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How to Run a Bar: Basics of Glassware

How to Run a Bar: TVs and Programming

You have to decide how many televisions your bar needs based on your goals for your bar. If your bar serves as the local watering hole and you just want to keep a news channel on in the background, one smaller model is probably okay (but make sure people can still make out the images from a few yards away).

But if you’re opening a sports bar and will be showing the weekend’s hottest sporting events, you’ll need a couple (or more) TVs with larger screens.

Many different types of TVs are available, including high-definition, diagonal, flat panel, projection, tube, and combo. The technology changes every year, and the prices keep coming down. Make sure the model you choose can accommodate components such as sound systems, satellite receivers, video games, and interactive bar games.

As you’re researching the hundreds of models on the market, talk to an expert at your local appliance store. He can recommend a quality brand that will serve your needs. When it’s time to have your TVs installed, make sure your installer is experienced, can hook up all the components, and is available for repairs.

How to pick the right spot and TV installation

You can put a TV just about anywhere these days. In most cases, choose high locations, at standing eye level or higher, so that most patrons can see the TVs. When it’s time to choose the location for the TV, mark a spot and then walk around and make sure there aren’t too many blind spots (areas blocked by poles or supporting beams).

If most patrons won’t be able to see the screen, choose a different location or consider adding TVs that can be seen from the otherwise blind spots.

You have a few options when it comes to installing televisions:

  • Flush mount to the wall: This option is popular for flat-panel plasma or LCD TVs. An experienced technician can hide all the wires and components for a clean, sophisticated look.

  • Mounting brackets: You can find ceiling and wall mounts, and even corner brackets, to match your location. Look for a unit that swivels so you can reposition the TV as you need to.

  • Cabinets: You may prefer the look of cabinets or shelving to hold your TV. Make sure you measure your TV (both the size and weight) to get furniture that will work for your equipment.

Keep the remote(s) behind the bar; otherwise, the only time you’ll ever see it is when you first program the TV’s settings. Only one person should be in charge of the remote: the bartender or the manager. If you have multiple TVs, label each of them and their corresponding remote, so you know which one controls what.

Signals from outer space: Satellite systems for your bar

Depending on what type of bar you’re running, you may want to get a satellite TV system. These systems are great because you can get all kinds of sporting events you can’t get with regular cable television. Say you want to watch Finnish curling. Satellite has it. And it also has music channels for whatever fits your mood.

With a satellite system, you need a separate receiver for each TV if you want to show different programs at the same time.

The big names in satellite systems are

  • DirecTV For Business, click on the “ Businesses” link in the upper right-hand corner, then choose Bars and Restaurants): DirecTV’s big draw for bars is its NFL Sunday Ticket (which gives you every NFL game no matter where it’s played) and Mega March Madness (its exclusive coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament). The company offers XM satellite music commercial-free for businesses.

  • Dish Network, this company also has lots of sports programming, including games of regional interest.

Make sure you purchase a license to broadcast the programming in your bar or you could get into legal trouble. Also, read the fine print before you sell tickets to patrons to watch a premium event, like a pay-per-view fight, to make sure you’re complying with all the requirements.

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