What Type of Video Wall Display Fits Your Needs?
There are lots of different large-scale display options on the market today. While researching displays you’ve likely read about LCD, LED, projections cubes, and more. So, which one fits your organization's needs? Well, that depends on several factors such as use case, environment, budget, and more.
Every type of display technology comes with unique strengths and weaknesses. Each is suited for specific applications and environments. To help you get started, here is a quick guide to the four leading types of video wall displays. Find out how they work, where they’re used, and their key benefits and limitations.
Due to their high pixel density, LCD panels provide some of the highest total resolutions of any of today’s display technology. LCD video walls can display text, images, and video in extremely sharp detail.
LCD displays are extremely reliable and support 24/7 operations for years on end with no downtime. These panels are composed of solid-state electronics and have no consumable parts so they’re also very resilient to environmental stressors like vibration, humidity, and UV light.
Low cost of ownership
This type of technology requires minimal maintenance and boasts both low power consumption as well as long lifespans. These factors mean LCDs offer a very low total cost of ownership. When considering a long-term investment, they are one of the most affordable display options.
LCD display panels require a thin outside edge called a bezel. When LCDs are tiled together to create a video wall, these bezels form seams that are visible between the individual panels. They may be distracting in certain situations like digital simulations, or in cases where highly detailed content such as charts or graphs are required.
Fortunately, manufacturers reduce bezel width with each new generation of displays. LCD displays with bezels as narrow as 1.8mm are available today.
In applications where static images are displayed for an extremely long time, LCDs can experience image retention. This occurs when the liquid crystals develop a “memory” for the position they’ve been holding and fail to shift again when the image is finally changed. Thankfully image retention is minor and/or temporary in most cases.
Direct view LED offers the highest maximum brightness of all leading display technologies. This makes LED an excellent solution for spaces with significant ambient light.
These displays are very robust and reliable. They can withstand a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels and expected lifespan of most LED displays is similar to that of LCDs.
Since LED displays have no bezels, they can be tiled together to create a completely seamless display canvas. Therefore an LED video wall provides an immersive, high-impact visual experience.
While current indoor LED panels provide far higher resolutions than older models, they are still much lower-resolution than other display options like LCD or rear projection. These higher-res display types are therefore still preferable for situations where highly-detailed content must be viewed at close-proximity.
High initial cost
Although prices have dropped in recent years, the price-point of higher-resolution LED displays is currently several times the price of LCDs. The upfront cost difference puts this technology out of reach for many customers.
Blended projection systems produce a completely seamless display surface. This makes them an excellent solution for immersive applications such as during high-resolution simulations.
Any shape display
A blended projection system can produce images on curved, angular, or even spherical surfaces with some additional image mapping and processing.
Any size display
When using several very bright projectors, these systems produce extremely large display surfaces that still appears bright and sharp. Since the size and resolution of the image depends only on the type of projectors and number used, the display surface can theoretically be as large as desired.
Vulnerable to ambient light
Ambient light heavily impacts the brightness and contrast ratios of a blended projection system. Systems designed with front projection are especially vulnerable to any light in the space and may require very bright projectors to produce sufficient contrast ratios.
Large footprint (rear-projection system only)
Rear projection systems take up a lot of space. They require a large, enclosed room to house projectors that require up to 14 feet of floor space. Space is not an issue with front blended projection systems since the projectors are mounted in front of the display screen and don’t need to be enclosed.
Not easily scalable
Compared to tiled systems like LCD, LED, and cubes, blended projection is costly and labor-intensive. This makes it difficult and costly to scale over time. Significant changes must be made to projector placement and lens alignment, and the projectors often need to be replaced completely. The screen must also be replaced since a larger display surface will be required.
With seams, or “mullions,” as narrow as 0.2 mm, an array of rear projection cubes appears virtually seamless while still providing the scalability of a tiled display system.
Many shapes and sizes
Cubes offer a lot of design flexibility since they are available in a wide range of sizes and aspect ratios. These video walls can be flat, curved, or non-rectangular. Cubes are available in larger panel sizes, which makes this display type a cost-effective solution for very large video walls.
Legacy models used lamps as a light source, but most modern cubes use LED backlighting, eliminating the need for regular maintenance downtime. LED-backlit cubes are extremely reliable and can be used 24/7 which makes them suitable for mission-critical applications.
When compared to LCD and LED panels, rear projection cubes have a large footprint. Most are at least 24” deep and are quite heavy. That means they must be mounted on the floor or a solid platform. Rear-serviceable models also require additional space behind the displays to provide access to the cubes.
Vulnerable to ambient light
While the enclosed design of rear projection cubes helps reduce the effects of ambient light, cubes still can’t produce the same levels of brightness as LCD or LED displays. Some ambient light control is always needed to ensure that display content is clearly visible.
Limited viewing angle
To achieve sufficient brightness, rear projection displays focus light toward the on-axis viewer. Therefore, viewers located at wider angles may notice problems with the displayed content such as significant light fall-off and/or color uniformity issues.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to video wall display types! Do you want to learn more about choosing the right display type to fit your needs? Our free white paper, A Comparison of Video Wall Technologies, provides detailed explanations of seven popular display types. It compares panel qualities like resolution, brightness, reliability, cost of ownership, and more.