Show Networks and Control Systems

(Formerly Control Systems for Live Entertainment)

Show Networks and Control Systems* has been the industry standard reference in backstage control technology since 1994. With a unique combined focus on computers, networks, control systems, art, and practice, the book offers an in-depth examination of the control and networking technology used in lighting, lasers, sound, stage machinery, animatronics, special effects, and pyrotechnics for concerts, theme parks, theatre, themed-retail, cruise ships, museums, interactive performing arts, and special events. This completely revised, reorganized, and updated edition includes more than 30 new pages and dozens of brand-new graphics, with dramatically expanded coverage of show networking technology and fresh real-world examples. Drawing upon his extensive experience in the field and classroom, John Huntington clearly explains everything that goes on behind the scenes and inside the machines to bring bold visions to life in real-world settings.  * Formerly Control Systems for Live Entertainment

Search the full text of our books

Buy a printed copy here directly through Createspace (best deal for me).

Or, buy a printed copy on Amazon here, or on Kindle here.

Note: The book layout was done for print, and the Kindle version is a port over of that file and has not been optimized for electronic display.  More details here.

If you are an educator and are considering using my book in a class, you can apply for a complementary copy by entering your contact info here.

Download a PDF of the Table of Contents here.

List Price: $50.00 7.5" x 9.25"

Zircon Designs Press
ISBN-13: 978-0615655901 (Custom Universal)
ISBN-10: 0615655904
LCCN: 2012943024
BISAC: Performing Arts / Theater / Stagecraft

Acclaim for Show Networks and Control Systems:

“We recommend this book to engineers and students who ask us, ‘How do I learn how to do what you do?’ We also tell our newly hired engineers that they should be conversant with the entire contents of this book because it covers the core knowledge commonly needed in the design of show control systems.” 

Glenn Birket, P.E.; President, Birket Engineering, Inc., Designers of show and ride control systems since 1984

“Today's entertainment technology students training to work on tomorrow's cutting edge are just as likely to need to know IP Addresses and Data Protocols as knots and drawing conventions.  John Huntington's book provides an invaluable introduction to networking for entertainment systems, helping students build a foundation and vocabulary for systems integration across lighting, sound, media, scenery, and more.”

David Boevers, Professor, Carnegie Mellon School of Drama

“Given the increasing complexity of entertainment systems, today’s tech needs access to an abundance of fresh information, and this book provides it in a well-organized, easy-to-digest manner. This is the best book you will find on the subject of entertainment control systems and show networks because Huntington not only teaches it but also uses it extensively in the real world. If you're serious about your profession in the entertainment production industry, you'll read this book now.”

Richard Cadena, author of Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician (Focal Press 2009) and Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light, 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2010); founder of Academy of Production Technology; PLASA technical editor; and freelance lighting designer.

“John's book, Show Networks and Control Systems, is a treasure chest of information that leads us to a creative world of possibilities, with many great avenues of escape when we find ourselves stuck in a cul-de-sac of ideas.”

Jonathan Deans, Sound Designer for Cirque du Soleil, Broadway, and events, shows, and installations worldwide.

“Show Networks and Control Systems” describes the technology on the leading edge of the entertainment industry and looks out into the future of entertainment networks.  All serious entertainment technologists will study this book and everyone will learn something from it."

Gary Fails, President, City Theatrical

“The new generation of entertainment technology is almost wholly focused on making individual systems communicate and cooperate with each other so that the show operates like a single coordinated machine. This book is on the cutting edge of that new wave, and it presents these indispensable techniques and concepts in clear, concise terms and examples. It's easily the best resource for anyone needing a better understanding of where entertainment control technology is today and where it's headed in the future.”

Scott Fisher, President, Fisher Technical Services

“Most technicians can learn to use show networking and control equipment. They accomplish this by reading manuals and taking classes. Exceptional technicians understand how their gear works inside and out. They accomplish this by reading John Huntington's book. As DIP switches disappear from equipment and are replaced by IP addresses, knowledge of Ethernet and Internet Protocol will become an integral part of being an exceptional technician. John's second edition brings his classic work on show control up to date and teaches networking at a level that would make grizzled network engineers proud.”

Jason Potterf, Cisco

“Show Networks and Control Systems is the definitive guide for designing and using network technology across a wide range of live performance applications. It's a must-read for designers, technicians, and engineers of all experience levels.”

Steve Terry, VP of Research & Development Electronic Theatre Controls