3-D Cinema is the latest trend for film and sports blockbusters, and the latest home entertainment systems are delivering a "theater quality" experience from the comfort of your own living room. In the same way, entertainment systems for large yachts have come a long way in recent years.
One example of companies developing such systems is Advanced New Technologies (ANT) based in Britain. ANT specializes in supplying technical solutions for super yachts and is involved with ground-breaking new projects featured on some of the most advanced vessels in the world, including 3D cinema and iPod applications.
3-D Action on Board
ANT is in the final design stages of a 14-person true 3-D cinema for a large super yacht. While home cinemas are frequently installed on super yachts, the company's representatives say that new technologies, with a comprehensive understanding of the room size, shape acoustics and positioning requirements, will enable yacht owners and guests to enjoy a spectacular true cinema experience: the onscreen action, sound effects, musical score and dialogue.
The key element to the success of any onboard theater is that it needs to be designed from the ground up. Working in conjunction with the yacht's designer and architect, a company that specializes in this technology can ensure that the physical layout and fixtures of the room will not interfere with the audio or visual presentation whilst maintaining the room's aesthetics. To properly replicate a movie soundtrack, any theatre requires at least five speakers and one subwoofer.
The room needs to be designed around the system, otherwise it can result in a shortfall of performance. For example, specifying the best speakers for the room size and layout can be compromised if a wall section has already been designed which does not give enough depth to fit the desired speaker. Other factors that need to be considered at design stage includes the room dynamics, accurate reproduction of frequencies, reverberation control, and noise insulation to ensure the home theatre is not affected by machinery noise on board or will itself disturb nearby cabins.
Power and Convenience with iPod
Yacht owners, crews and guests now have access to a powerful and convenient control of a multitude of passenger entertainment and comfort systems through one of the world's most user-friendly and iconic devices.
The iPod lends itself perfectly to the multifunctional needs of modern yachts, where network compatibility and user friendliness are critical components. ANT has taken iPod integration beyond the standard auxiliary input into an onboard audio-visual system. With a fully connected docking station, not only does this send data to the device, but it importantly receives data back from the iPod, so that real-time entertainment information is fed-back directly to the master control system.
In addition to creating tailored entertainment and music zones with the iPod docking stations, ANT has also created "follow-me" and "party audio" from a single iPod source.
The company also uses the portable device as an additional or alternative touch panel for third party controllers on board: video on demand, CCTV, air conditioning, steward call functions and comfort systems like the remote and portable control of blinds and lighting systems.
At the moment, these iPod applications use a bespoke system but ANT is working closely with a development partner to achieve a control system designed around the iPod where users will be able to download a generic iPod app, making all of the functions ready to use by any iPod by downloading one piece of software. This will enable guests to use their own iPods to control the onboard systems. Systems from ANT are compatible with iPad, iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone.
The "wow!" factor, facilitated by these and other high tech developments that specialized companies like ANT are introducing, will make them "must have" features for super yachts. As with all new technology, it comes with a price, but it may not be long before 3-D Cinema and iPod applications become a part of everyday life afloat.
Louay Habib is a freelance yachting journalist. For the past twenty years, he has competed at yachting regattas and offshore events all over the world and represented England in the 2004 Rolex Commodore's Cup. Louay writes for a variety of clients including the Volvo Ocean Race and the Royal Ocean Racing Club.