LG Touts New Tech That Allows Sports Bar Patrons To Hear Their Game Commentary

May 12, 2021 by Dave Haynes

LG has started marketing tech that allows people in busy, noisy places like sports bars to whip out their smartphones and ear buds and listen to things like the live game commentary from a specific display screen, without that audio blasting over the in-house sound system.

The concept is not new, but when I have seen this in the past, it was being marketed by little start-ups. I remember a company with a tiny booth at DSE, years ago, touting this idea. A teeny start-up attacking such a big market was an issue, plus they had a terrible name: Hear My Lips.

I wrote about another, larger company called AudiostreamTV back in 2015, and they appear to still be around. The last 18 months would have been murderous, though, with bars closed all over.

Editor’s note: Bars, by the way, are these places many of us went to in the before times for adult beverages and deep-fried things our spouses don’t want us eating.

The main difference with LG doing this audio thing is that you have a global brand with huge reach into the hospitality sector – with the resources to drive awareness and adoption.

LG Business Solutions USA calls its new system Pro:Centric Catena, and along with audio support, the system allows staff to operate multiple displays off a smartphone or tablet UI.

Says LG:

Pro:Centric Catena also offers a new, unique benefit for customers: a simple web app that allows patrons to select from the available live TV broadcasting and listen to the audio through their own smartphones and earbuds. LG Catena uses a unique way to manage lip synch by separating the audio from the video stream on the premises and delivering it to the smartphone independently synchronized with the TV broadcast.

Bars and restaurants can play background music while each table or customer chooses which game or show they want to listen to via their smartphone. LG Catena also is an ideal solution for gyms, hospitals and transit centers where multiple TVs display various channels, but their sound is muted.

According to Richard Lewis, vice president, technology for LG Business Solutions USA, more and more integrators and end users are considering remote management solutions as a means to increase productivity and simplify content management across any size display network, all while providing new benefits for customers and guests.

“Public facing displays are effective tools for messaging and ambiance, and Pro:Centric Catena helps make it easier for business owners to ensure their customers have great experiences without requiring constant staff supervision or assistance,” said Lewis. “Customers gain a personalized experience, business owners and staff get peace of mind that TVs will always be easy to control, and maintenance is simplified by installers’ ability to login remotely and diagnose minor issues. All of this further enhances the value of connected displays.”

The solution comprises a server and a TV application that is accessed through an intuitive web-based user interface, providing control of every display, either individually or in pre-arranged groups of displays. TVs can be remotely tuned, powered on and off, rebooted and display custom messaging created by the owners.

Catena is designed to work exclusively with LG Pro:Centric Smart IP televisions and set-top boxes and supports both High Definition and 4K UHD resolutions. For new installations, using an IP-based design reduces equipment costs by replacing long HDMI cable runs and video matrices with simple Cat6 cabling, while also eliminating the need for each display to have its own set-top box or media player for live TV content delivery.

To provide these new functions to the widest market of business owners, including those using other displays, LG’s Pro:Centric Smart set-top-boxes (STB) support Pro:Centric Catena. This provides a cost-effective path for integrators and end-users to upgrade to the Pro:Centric Catena  experience.

“In addition to the simplicity of a drag-and-drop interface to direct content to displays, business operators also have the ability to brand their user interface with their logo or color scheme for a more personalized user experiences,” Lewis added. “For on-site staff, responding to customer requests has never been easier, as any changes to channel or volume can be made instantly through staff’s mobile devices.”

Pro:Centric Catena supports cable and satellite box sources as well as commercial video-on-demand services using the Pro:Idiom digital rights management system that provides owners access to premium content and protecting content with a leading end-to-end digital rights management system. “All of these attributes combine to make controlling a digital display network simple, fast, reliable, affordable and directly beneficial to end customers,” said Lewis.

I have always liked the idea of this, as it solves a readily apparent problem in big sports bars and other venues that on a weekend day might see six or more different games on at once. The bar owners have to either choose which game to turn up the audio, turn them all on and generate noise, or keep the audio off and run house music.

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