatch of devices and at the same time ensuring that HDCP is supported.

Receiving Loud and Clear Having made sure that the HD compatible display will be correctly connected to an HD receiver, the remaining step lies in the selection of an HD set-top box. The consumer effectively has a choice of four providers from which to get an HD receiver, with varying channel ranges and subscription policies. Bringing home an earlier point once again, however, consumer information websites are at great pains to stress that owning an HD Ready TV and having an HD subscription does not magically transform all TV programmes into High Definition. Programmes are only broadcast in High Definition on specific HD channels, of which there is a limited number, albeit steadily growing. Worth pointing out at this stage as well is the fact that some HD channels only operate at certain times of the day, or to show specific broadcasts such as sporting events. The BBC’s dedicated BBC HD channel is currently on air in the evening, with slightly extended hours at the weekend and for ad-hoc live broadcasts. BBC HD is expected to increase to 9 hours a day in 2009. HD TV is not yet a wall-towall, 24/7 experience, but the channel and programme choices as well as the schedules are increasing at a positive rate. At the time of going to press, the widest choice of HD channels is offered by Sky HD on its subscription service, with a differing number of HD channels available through Freesat and Freeview as well as on Virgin Media’s cable service.


highdefinition rd Briefly summarised, Sky HD broadcasts in 1080i format, with the decoder de-scaling to 720p where required, and currently offers a total of 28 HD channels (including 2 Box Office channels) in addition to its extensive choice of standard digital channels. The price and set-up charge for the set-box vary depending on ordering method and status as a Sky Digital customer. A £10 monthly HD Pack fee in addition to any existing Sky TV subscription then gives access to the HD equivalent, where available, of any Standard Definition channel covered by the existing subscription. Three HD channels are available without subscription, so that BBC HD, Channel 4 HD and Luxe TV HD can also be accessed without paying the monthly HD Pack fee (although the cost of the receiver is then considerably more). Channel 4 HD requires a viewing card, and note the absence of ITV HD, primarily due to software incompatibility. The relatively new joint digital satellite venture between the BBC and ITV, Freesat, is the first service to offer HD content from both broadcasters across practically the whole of the country free of charge (after the one-off payment for the of equipment and installation). Currently available to over 98% of the population, it delivers 140 digital TV & radio channels

1 4

3 2

without subscription, with both BBC HD and ITV HD available within this. Freesat HD receivers support High Definition broadcasts transmitted in both the 720p and 1080i formats, so that programmes are shown in the format which the broadcaster feels best suits their content. Cable TV provider Virgin Media is the only other platform which is currently HD-enabled, but with BBC HD as its only regular HD channel at the moment. Alongside this, however, it does offer an increasing number of HD programmes supplied from various broadcasters, as well as a growing selection of movies in HD, as part of it V+ Video on Demand service. Virgin Media’s V+HD box does offer the feature of being able to record two channels simultaneously whilst watching a third, and supports both 720p and 1080i HD formats. Freeview, providing digital TV through an aerial for the single cost of a receiver – either as a set-top box or integrated in a Freeview digital TV – does not currently offer HD TV, although this set to change from the second half of 2009 as the digital switchover continues and space is released for reallocation on the digital terrestrial television platform. Along with the BBC, Channel 3 licensees (ITV, Channel TV, stv and UTV) and a collaboration between Channel 4 and Welsh-language broadcaster

Decoding the Connection Enigma 1. Standard satellite dish (or cable TV connection) 2. HD Receiver 3. HDMI cable, DVI-D and audio cables, or audio and component video cables 4. HD Ready TV Monitor

S4C have had capacity reserved by Ofcom and services are expected to begin in the Granada region next autumn, with the roll-out across the country completed by the end of the digital switchover in 2012. It is hoped that a fourth HD service on DTT will be available next year.

Room to grow According to numerous reports, the number of HD Ready TV sets in the UK rose from approximately 700,000 at the beginning of 2006 to 10 million, roughly 40% of all households, by the middle of last year, with the sharpest rise in these figures being noticed in the early part of 2008 alone following the launch of Freesat. This is attributed by many commentators to the attraction of the one-off installation fee of Freesat giving access to a choice of HD channels without subscription. HD TV still represents a very small percentage of the total number of broadcasts available today, although the BBC is committed to producing more and more programmes in HD. This, together with constant marketing and the initial experience leaving the consumer wanting more, is expected to fuel further demand. But, as we have seen, there has to be a connection between the supply provided by the broadcasters and the demand of the consumer. Make sure that the connection is a solid one, in the literal sense, and that all the right components are in place. To paraphrase and old song, the HD Ready TV is connected to the HDMI cable, the HDMI cable is connected to the HD box, the HD box is connected to the satellite dish….

spring09 27

Brooke… From the latest low weight, switch-mode, Power Amplifiers to full size Line Arrays, everything here at Brooke is created with a single idea in mind. Quite simply, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. And at Brooke we don’t like weak links. Brooke can help you through any professional sound project from beginning to end. From amplifiers and audio processors, line arrays to architectural speakers, uncompromising quality of build and amazing design is what Brooke is renowned for.


…No Compromise Be confident that when you use anything with a Brooke badge on it, you’ll experience product features and reliability that will take your breath away. Professionals accept no compromise and Brooke customers want nothing less than stunning performance and top-end specification. We know you won’t settle for second best - so we won’t either.

• PA Speakers • Venue Speakers • Line Arrays

• Amplifiers • Sound Processing • Stadium Speakers


rd productnews

Brooke lightens the load Featuring revolutionary lightweight Neodymium speaker magnets, Brooke’s visually stunning NF-PRO series of professional Full Range speakers have turned previously back-breaking speakers into something noticeably more lightweight and portable. The range offers a choice of four models with 8”, 10”, 12” or 15” bass drivers mounted alongside a symmetrically horned tweeter to deliver superior high fidelity sound from 150w to 350w at 8Ω. With a very flat frequency response, ranging from 58Hz18KHZ to 80Hz-20KHz, the speakers offer a clear and transparent sound, with steep crossovers minimising floor reflections. The dual angle horn positioning makes the units perfect for front stage and nearfield applications. Of significant weight-saving advantage to portable applications, not only are the Neodymium drivers around 25% lighter than traditional speaker materials, their use also means cabinet enclosures can be simplified which adds further to the overall lightening of the load. Ease of transport is optimised

thanks to integral grab handles. Constructed from high density birch plywood, the stylish cabinets also look superb in fixed stage and architectural installation. Finished in black crackle-effect PU, a matching metal grille is securely fixed to the housing to protect the drivers. With maximum versatility in mind, not only can they sit vertically on the floor or be angled horizontally as monitors, they can be flown thanks to chassis-bolted aluminium brackets. An integral top-hat means they can also be mounted on 35mm poles. Neutrik Speakon® sockets on the rear and top ensure compatibility

with industry standard amplifier connections and allow multiple units to be linked together. The high strength-to-weight ratio of both the Neodymium drivers and plywood enclosures means the NF-PRO range delivers superb sound quality at a fraction of the weight some equivalent, traditionally constructed products. The NF-PRO series, along with all other ranges of speakers, amplifiers and sound processing equipment, is available from Impact Products, and can be viewed and ordered online on their 24-hour webshop.


Drivers (Bass/ Tweeter)

Power (RMS)


Max. Dims., mm (w x h x d)



1 x 8” 1 x 1”


80Hz – 20KHz

270 x 470 x 215



1 x 10” 1 x 1”


75Hz – 20KHz

320 x 515 x 240



1 x 12” 1 x 1”


65Hz – 18KHz

390 x 580 x 310



1 x x15” 1 x 1½”


58Hz – 18KHz

460 x 720 x 370


30 spring09


productnews rd

Laser Illuminator outstrips LED A series of revolutionary long-range infra-red Laser Illuminators is soon to be available through Security Solutions. Representing a major technological improvement on traditional LED equivalents, they offer even lower energy consumption whilst lighting very large areas, providing unrivalled night-time vision. Mounted separately for use with a wide range of colour and mono cameras, the compact and lightweight units have been designed with both safety and performance in mind. With no moving parts, they benefit from a long service life and safely disperse the beam at a wide angle to light up large areas of up to 600m² at impressive distances of up to 300m. All water resistant for indoor and outdoor use, the four models differ in effective distance to suit both near-field and long range applications, with increasing area






Laser Power





Beam Angle


Application Distance





Area of Coverage










Power Supply

12v DC

12v DC or 240v AC

12v DC or 240v AC

12v DC or 240v AC

of coverage. Laser power starts at less than 1w, and most models come in a choice of either 12v DC or 240v AC power supply. Measuring a maximum of just

209x136x106m (excluding PSU included on the 240v AC models), the laser IR illuminators will be available from Security Solutions as well as from the nationwide branches of Solutions Group.

LED gets on Par

Chauvet® has updated its one-box Par38 lighting system with the launch of an LED version. Aimed firmly at mobile and touring installations, the pack comprises four Par cans with adjustable mounting brackets, and comes complete with lighting stand, footswitch and chaser.

With robust black metal casings, the single colour red, green, blue and yellow pars are each fitted with 96 LEDs and are sound controlled with simple connection to the 4-channel, fully automated chaser. The fixtures can also be controlled using the included footswitch. The lightweight tripod stand has a more than generous 20kg load capacity and is height adjustable to over 2.1m, with the mounting bar providing a width of 1m. All mounting screws are, of course, supplied.

With a total pack weight of less than 8kg, the LED Par38 System is extremely portable and is quickly assembled, breaking down into compact dimensions for ease of transport and storage.

spring09 31


rd productnews

Armed for Protection Electronic security equipment manufacturer Armed has launched a range of complete 4 and 9-channel recording kits. Including 4 cameras, each kit comes with a Digital Video Recorder with remote control, all cables and camera mounting brackets to offer a one-box solution for an instant security system. The two 4-channel options lead in with the Cutlass 1604 model consisting of a 160GB MJPEG DVR and four CMOS cameras, two with 4mm lenses and two with 6mm lenses and all fitted with eleven infra-red LEDs for automatic night viewing. With greater storage capacity, the Sabre 2504 comprises a DVR with 250GB hard drive packaged with two Sony CCD cameras with 3.6mm and two with 6mm lenses. Twelve IR LEDs in each camera allow excellent night viewing.

All cameras are water resistant for both indoor and outdoor use, and positioning is extremely flexible thanks to the 18m long connection cables. The included brackets mean quick and easy fitting, whether wall mounted or standing. Fully compatible with most home security systems, the DVRs produce high quality video images with a D-1 PAL resolution of 720x576. As well as continuous and timer scheduled options, recording can be activated by motion detection and all modes allow recording from 4 cameras simultaneously. With a remote control for ease of use, the system also benefits from unattended operation over long periods. Video and snapshot images are easily transferred to PC via the USB2.0 port, whilst an RJ-45 interface allows remote internet viewing for broadband users, with all appropriate

cables included. Each kit also has a SCART lead for simple connection to a TV or monitor. Alarm outputs will activate external devices such as lights when recording, and the operation of pan, tilt and zoom cameras is supported if connected. An adaptor for the DC 12v power supply is included. One retailer already actively stocking the kit is the Aerial & Satellite Shop of Handsworth in Sheffield, whose sales manager Daren Loxley commented: “The low cost was the first thing which attracted us to the product. We set one of the kits up in the shop for demo and soon realised how quick and easy it is to install.” For increased video surveillance capability, the Sabre 5009 kit packages all the above components but with a 9-channel 500GB DVR, which allows a further 5 cameras to be connected in addition to the four included Sony CCD devices. Solutions Group’s Sales Manager Jo Griffiths has noticed a “significant diversification” in the service offering of the group’s trade customers as many TV & satellite installers embrace the opportunity these cost-effective and easy to install kits offer to help them grow their business. The kits are available from Solutions Group’s national network of trade counters, online from their webshop, as well as from Security Solutions.

32 spring09


productnews rd

Holy Multiswitches! – The Phantom leaps into Vision TV Installers are coming across increasing demand to install systems in small multi-dwelling units where there is no landlord’s supply and where both satellite and terrestrial amplification is required. Designed as a cost-effective solution, Vision Products (Europe) Ltd have introduced the V75-516RPS “Phantom” receiver-powered active multiswitch. The Phantom will power a Quattro LNB and, if necessary, a terrestrial masthead amplifier from a single satellite receiver or inexpensive power supply built into the system.

One Phantom will supply signal to 16 subscriber lines independently, allowing different reception configurations to each individual subscriber. Very flat gain performance with signal delivery of up to 60m mean the Phantom operates a small IRS system without installing an additional and costly central mains supply. With Vision’s typical eye for thoughtful design in support of speedy installation, all inputs are colour coded

for simplicity and the unit also features an LED power indicator for instantaneous checking of active supply. Aimed at simpler, cost sensitive systems, the Phantom maintains Vision’s renowned quality and performance in a one-box IRS solution at an affordable price.


Chauvet create a new Legend Among a number of new LED spots and washes complementing their already comprehensive choice of lighting options, Chauvet

Lighting have recently launched a 10 to 14-channel intelligent LED moving yoke wash particularly suited to club, stage and architectural applications. The Legend 6500 offers DMX512 control and full RGBW mixing capability, with other distinguishing features including adjustable colour temperatures (preset values from 3,200°K to 10,000°K), instant colour change trigger, and a thoughtful design focused on stability and discreet operation. Fitted with a total of 90 high power LEDs (18 2w red, 24 5w blue, green and white) and 15° lenses, it produces an excellent long-throw wash - 14,780 lux at 2m - with a beam angle of 12° and a field angle of 23°. Optional 30° lenses, available in packs of 20, can be substituted to provide a wider beam configuration.

dimming, remote fixture reset, automatic pan and tilt correction, adjustable fan speed, an LCD display with password protection, and the ability to recall custom programs via DMX. Neutrik Powercon® power connectors ensure compatibility with industry standard control equipment. The use of eco-friendly LEDs means substantial savings in both energy consumption and physical weight compared to lamp-fitted lights. At less than 20kg, the Legend 6500 is an attractive, eco-friendlier option for demanding club and touring installations.

Standard functions and features include variable electronic strobe, electronic

spring09 33


rd productnews

DVI is Alive and Well

Views of male DVI connectors

Its flash cousin HDMI may have superseded the humble DVI connector (Digital Visual Interface), but there are lots of installations that still require DVI as the input connector, and it is found on more equipment than you may realise.

The DVI connector contains pins to pass the DVI-native digital video signals. In the DVI-I (Single Link) case of dual-link systems, DVI-I (Single Link) additional pins are provided for the second set of data signals.

Projectors are an example. The very newest projectors use HDMI but there is a massive market for second hand and lower specification units. PCs are another example where DVI still holds over 60% of the market. Graphics cards have for a very long time supported the DVI connector. DVI is one of the fastest ways to transfer data or video. It beats every other connectivity standard apart from HDMI hands down. DVI is a 24-bit digital RGB interface that can support computer resolutions as high as 1600 x 1200 (UXGA), and the 1080p high definition television format. Using DVI with a digital display device, such as a projector, personal computer or flat screen monitor, will create an entirely digital-to-digital connection. With a VGA cable the information from a digital source like a computer has to be

converted from digital to analogue. When using a projector there was an additional conversion back to digital. Each conversion slightly degrades the quality of the final image. A DVI connection will therefore provide the least number of conversions, providing the consumer with the best quality image. The DVI connector comes in three formats, depending on which type of signal it implements: DVI-D (digital only); DVI-A (analog only) and DVI-I (integrated, digital & analogue). The long flat pin on a DVI-I connector is wider than the same pin on a DVI-D connector, so it is not possible to connect a male DVI-I to a female DVI-D by removing the 4 analog pins. It is possible, however, to connect a male DVI-D cable to a female DVI-I connector. Many flat panel LCD monitors have only the DVI-D connection so that a DVI-D male to DVI-D male cable will suffice when connecting the monitor to a computerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s DVI-I female connector. Fly leads in lengths of 3m, 5m and 10m are also available featuring a DVI-D connector at one end and an HDMI at the other. These will connect a DVI-D monitor to a source with HDMI output, or indeed vice-versa, and have 24k gold plated connectors for optimum connectivity.

DVI-I (Dual Link)

DVI-D: ForDVI-I the transmission of (Dual Link) digital signals. DVI-I (Single Link)

DVI-D (Single Link) DVI-D (Single Link) DVI-D (Single Link)

DVI-I (Dual Link)

DVI-D (Dual Link)

DVI-D (Dual Link) DVI-D (Dual Link)

NB: The long flat pin on the DVI-D connector is wider than DVI-D (Single Link) that on a DVI-I connector. DVI-A DVI-A DVI-A: Analogue, pins provide the same analogue signals found on a VGA DVI-D (Dual Link) connector.


DVI-I: Integrated, for the transmission of both digital and analogue signals.

DVI-I (Single Link)

DVI-I (Single Link) DVI-I (Single Link)

DVI-I(Dual (Dual Link) DVI-I Link) DVI-I (Dual Link)

34 spring09



Today’s consumers demand top quality entertainment delivered by leading edge technology. The UK’s independent retailers and installers deliver this technology better than any other route to market – fully supported by the UK’s leading trade distributor – SOLUTIONS GROUP. No other wholesaler comes close to our network of trade counters located throughout the UK. Each is manned by fully trained technical experts, providing unrivalled customer support, before and after you buy. If product choice and instant availability is important, you will appreciate our colossal range and stock depth. We hold over £3 million of inventory - all available for same day despatch or collection. Ordering is easy. We have more than 60 experienced sales staff located at the trade counters around the UK. Our prices are really low because you benefit from our massive buying power. You save on everyday products and those special items as well. We even reward our registered customers with Aspire points on every purchase. To find out why more and more installers and retailers choose Solutions Group, visit or call your nearest depot and ask for your free trade catalogue today.

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Berkshire Tel: 01344 621531 Birmingham Tel: 0121 458 5515

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Solutions Group (UK) Plc, Units 1-2 Redbourne Park, Liliput Road, Brackmills, Northampton NN4 7DT Registered in England Number 2565454

• ue log ata c r u colo


rd productnews

Speaker Systems for all venues Many venues and installers have struggled to justify the cost of installing full line array – until now. Today even smaller venues can afford superb sound quality and powerful delivery without breaking the bank, thanks to Brooke Products. Looking and performing just like other more expensive systems, Brooke’s line array systems can be used in a wide variety of configurations to suit almost any venue at realistic price points. In a choice of the two distinct Compact and Stadium ranges, they are designed for both indoor and outdoor use and deliver tightly focused sound with maximum throw at live event venues, theatres and clubs to name but a few ideal applications. Typical arrays comprise one or two subwoofers working in conjunction with two, four six or eight full range speakers. Specifically catering for the small to mid-size venue, the BRLA208T Compact Full Range speakers feature two 8” drivers plus a centrally mounted compression driver, delivering 250w RMS at 8Ω with a wide frequency range of 100Hz – 20KHz. Supplied in sets of four, they mount directly

36 spring09

onto the BRLA118S bass units, fitted with a 500w 18” bass driver and with a frequency response of 30 – 300Hz. The suitability of the larger Stadium series is succinctly summed up in its name. The powerful BRLA1108S Subwoofers feature two 700w-rated 18” bass drivers with superb response across a frequency range of 30 – 200Hz. Front and rear flying brackets allow the Stadium series’ full range boxes to be securely fitted underneath when flown. These BRLA22812S Full Range speakers work across an impressive frequency range from as low as 60Hz up to 17Khz, catered for by a carefully configured set of

drivers: two 1.7” compression drivers, two 8” mid-range drivers and two 12” bass drivers together deliver a total of 1100w at 8Ω. Whilst adjustable mounts allow both systems to be arranged in the distinctive line array “curve” when flown, they give a superb response when ground stacked. With ease of transport and installation in mind, all models come in their own flight case with fold-flat handles and braked casters and are supplied with a wheeled dolly board. What’s more, they all feature Neutrik Speakon® sockets to ensure compatibility with industry standard amplifier connections.


productnews rd

A New Beam for your Roof Designed in direct response to feedback from installers, the Beam™ series of 32or 52- element digital aerials from Triax have been developed with both easy mounting and durability in mind. Only an Allen key is required to assemble the Beam thanks to its simple “click and go” mounting method, saving valuable installation time. Constructed from aluminium and plastic and fitted with F-connectors, the Beam aerial has the rather unique feature the balun being embedded in weather-resistant plastic, leading Triax to claim that the dipole is the first to be 100% waterproof. The aerial has been subjected to rigorous trials to ensure it can withstand the harshest of weather, has been UV-tested and is expected to achieve CAI Benchmarking Certification

in the near future. The elevation brackets allows adjustment of the elevation by ±30°, and it is surprisingly easy to change the polarisation from vertical to horizontal and vice-versa, as required. The wideband aerial is designed for reception of channels 21 to 69, with Gain of 13.5dB (Beam 32) or 15.5dB (Beam 52) and a Front to Back ratio of greater then 26dB. The HD-Ready Triax Beam offers high performance and quality whilst being very easy to assemble, mount and adjust mount

Put it in (Brackets)

Designed with the latest Plasma and LCD televisions in mind is a range of flat panel display mounts from Multimedia Solutions. In the absence of a standard mounting system for many display units, Multimedia Solutions’ brackets are universal and compatible with a wide variety of models on today’s market.

Developed to suit any installation requirement, the choice of Fixed, Tilt, Swing and Articulating mounts between them cater for screens from 23” up to 60”, supporting up to 75kg. Ranging from entry level products aimed at the value oriented installer to feature-rich brackets for the

more demanding customer, they incorporate thoughtful features to aid speedy installation and increase customer satisfaction.

The integrated spirit level gives a spare hand on installation, whilst the hook and hang design on most models means a single person can install the brackets quickly and easily.

Elements Group

Beam 32

Beam 52














Windload (N)



Weight (Kg)





Size (mm)

A locking facility enables panels to be secured with a padlock if used in security sensitive areas. Constructed from durable aluminium alloy or high strength cold-rolled steel, the brackets have a black powder coating to give a high quality and aesthetic appearance which is further enhanced by the neat and professional finish afforded by the cable management system. Realistic pricing and quicker installation benefit the installer in terms of installation cost and time, whilst the high quality presentation will undoubtedly lead to greater levels of customer satisfaction.

spring09 37


rd productnews

Multi-satellite Multiswitch Responding to increased demand from local authorities and housing associations across the country for a more multicultural channel base, Vision Products is delighted to introduce the V9 range of 9-wire multiswitches. Based on the success of Vision’s market leading V5 series, but distributing signals from two satellites as well as from a terrestrial aerial, they offer the same fully active performance as well as similar low current consumption. In a choice of 8, 12 and 16-output mains or linepowered models, the V9 range is suited to small and large IRS installations systems in either stand-alone radial or “tree and branch” tapped systems.

as standard to outputs for compliance with cable and earthing regulations as well as to ensure minimal signal degradation. The mains powered models have the added feature of switch-mode power supply, meaning greater energy efficiency and reduced heat generation for durability, and all have an LED indicator for on-the-spot verification of power supply.

Vision’s V9 series also includes a range of taps, splitters and mains or line-powered head-end amplifiers, and all are available from leading aerial and satellite wholesalers.

With amplified satellite and terrestrial inputs, they have satellite gain of up to 12dB and terrestrial gain of up to 7dB, and stepped gain outputs allow very easy signal level equalisation. Installation is further aided by colour-coded inputs, whilst earth bonding bars are fitted

Blue, Blue, Electric Blue Lanta Lighting seem to have filled a black hole in the lighting effects market with their affordable B50 Blue Laser. Featuring a very bright 50mW blue diode, the unit offers 8 DMX channels to set its multiple effects functions, including patterns, strobing, dots and lines, horizontal and vertical motion and zooming. Alongside DMX control, these

38 spring09

built-in effects have automatic or manual control options, or can also be set for sound activation. With power controlled by an isolating key switch, the front panel has power and mic LED indicators. A pivoted bracket is fitted as standard for the optimal hanging position from trussing or lighting stands. With hardly any blue lasers currently on the market, the B50 adds a distinctive edge to any lighting display at a

price that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.


productnews rd

Taking a Vue

Tight Fit A revolutionary new compression-fit male BNC connector is now available from Security Solutions, offering costeffective reliability and durability. Designed for use with RG59 or equivalent coaxial cables, the connector has a brass reducing pin and brass/nickel housing to give a thoroughly dependable connection to devices whose long-term continued performance is vital, such as CCTV cameras and DVRs.

Floridabased Chauvet Lighting have launched new models in their Vue series of eco-friendly LED moonflowers. With 6 channels of DMX-512 control, the Vue 1.1 offers blackout, static and strobe options with a range of built-in automated and sound-activated programs operated in master/ slave or DMX modes. Fitted with 84 LEDs (36 red, 24 green and 24 blue), there is individual control of red, green and blue LEDs and the fixture has a coverage angle of 34°. The Vue 2.1 is a rotating moonflower effect and offers a wider coverage angle of 47°. With 7 channels, it comprises a total of 162 red, green, blue, yellow and white LEDs. Also featuring built-in automated and sound-activated programs operated in master/slave or DMX modes and blackout, static and strobe options, further features of the 2.1 include

variable motor speed for the rotation function and individual control of four separate sections. Both models are lightweight and portable at just over 2kg and 3kg, and are supplied and therefore easily portable adjustable hanging brackets on slide rails for flexible positioning.

Even more notably, Security Solutions believes this is the first male BNC plug on the market with compression fitting to provide the most secure and reliable cable fit. Speed and ease of fitting are also greatly improved by this method, saving valuable installation time. Fast and reliable connections with a long service life are now available in product at a remarkably affordable price.

Impact Products are the exclusive distributor of Chauvet in the UK, and a full colour catalogue is now available featuring the whole of Chauvet’s lighting and effects range.

spring09 39


rd greenmatters

greenmatters Green thinking can mean different things to different people. To some it means making sure yesterday’s newspaper is put out for recycling, to others it’s saving money on power bills, to others it’s nothing less than simply saving the planet. In all fields of life, manufacturers are taking major environmental issues into consideration when developing new products, and in making improvements to existing ones. And this increasing

40 feb09

Chauvet’s COLORado 3 LED Bank Sytem

may be aware of. Whilst incandescent, halogen and discharge lamps excel at producing various levels of light at a multitude of colour temperatures, they trail LEDs by a long way in terms of energy efficiency and lifespan.

Long life, low power

An LED – or Light-Emitting Diode - is a small semiconductor device which converts electricity into light, using an adjustment of power levels to create different coloured light. Because there is no filament to heat, LEDs are cool to the touch and are not subject to the unpredictable failure of incandescent bulbs, meaning LEDs have a typical long life span of between 50,000 and 100,000 hours. This gives years of continuous use without the need to change a single light bulb.

LED lighting is a term used in everyday life with a lot of positively green implications, some of which not everyone

The fact that the LED is so much lighter in weight and does not generate high levels of heat has led to further savings as

ecological awareness and is no more evident than in the technological innovations which have been seen in recent times in our sectors. The rise of LED lighting and the significant reduction in power consumption in many TV and Satellite products are just two examples of the huge efforts being made in commercial areas to reduce our impact on the world around us.


greenmatters rd supporting products have also been modified: simpler housings for lighting fixtures using LEDs, with no further need for cumbersome cooling fans, for example, means significant reductions in production energy and materials.

Technology-led Innovation Florida-based lighting manufacturer Chauvet were among the first to embrace this technology and is now a leader in eco-illumination, producing an extensive range of LED fixtures which are both innovative and highly efficient. 2008 saw the launch of a number of LED lighting products from Chauvet. The range of moving head colour spots, washes, banks and panels offer full RGB colour mixing – some with the addition of white and yellow LEDs – which in turn saves on the need for colour gobos and integrated colour wheels in creating a wide spectrum of colours. The Legend 6500 is fitted with 90 high-power LEDs (18 600mA red and 24 each of 1300mA green, blue and white) and has an output comparable to a 575W discharge lamp but with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.

Light Source

The table below is an example of how efficient LEDs are compared to 575W discharge lamps in producing coloured wash light, based on the performance of wash light fixtures measured by Chauvet. Among the other new Chauvet products, the MiN™Spot and MiN™Wash are remarkable in their compact size, being small enough to sit in the palm of a hand, and both are fitted with a single, 50,000hr 14W RGB LED in a fixture that weighs just 3.8kg. Indeed the MiN™Spot was the first ever LED-fitted spot to be launched in the US, whilst the Vue series of mid-air moonflower beams were similarly the first fixture of their type to be seen with LEDs. Offering a range of washes in a variety of formats from single heart lights to banks and panels, the COLORado™ series uses LED throughout with all but one of the fixtures in the range being IP66 rated for outdoor and indoor use.

575W Discharge


White with Red Dichroic

White with Green Dichroic

White with Blue Dichroic




Source Efficacy







Optical Efficacy







Overall Efficacy









The low power V9 9-wire multiswitch from Vision

The colour mixing capability was successfully put to the test when COLORado1 and COLORado3 units were recently used to light up in pink a historic building on the Isle of Man in support of a fund-raising weekend.

One Third off Everything Energy-saving technology is not just confined to the field of lighting. Installers of complex IRS satellite TV systems in places such as large hotels or blocks of flats may already be familiar with the V5 range of 5 wire line- and mains-powered multiswitches from Vision. Along with a range of V5 taps and splitters, the fully active multiswitches offer excellent signal distribution and feature intuitive touches installers have come to expect from Vision, such as colour coded inputs and factory-fitted earth bars all thoughtfully included to simplify the installation process and help make significant time savings.


feb09 41


rd greenmatters It is also worth noting that V5 products are BSkyB approved for use in all Sky Homes registered installations. Most importantly, though, in the context of looking at ecofriendly technology, is the low power consumption of the V5. By their very nature, passive switches have huge insertion losses whilst previous active line-powered switches were extremely power hungry as they worked to overcome this. V5 was revolutionary at its launch as it only powers the terrestrial circuit unless a satellite receiver is connected to reduce the multiswitch current consumption to 70mA, making larger systems possible from smaller power supplies. This environmentally much kinder approach further translates into significantly reduced running costs for the landlord. Utilising the same power and space saving features as the V5 range, for 2008 Vision also launched a brand new 9-wire version. V9 distributes signals from two satellites as well as terrestrial, satisfying the demand from a number of local authorities and housing associations for a more multi-cultural channel range. In much more compact units than their less efficient counterparts, in a nutshell the use of V5 and V9 saves one-third of the power, saves one-third of the installation space required and represents a saving of one-third on the cost of equipment compared to their older rivals.

Standby for Savings Did you know that new software from Sky released nearly two years ago has reduced carbon emissions from UK households by over 52,000 tonnes, a saving which is greater in itself than Sky’s own carbon footprint of 45,555 tonnes? This is more than just being carbon neutral, but how is it being achieved? There is no need to leave Sky set top boxes switched on to ensure the Sky Guide is up to date – this happens when the box is in active standby mode. Sky has always encouraged its customers to switch their set-top box to standby when it’s not in use, as this can save up to 50% of the energy consumption. In March 2007 Sky took this a huge step further with the introduction of the world’s first Auto Standby function for the more than 4 million Sky+ and Sky HD boxes in use in the UK today. By July this year, Sky will have rolled out the software update to the remainder of its 9 million customers. When first launched, the auto-standby feature became effective at night. The new function now monitors whether set-top boxes have been inactive for four hours during the day and two hours at night and, if so, the receiver will display a short warning message before

Sky goes on standby

42 spring09

automatically switching to standby, where it will remain until the customer turns it back on.

According to Sky, a Sky+ set-top box uses 28 watts on average when on, reduced to 14.5 in standby. An HD box uses 36 watts when on, and 19 in standby mode. With the launch of Auto Standby into all its types of receivers, Sky estimates a reduction of 90,000 tonnes in its carbon footprint and an annual saving of £20m in consumers’ energy bills. Continuing this commitment to sustainability, Sky plans to cut the energy use of new satellite dishes by around 10% through the use of low power LNBs, and hopes that by 2010 its new set top boxes will use no more than 3 watts of electricity in standby mode. Many of us take advantage of low-energy light bulbs around the home, and split our rubbish for recycling, “doing our bit” for the environment. The modern world provides us with many comforts which we now perhaps take for granted, and we know we are now counting the cost. It is good to know that the rhetoric of large organisations is actually backed by physical steps being taken on an industrial scale to reduce mankind’s footprint. They may not have saved the planet, but hopefully they’re going some way to putting it on the road to recovery.






















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Product Catalogue 2008/09




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Hundreds of quality products available in our catalogue. Ask your wholesaler for a copy today, or visit




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SIGNAL AMPLIFICATION Low Energy Ultra Low Noise Top Performance

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Sky Approved V4 & V5 IRS Switches. New V9-9 Wire.

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Launch Amps for every application

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rd tradebodies


Bamboozled by the choice of trade bodies active in your field? Want to have your credentials and workmanship endorsed by the badge of a recognised organisation, but not sure which one is right for you? RD takes a look at the organisations working in the field of TV, aerial and satellite installation, hopefully giving a clearer picture of the services and support they offer and helping you make the choice about where to pay your membership fee. 44 spring09


tradebodies rd


Confederation of Aerial Industries Ltd. When was your organisation established? The CAI was established in 1978 from the NFAC – National Federation of Aerial Contractors. Its name changed to encompass a broader remit that included manufacturers and distributors as well as installers of TV and Radio Aerials. How many installing companies (or engineers) are members? From humble beginnings of about 30 members it has grown to a body that represents over 1,000 companies involved in all aspects of broadcast reception. There are around 700 companies involved in installation of some description. These members employ anywhere between 8,000 to 10,000 engineers.

Is your organisation growing and if so by how much? The CAI saw rapid growth in the early 1990s with the advent of Satellite TV. Over 120 companies joined in one year. A levelling of applications occurred during the late 1990s but another upswing was evident with the dawn of Digital TV in the year 2000. Since then new applicants have averaged nearly 80 per annum, based on nearly 10 new applicants being assessed by the CAI every 6 weeks. What are the stated objectives of your organisation? The CAI aims to raise standards within the industry by assessing all new applicants’ ability to work to mandatory codes of practice. It has full time staff also dedicated to industry representation at national and

local government level. It also unites the industry on its common aims and provides up to date information for its members on technological change in broadcasting. Can you suggest some of your organisation’s most notable achievements in the last 12 months? Since taking on its administration, we have revived the fortunes of the All Party Parliamentary Cable, Satellite & Digital Group with much improved attendances and high calibre speakers like Emma Scott of Freesat. We hosted the best attended Trade Fair in our industry for many years coupled with record attendance at a seminar. Over 200 listened to the Freesat talk by Rhys Jones, Commercial Development Manager. Senior Executive Tim Jenks & Assessment Executive Kevin Dawson both achieved City & Guild Awards - Internal Verifier and Assessor status respectively. The industry NVQ in Signal Reception has been established with CAI input. The CAI Education & Skills Programme achieved new record high levels for the number of engineers trained. Earlier in the year we employed another full-time Assessment Officer Assessment, Ian Smedley. Can you suggest why a rigger should join your organisation? The CAI is the trade association with a long history of representation and recognised as the leading representative body in our industry. The logo is now a registered trade mark and acknowledged by housing decision makers as the logo

associated with recognised industry codes and standards. The logo differentiates an installer from the rest and is a prime advertising tool, reinforcing company status which has been assessed against standards. The public are referred to the CAI membership via logo recognition in the two major phone directories advertising trade services. The CAI has representation on national TV and radio as well as BBC local radio for impartial advice on reception matters. What benefits does membership of your organisation bring to the end-user? The CAI polices the standards it imposes on its members and guarantees its members’ work to the consumer in respect of single dwelling installations. By referring to the logo the public are assured of a quality service at a fair price. The CAI office is manned by full-time staff and all calls are handled in-house, and not by a call centre. For further information, contact the CAI on: Tel: Fax: E-mail: Web:

01923 803030 01923 803203

spring09 45


rd tradebodies


Registered Digital Installers - Licensing Body (AKA ‘Digital Tick’ Installer Scheme)

When was your organisation established? The RDI-LB was incorporated as a community interest company (CIC) in November 2005. To become a member of the scheme, and therefore a digital tick qualified installer, engineers are required to meet the following criteria: • • • •

Hold the appropriate NVQ Level 2 or higher Have a Working at Heights training certificate Be able to show they have a minimum of £2m PL insurance Submit a basic CRB disclosure

Associate Membership is available for those working towards NVQ Level 2. How many installing companies (or engineers) are members? Although the scheme has companies listed, it is the individual engineers who are registered. As at the end of November 2008 the scheme had approximately 800 registered engineers. Over 70% of these were fully qualified to NVQ level 2/3, with the remainder committed to achieve the same. Is your organisation growing and if so by how much? The scheme is growing fast - we anticipate having over 1,000 members by early 2009 and doubling this to nearly 2,000 by end of the year. A further 1,600 engineers, and therefore future members, are undertaking NVQ training nationwide. What are the stated objectives of your organisation? The RDI-LB was set up in response to the industry’s and Government’s need to ensure that the general public had

46 spring09

access to a qualified and reliable workforce during and after digital switchover. Our near term objective is to have enough registered engineers to deal with not just domestic installations but also the millions of digital TV point upgrades in communal or commercial (IRS) environments. Long term we aim to satisfy the increasing demand for qualified digital technicians to carry out installations and maintenance beyond the digital switchover. Can you suggest some of your organisation’s most notable achievements in the last 12 months? The RDI is in the process of rapid transition. In 2008 the first development phase was completed by ensuring enough regional and distance learning places on the best nationally recognised vocational training scheme were made available to satisfy the entire industry. The next phase is now underway with mass consumer awareness campaigns, scheme policing and targeted marketing being developed to create real business opportunities for existing and new members. Extra marketing and admin staff have been recruited so that the RDI can fully support and manage these new initiatives whilst maintaining great levels of customer support. Can you suggest why a rigger should join your organisation? The RDI-LB is not a trade organisation working for any single/group interest, but serves both the public and its members by promoting upskilled and registered engineers who work to a high standard. As a not for profit scheme, every penny earned covers the

cost of registration, increasing awareness of the scheme at consumer level and the policing and prosecuting of those rogues illicitly claiming to be digital tick installers. Publicity in 2009 will focus on the digital tick installer, who will be the preferred choice of influential organisations such as Digital UK. Indeed, the digital tick qualification is already a minimum requirement stipulated by local authorities and housing associations. The annual registration fee is less than the margin on a couple of domestic installations, whilst in many cases the government contributes to the cost of training. What benefits does membership of your organisation bring to the end-user? Every qualified Digital Tick Installer is proven to be highly competent, experienced, insured, safe to work on the end user’s property and offers the reassurance of an annual CRB check. Registered members are required to display their ID on their person, on their vehicle and in all advertising, and from spring ’09 the RDI website will allow the end user to trace and select their local digital installer from their photo ID. In short the end user, whether domestic or corporate, gets a quality assured and traceable engineer from a reputable company who has passed through a government backed assessment scheme. For further information, contact the RDI-LB on: Tel: Fax: E-mail: Web:

0870 129 8015 01246 252 858

Dear Rigger Welcome to Sutton Coldfield and Matthew Boulton Colleges. The two colleges have joined forces to bring together an unrivalled selection of courses and qualifications and to become one of the largest further education colleges in the UK.

Matthew Boulton College of Further & Higher Education

A partnership has been established with Solutions Group (UK) Plc, allowing use of their extensive facilities to host training sessions. This strengthens our position as the Digital Training Hub for the UK and provides better access for engineers living in the Northampton and London regions to a wide range of digital TV & satellite installation training courses. Digital Technologies Directorate The Digital Technologies Directorate within Matthew Boulton College is at the heart of delivering National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) for engineers installing and upgrading aerial installations for the UK analogue to digital switchover. The new TV and HD satellite services are demanding increasingly high levels of expertise from installation engineers. Matthew Boulton College has taken the lead in this sector both regionally and nationally and is recognised by the National Learning and Skills Council, the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Sector Skills Council, Digital UK and trade associations. To support the engineers of today and tomorrow, the college offers flexible delivery methods of both NVQ levels II & III, together with City and Guilds 2218 Certificate in Digital Aerial Installation programme. The college has secured several national contracts with major players within the sector. The college has been working with First Line Digital to train all its installers to a minimum of NVQ level II at training centres nationwide, and a partnership has also been established with Sky to manage the first UK apprenticeship in Digital Technologies. The team within the Directorate is friendly, responsive and helpful and is here to support your training needs to move your organisation forward. The Directorateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s staff regularly updates its own technical skills supported by all the leading manufactures within the sector. The college is stationing a member of the digital team at Solutions Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Northampton trade counter every Tuesday and Thursday to offer training support. The NVQ programme will be delivered at the Northampton branch commencing February 2009. In many cases, the cost of the level II NVQ that will assist you in becoming a digital ticked installer will be free. We look forward to meeting you, please do come and visit us.

Director for Digital Technologies Matthew Boulton Campus, Birmingham

Email: Office: 0121 503 8520

Mobile: 07726 693426


rd technicalsolutions

Digital Doctor takes an in-depth look at various technical issues within the field of Digital TV installation. A well-respected expert on the subject, Peter Chester is Senior Digital TV NVQ Assessor/Verifier at Matthew Boulton College. In the first series, Peter looks at how to determine which measurement values are the most important when installing a Digital terrestrial aerial system

Part 1: The Digital Cliff

To have an appreciation of the importance of signal measurement a review of some basic digital transmission theory is necessary. A traditional data transmission system transmits the binary data bits serially (one after the other) on a single radio frequency carrier. To guard against interference an error correction method is usually applied in an attempt to ensure that the data can be reconstructed perfectly if corrupted by noise or interference. If the interference is excessive, then the data stream can slow down, become unreliable even with error correction or may stop altogether in extreme cases.

48 spring09

digitaldoctor Broadcast signals are prone to interference, particularly due to multipath reflections which cause ghosting on analogue pictures and data corruption of digital signals. They are also limited to the 8MHz PAL I bandwidth with a further complication being that most UHF channels are already in use. The advantage of digital signals is that they can be broadcast at much lower power (typically 1/1000th) than analogue and can therefore use channels that would otherwise not be available.

Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex – COFDM The chosen system for Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) broadcasting is a very robust modulation method called “Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex”, or COFDM. COFDM is different because it transmits the data in parallel across a very large number of closely spaced radio frequency carriers (typically 1705 in the UK soon to become 8K once switchover is completed across the country), rather than as serial data – see fig 1. This means that if noise or interference corrupts several of the carriers, the data should still get through on the remaining interference free carriers. An error correction method is applied to the data before transmission that enables any lost data to be recreated at the receiver from the data that does get through. This is found to be extremely effective in practice and most errors can be corrected up to a certain point. Because each carrier contains very low data rates, it is much

more immune to the effects of multipath interference and can actually use echoes to add to the energy of the direct transmission path. In addition, the energy is more evenly spread over the channel bandwidth and the spectrum can be modified to notch out those carriers that could cause interference to other services. In practice, several programmes can be accommodated in each 8MHz PAL I channel, the same frequency being used many times over throughout the UK without causing co-channel interference because it is broadcast at lower power. Such interference will occur only if the two “co-channel” power levels are less than 20dB apart at a particular location.


1705 carriers

fig 1 DTT uses an error correction system called Forward Error Correction (FEC). FEC allows the digital MPEG-2 signal multiplex to be received correctly even when moderate levels of interference and noise are present. The combination of COFDM and FEC is very powerful and produces a system that is very resistant to the type of interference that usually ruins analogue reception. Effects

No PiCture

PerFeCt PiCture




Q. I am receiving signals from Ridge hill transmitter but can only receive 4 of the digital mux. Analogue A. Replace the Group A aerial with a Wideband aerial to receive Digital all channels.


Optimum gOOd medium

Security margin

SuFFic. marginal bad

fig 2

~1dB 6db


such as Ghosting and Snow are very effectively removed by the COFDM and FEC system, meaning the viewer should see an excellent picture even when moderate levels of noise and interference are present.

The Digital Cliff Once the signal strength falls too far or if the local noise and interference levels become too great, then too many bit errors will cause the system to become unstable and the picture could suffer from blocking, freezing or complete loss. The threshold for this happening is fairly sharp and is known as the Digital Cliff – see fig 2. As the signal strength becomes weaker with an analogue signal,



rF signal quality

the picture quality gradually becomes worse (grainy and snowy). As the signal strength becomes weaker with a DTT signal, the picture quality will remain good until the signal strength drops below the digital cliff, at which point the picture quality will be very poor or disappear – see fig 3. COFDM/FEC is therefore an excellent combination but not invincible. A signal level at the DTT receiver is recommended to be 45 to 65dBµV. When looking at digital signals a number of measurements need to be taken and collectively considered in order to determine the quality of the signal, and these will be looked at next time.

Decoding Margin

picture quality

fig 3


rd rd

Matthew Boulton

Digital Signal

SNr picture quality


technicalsolutions Ask

Signal Strength


Q. I am receiving signals from the Storeton relay with a C/N of 4dB on Channel 30. A. Moel-y-Parc is in almost the same direction and transmitting on CH30, so look at aerial alignment and check the exact heading of both transmitters from your location and see if Moel-y-Parc can be placed in a null on the aerial. A good site to use is www. Q. Will the old Group B aerials work for Sutton Coldfield after switchover? A. No, I am told Sutton is to have two extra multiplexes after switchover, the lowest being Channel 29. Q. I have lost one of the digital multiplexes completely at the outlet plate. A. In this particular case, the first thing to do was measure the signal at the aerial, where all multiplexes were present. The outlet socket was then removed from the wall where it was found that two cables had been connected to the back, as such acting as an open circuit stub. Removing the second cable cleared the fault.

Matthew Boulton College of Further & Higher Education

spring09 49


rd fourinto one

fourinto one

Single Coax Cable Solutions for Sky+ and Sky+HD Many Sky installers have been faced with the problem of only finding one existing single coax cable installation in the dwelling of a customer who now wants a new Sky+ or Sky+HD box. There are three main choices in overcoming this, each with their own with pros and cons as follows:

Fig 1

50 spring09

1) Add a second coax cable. Pros: The lowest material cost of the three, it is very likely to work, simple to install and works with any Sky box. Cons: Time consuming, and whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more extra cabling may not be possible. 2) Fit a Global Frequency Stacker Pros: With medium material cost, this method is of medium complexity and again will work with any Sky box.

Cons: Wall plates and cables must pass 3GHz, and it may require mains power at the receiver. 3) Fit a Vision SCR (Single Cable Router) Pros: Although the material cost for this option is higher, it is only of medium complexity. It will work with any satellite wall plate and coax cable, and can operate 2 Sky+ units from just one cable! Cons: This option requires later Sky+ or Sky+HD STB models with SCR software (available free


fourinto one rd as an over-the-air download) and requires mains power at receiver. Option 1 does not require any explanation. It’s easy, cheap and certainly the preferred method if you can install a cable in your location. Option 2 uses just one single – but very high quality - coax cable. The head-end unit connects to two ports from an LNB or satellite switch and each port selects one of the four possible “full width” satellite bands by the usual 13/18v and 22kHz switching methodology. It then passes one of the bands - unprocessed - onto the coax cable. The second port has its frequency shifted up, above the normal operating range of the first. Hence the need for the coax and other components such as the wall plates, to pass 3GHz with minimal loss. At the receiver, a de-stacker passes the first band directly to tuner one of the set top box. The second band is frequency shifted down, back to its original frequency position and then onto the second tuner of the set top box. (See Fig 1) The Stacker comes in two versions, one for use with cable runs of up to 30m, with the Stacker Plus for cable runs of up to 60m. Option 3 is by far the most compatible solution for

existing installations. It takes in four connections from an LNB or satellite switch into the headend with four tuners of its own. Each headend tuner picks out the required channels needed for each STB tuner and coverts them to one of four pre-selected frequencies. The signals are combined down one coax and passed down to a special SCR splitter located next to the STB. It splits the signals back out into four outputs, one for each tuner. (See Fig 2) The special SCR software in the Sky box then does two things: 1. It tells the RF tuner in the STB to go to one of the four channels provided by the headend. 2. It sends data to the headend via the coax, telling the headend which channel to tune to. This is seamless and invisible to the user, who operates the STB(s) as usual whilst the magic takes place in the background. The LNB or satellite switch only need to be a standard Vision Products model, or other manufacturer’s equivalent. The Single Cable Router is the easiest and most flexible unit available and is the lowest cost per point solution, but does have one problem. It only works with set-top boxes which

have SCR software. Today this includes later Pace Sky+ and Sky+ HD products. Other brands are expected to be compatible in the near future. If an STB needs to be converted to use SCR software, a download can be forced by holding down the backup button on the STB whilst turning on the mains. After a few seconds, all the LEDs on the STB will light up and stay lit - and a text message will appear on the screen advising that the download has begun. After 10 minutes or so the box will shut down, indicating that the download is complete. From installer menu, the LNB type should be selected. If the options do not include SCR, then the STB is not SCR compatible. If the option is available and selected, then the setup is saved and is now complete.

Fig 2

spring09 51


rd securitysolutions

for installers

Following the recent bold steps taken by leading trade distributor Solutions Group to add to its already extensive product portfolio with the addition of new trade distribution arms, the company is noting with interest a steady shift in the buying patterns of its trade customers.

The introduction just over a year ago of new operating division Security Solutions, a specialist trade distributor of electronic security equipment, has not only attracted a new type of customer to Solutions Group, but has also led to existing customers broadening their own product range. Domestic TV & Satellite installers appear to be embracing new opportunities to diversify their business and increase their service offering by introducing products they can quickly and

52 spring09

easily obtain from a wholesaler with an established and trusted background.

Broader Business A growing number of customers are adding CCTV cameras and DVRs to their ususkla orders of aerials and LNBs. Solutions Group Sales Manager Jo Griffiths has been surprised at the number of installers who are taking on new product ranges and trying new ideas to help grow their business. “We thought we might see some cross-over among domestic installers seeing the chance to add to to the list of services they provide,” said Griffiths, “but the number of people who are actively adding new strings to their bow in this way is far different from what we first imagined.”

Proving particularly popular are a range of security kits from Armed which include four indoor/outdoor cameras, a remote control DVR with 4 or 9 channels depending on model, and all cabling required for installing the system as well as for connection to the user’s monitor or TV. These one-box solutions are ideally suited as ready-made security systems for domestic properties and smaller retail premises. The 500GB 9-channel model allows for the connection of up to 5 further cameras in addition to the 4 included units and therefore provides excellent monitoring capability for larger commercial sites.


securitysolutions rd Local Support, Nationwide Security Solutions’ technical sales team has taken the time to visit every one of the company’s 15 branches across the country to ensure that sales staff nationwide are fully conversant with the installation and operation of the kits. This in turn means the installer who is considering adding this type of product to his/her range can do so with confidence, knowing they can rely on the expert advice and support of their local trade counter. Alongside the Armed kits, Security Solutions offers an extensive choice of cameras and monitoring equipment from leading brands such as Lilin and iVigil as well as a range of Panasonic products incorporating the manufacturer’s IP network cameras, encoders and recorders. A selection of vandal resistant dome cameras for day/night operation from Knight and Solid are also offered alongside some sleek indoor ceiling cameras from Reveal which are ideal for monitoring in environments such as shops and offices.

Innovative Products Building on its parent company’s reputation for innovation,

Panasonic WV-CW374 Day/Night outdoor box camera

Security Solutions is also bringing new products to the market in the early part of 2009. Among these is a new type of male BNC connector for use with CCTV cameras and DVRs. Whilst on face value a 3cm long connector does not sound the most exciting product to focus on, Security Solutions says this is revolutionary as it believes it to be the first BNC connector to utilise the compression fit method thus far found, for example, on F-connectors developed for the aerial installation sector. Designed for use with RG59 / URM70 or equivalent coaxial cables, the compression-fit BNC connector has a brass reducing pin and brass/nickel housing to give a thoroughly dependable connection. Extremely quick and easy to fit with a simple and inexpensive tool, not only will it save valuable installation time, it will offer the most durable and reliable connection to reduce call-backs and give total peace of mind. A detailed catalogue carrying all products offered by Security Solutions is planned for early spring. In the meantime, the specialist division has 4 dedicated chapters in the 2009 edition of the Solutions Group product catalogue.

BNC Connectors now come with compression fitting

Customer Service Continuing the Group’s core tenet of providing service and value, Security Solutions offers same day despatch and free delivery on qualifying orders, has a no credit card charge policy as well as the availability of trade accounts, and offers customers the chance to register for the unique Aspire loyalty reward scheme in conjunction with Argos. As with all the operating divisions of Solutions Group, Security Solutions offers the convenience of a variety of ways to buy. Orders can be placed by phone, fax and e-mail or in person at any of the 15 branches found across the country, from Edinburgh down to Poole. What’s more, customers can browse and purchase the full range of products online thanks to an easy-to-use webshop found at, with links for user registration and secure log-in. The growing number of TV installers who are adding security systems to their portfolio will find that a selection of Security Solutions products is already available to order on the Solutions Group webshop where they are used to buying their aerial and satellite equipment. In addition, log-in details for this will also be valid on the dedicated Security Solutions webshop where the full range can be viewed.

spring09 53


rd profile

Company: A1 Digital Systems, Chatham, Kent Position: Partner

Spencer H. Young

Brief description of company A1 Digital Systems was founded in 1999 and has since become one of the leading aerial and satellite installation companies in the south-east, serving both domestic and commercial clients. With an eye to efficient service and customer satisfaction, they offer same or next day call out, a full written guarantee of their work of 1-3 years and have the endorsement of quality afforded by membership of the CAI.

What got you into the Industry? I started off as a roofer, but got introduced to an aerial rigger down my local gym. I started working with him a couple of days a week and it went from there.

What’s the single biggest innovation you’ve seen? Probably an obvious answer, but the rise of Digital TV. And as far as equipment is concerned, the launch of the Vision Masthead Amplifier.

How long have been in the trade? 18 years.

How is the recession affecting your business? To be honest, it isn’t! If anything, business is better because, as people watch the pennies, staying in seems to be the new going out and they are bringing their TV systems at home up to date.

How many people does your company employ? 7, including me and my partner. What trade bodies/ associations are you members of? The CAI. How do you find new customers? We still find directories such as Thomson and Yellow Pages to be very effective, and are proud to say we get a lot of recommendations. Obviously the internet is invaluable and we have worked hard on creating an attractive website. We also do a lot of contract work for property management companies, housing associations, etc.

54 spring09

What tool could you not do without? A signal meter. What’s your favourite sandwich filling? Bacon. What’s the last film/DVD you watched? Can’t print the last one, but the one before that was Slum Dog Millionaire!

What’s the first record you brought? Baggy Trousers by Madness. If stranded on a desert island, what 3 things could you not do without? My wife and my two kids! If a film was made of your life, which actor would you like to star as you and why? Gary Oldman – I see a little bit of me in him. When buying from a wholesaler, what do you look for? Good quality products and a high level of service. Is this your dream job, if not what is? I love my job, but if I could do anything in the world I would be a Formula 1 racing driver. “Move over Hamilton, I’m coming through!”

Arm yourself with the cutting edge..... ....

 and  DVR Kits Sony CCD or CMOS Cameras Auto IR • Waterproof • Mounting Bracket •

4 or 9 Channel DVR • Networking Options • PTZ Support Available • Alarm Outputs • USB Port


• 4 Channels • 160GB • • 4 CMOS Cameras •

SABRE 2504

• 4 Channels • 250GB • • 4 Sony CCD Cameras •

SABRE 5009

• 9 Channels • 500GB • • 4 Sony CCD Cameras •

Features will vary from model to model




Trade Specialists in Electronic Security

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Thousands of gifts to choose from  Easy to use website 

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©2008 Solutions Group Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All products subject to availability. E&OE.


Rigger's Digest Spring 2009  

Hello, and welcome to Rigger’s Digest. Published quarterly in the UK, Rigger’s Digest is a magazine crammed full of Trade News for the Insta...

Rigger's Digest Spring 2009  

Hello, and welcome to Rigger’s Digest. Published quarterly in the UK, Rigger’s Digest is a magazine crammed full of Trade News for the Insta...