Old-School Video Wall Features 18 Tube TVs
Former president of NBA TV decked out his media room in 1994 with tube TVs and 108-inch screen.
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December 10, 2009 by Julie Jacobson

It may not seem hip today, but 15 years ago, this media room was the biggity bomb.

Commissioned by Ed Desser, then the president of NBA Television, the entertainment center features 18 tube TVs and a 108-inch projection screen.

“I bought a bunch of 19-inch TVs and stacked them on top of each other and thought it would be really interesting to see what — at the time — was on all three networks,” says Desser. “I liked it enough so I added some more. And I thought, if having six monitors on is good, well then, 19 has to be better.”

So Desser enlisted Electronics Design Group of Piscataway, N.J. EDG founder and president Bob Gullo recalls, “We worked with a cabinet maker, drawing sketches with pencils.” Today, EDG’s “sketches” are lifelike renderings.

The “control system” for the Desser media room was AMX, but there was nothing in the way of matrix switching, and of course, it was well before the days of DVRs. No instant replays here.

Each TV had its own satellite receiver. “It was more set up to be turned on and off,” Desser says. “The channels weren’t changed. Literally, it was push a button and have everything come on … like channel surfing with your eyes.”

Somehow, Gullo recalls that the centerpiece was a Draper screen with a Sony VPH 1041 projector, flanked by JBL 4412 speakers — “awesome speakers,” Gullo says.

The little TVs didn’t get audio.

It’s not so much that Desser was a sports fanatic. Sports programming was a job (and he’s still at it today).

Sharing space with the media room was a home office, surrounded with glass so Desser could watch the sports action while working on the, um, IBM Selectric?

As for his current home, Desser has one big TV and that’s about it.

Recalling the days of his happenin’ media room, he says his family didn’t quite know what to make of him. Loony or cool? “Probably a little of each,” Desser says.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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