Stream evidence to tablets for judge and jurors using VGA Grid

After evaluating a number of competing solutions, a US District Court deployed VGA Grid systems as a stand alone audio visual capture, streaming and display system for its various court rooms.

Courtroom Requirements

The system needs to support the following features:

  • The judge can view all input video sources
  • The judge controls which of the video source evidence is presented to jury tablets
  • The jury tablets video stream viewing is “locked” and the tablets are to be used for courtroom activity only
  • The WiFi router needs to be robust enough to provide 12 live high quality video streams with minimal latency between juror tablets and the video source(s)
  • The system has to be portable and easily deployed and then removed from the court room
  • The system needs to have all tablets synchronized for both video and audio so that juror’s see and hear the same thing at the same time

VGA Grid streaming video to jurors in courtroom

The Architecture

The architecture for this courtroom application is built around Epiphan’s 6-source VGA Grid.

The video sources are:

  • Up to 12 laptop and document camera video sources connected directly to VGA Grid VGA/DVI/HDMI™ inputs and/or through a video selection switch, for example:
    • Defendant presentation video source
    • Complainant presentation video source
    • Witness presentation video source
    • Document Camera video source
    • Video Source Switches
    • Other video sources
  • Up to 6 Courtroom SD Cameras

The video streams output from VGA Grid are:

    • Judge’s Channel
      • All video source view of all cameras and displays. This stream is viewed by the judge and court clerk so that they can select what material to show the jury on the “jury channel”
    • Juror Channel
      • view which is the video source selected by the judge
      • this channel can be independently recorded
    • All in one recording Channel
      • VGA Grid creates a special multi track recording of all sources. The recording can then be re-played, or a special package of selected tracks can be extracted and replayed
      • All streams can be customized with timestamps, bates#, time, date, video source name, case #, etc.

The Juror Tablets:

  • Each of the jurors is provided with a WiFi enabled Tablet for viewing Juror Channel that carries the video source that is under the presiding judge’s control. The tablets are android google nexus devices with a kiosk media player installed. The device is locked down to only have the media player so that juror’s cannot use the tablet for anything other than viewing

Phase 1 of this system is already deployed, and future phases will be able to enable other VGA Grid features such as providing multi-view panels to the jurors, camera sources for American sign language windows, and close captioning video sources.

The key factors for the selection of VGA Grid vs. competing solutions:

  • Reliability
    • Competing solutions had video streams up/down issues, unpredictable throughput, and unpredictable performance
  • Usability
    • Competing solutions could not provide sync on all tablets with one common audio synchronized to all images