As of January 4th, my deposit is in for a starting build-out of a 22 foot (overall about 30' length) cargo trailer that will be used as a gaming and entertainment trailer for school carnivals, birthday parties, tailgating, etc.
This is an extension of my wife's school fundraising business that we found ourselves hiring out several times a year at $500 a pop. After a local franchise decided to throw in the towel, my naivety once again took over and I think, "heck, we can do that ourselves". Luckily we'll have a good portion of built in revenue from not having to hire them anymore, but like always, the costs tend to pile up more than expected, especially when you don't have a truck to start. OUCH!
A couple of major decisions I'm making. I'm not using a franchise and am creating my own 'brand'. Being in marketing for 20+ years, designing websites and branding negates the need to give 10%+ of my revenue to someone else. I'm also having a trailer company build-out the cargo trailer to my specs (electrical, cabinetry, air conditioning) and I'm going to add TV's, gaming systems, seating, laser/LED lighting to save as much as possible. There are individuals out there that will charge you 60+K to build you a gaming trailer. Would you believe that purchasing a new 7kw generator throws you back $5000? Just crazy.
I will have four 55" TV's inside on one wall of the trailer with bench seating on the opposite wall. This really is the max size possible, and my wife thinks that it's TOO BIG. Is that even a thing.. TOO big of a TV? There will be a 55-60 inch tv in the 'action station' as you walk in the front v-nose of the trailer (standing gaming - probably XBOXONE Kinect gaming). There is a 4' by 8'concession window on the passenger side that will eventually house either two 50-55 inch TV's or one large 70-80 inch TV. Will wait a bit for revenue to pay for those. I also am hesitant having any system outside with controllers that could disappear, so either locking them down or just one XBOXONE Kinect (can't have two next together) may be it.
I was able to buy the XBOX360's off the individual who's dropping their local gaming truck franchise. I have six 360's and it's my assumption (as far as I can tell/read) that these are the ONLY systems that still offer LAN play for games. In order to have 16 people play together (racing or HALO4), and not rely on wireless Internet and the unreliability or costs, the 360 is it. Everything I read says the XBOXONE or PS4 don't system link, unless I guess a game forces Microsoft or Sony to support it. I was kind of hoping to move more into the XBOXONE or PS4 exclusivity but the games aren't quite there yet and lack of system link sucks.
A few issues / decisions that I'm struggling with:
1) Sound bars
- my plan is to have a sound bar underneath each TV and the wireless Sub under the seating for each. If I bought 4-5 2.1 soundbars with wireless subs (same model) would each sub work independently without conflict with the neighboring bar?
I worry that the wireless subs won't work properly if several are too close together.
2) TV Antenna wiring
- I will add a TV Antenna to the roof and want to be able to wire this to all 6-7 tv's. For instance if someone wants to watch an NFL game outside on the antenna but the kids play games inside, this signal needs to be ran to each TV. My assumption there are a 2 methods that I know of. One is to wire the antenna to a coax splitter (powered preferably) and run coax to all 7 TV's, but coax is heavy and thick and a bit more difficult to wire in small space. There is the triangular wiring channel as shown the pic above that has to fit HDMI wires, a couple of power outlets reside behind it for laser lights, etc. The other option is the antenna and coax --> digital converter, hdmi out --> hdmi splitter/output --> hdmi to all TV's. This second option may also make it possible if I have a 2nd input (like a XBOXONE) to run video from one DVD/BluRay to all or some of the tv's. What I don't like about this HDMI splitter is that they can be pricey.
3) PS4 or XBOXONE or both?
- I have an XBOXONE currently. I think I'll buy an PS4 (at least one) for the trailer. My best guess is by late spring or early summer, I may have to dive and buy these newer systems for all the TV's and the really expensive part is 4 controllers each and multiple games for each. It's a pretty big financial decision and realistically I'd base it on the ability to system link
for either system, but at this point neither have it. I'm hoping HALO4 or the next Call of Duty (or like) will support it for the newer systems, because at this point it's not even possibly for more than 4 players to even play together, unless on XBOX360, which to me is a major marketing point of the trailer. Even if I dropped $60 a year on sixteen xboxlive accounts and had wireless broadband internet the XBOXONE (I believe) will only let one LIVE account login at a time and there's not enough bandwidth or reliable enough to support 16 users on one connection. Which gaming system would you promote/focus and for what games coming out?
4) All kids playing on same game important?
- As mentioned only the 360, for certain games, supports LAN system link play for up to 16 players (HALO4, Call of Duty, some racing games, etc.). If this isn't supported for the newer systems and other games, would your son/daughter be disappointed if they're limited to 4 people per game (each TV running own game)?
Is it necessary to even market LAN play, or just having the mobile arcade roll up to your home for the birthday party enough?
5) All Speaker bars' 2nd input used for IPOD play
- The thought is to have the birthday boy/girl use their IPOD during the party and is it possible to just run the 2nd input of the speaker bars/subs together to a IPOD dock?
6) Fancy racing wheels, petals (XBOX360)
- Link to Ferrari Racing Wheels
I can get a good deal at a local Micro Center for these Ferrari racing wheels that fold up and I can store underneath the seating when not in use. I thought a racing tournament would be cool for 4 connected players and the best time stays in and you rotate new players in. Does anyone have experience with these or similar?
They're pricey and if broken easily (or with heavy use) I'm not going to make the investment. There's also more expensive ones out there, but unless this thing is fully booked, not spending thousands on one game.
7) Adding 2nd Value Item to Trailer
- Our thought is adding a mobile picture booth as an add-on to the gaming. There are a few mobile booths out there than most likely consist of a cabinet, preferably rolling, PC, camera and printer. Would you pay at least an extra $100 for adding a mobile picture booth? Our kids school ended up paying $500 to add on to a carnival, which I though was crazy. My worry is that these would be fairly unreliable and have numerous printer or connection issues. We all love printers, right??!!!!The most important (to me) decision is what TV's to buy.
Here's where I'm really perplexed. The trailer will be dark (with the exception of the outside TV's). My thoughts are push for 240HZ, and low input lag which I can't seem to find or is that the 60, 120 or 240hz number? Cost is important as well because I can see myself replacing a unit due to major temperature fluctuations (when not in use) and moving these things around town. I can get a few 55 inch units from walmart or off Amazon for $650-750 each, between a Vizio 55a01, Hitachi Ultravision and a TCL model. What would you buy and why?