Menu Board Troubleshooting (aka Chalkboard)

Digital Menu Boards are used by many of our clients, and are very easy to work on. 

Although video distribution is a little more complicated than audio, this guide will give you a better understanding of how we are passing video to your menu boards and how to troubleshoot issues. 

In most cases, our clients get their menu board content from their Music provider. Here is a diagram of a typical installation. 

Digital Menu Board Wiring

Please review the line diagram below to get a better understanding of how menu boards are typically wired. Please note, your location might be wired slightly different.

Although the above diagram might look complicated, it’s actually quite simple. 

In most cases, the “Source” (aka the content player you are using for your menu boards) has a single HDMI output. So, the first step is to “split” the HDMI output so you can send the same video feed to multiple monitors. This is denoted with a DA-01 (Distribution Amplifier) in the image above. All we are doing is taking a single video feed and converting it to two video feeds. 

Now that you have a split video feed, each one case be sent to the menu boards on what are called “HDMI Extenders.” 

An HDMI Extender simply takes the video feed and “Encodes” the video into a language called HDBaseT. Once converted, we can then send the encoded video feed to your menu boards using an inexpensive and thin Cat6 wire. 

Once the HDBaseT signal gets to the monitor, we now have to “Decode” the signal with a “Decoder” (aka receiver, end point). This is the small black box behind your TV. 

The Decoder now converts the HDbaseT signal back into HDMI. An HDMI cable runs then runs from the Decoder to the input on the TV and voilà, you have picture. 

Do you have pictures of what this equipment looks like? 

Yep, here you go. 

EXAMPLE: Wyrestorm 1:2 Scaling HDMI Splitter

EXAMPLE: Wyrestorm HDBaseT Extender

Your diagram is great and all, but what do I do now? 

Most of the time, either the splitter and/or the encoders get locked up and need to be power cycled. Sometimes the cables simply become loose and need to be re-seated. 

When diagnosing an issue like this, the first thing we do is find the splitter and extenders in the AV rack and power cycle them and check all the cables. This will fix the issue most of the time. 

If you are still having issues after checking all the connections and reseating everything, go ahead and open a ticket with us here…