You Know You Need a Video Wall System. Now What?
It is a challenge to choose the right video wall solution. There are a number of elements to consider such as the system's software, display type, processors, integration options, support, and more. This can be a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry! If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. We’ve laid out the most important questions to ask yourself so you can identify your most important needs and narrow your options.
What resolution do you need?
Different types of display panels provide different levels of pixel density, or quantity of pixels per inch. Pixel density is important. It affects the total resolution of your video wall and the sharpness and detail of images when viewed up close. If you need to display highly detailed content on your video wall, or if people will be viewing the wall up close, select a display type with high pixel density.
How bright should the displays be?
Not all display technologies provide the same level of brightness. A display’s brightness is affected by the way it produces light. Some technologies are vulnerable to being washed out by ambient light. If your space has large windows or overhead lighting your display should offer a high maximum brightness. A display system that isn’t bright enough will make your content hard to see and can cause eye strain.
Will your system be used 24/7? Will it be critical to your operations?
If your system will support mission-critical activities and in use 24/7, you’ll need a display type that offers high reliability and longevity. Some displays, like LCD and LED, support 24/7 use for years on end. They also may offer redundant power supplies and other added fail-safes. Be sure to avoid display types with consumable parts such as lamp-based projection systems. These systems will require regular downtime for part replacement.
How much space do you have?
The spatial demands of the available display types are very different. Flat panel displays, like LCD and LED, have narrow profiles and can be wall-mounted. This makes their overall footprint virtually nonexistent. Other technologies, like projection cubes and blended projection systems, demand several feet of floor-space. Before committing to a particular display type make sure you determine how much space is available.
What’s your budget?
Price varies dramatically from one type of video wall display to the other. While exploring the different options be sure to consider both the upfront cost of the displays as well as the total cost of ownership. Some technologies are more affordable initially but the long-term costs of regular maintenance, consumable parts, and high power consumption make them extremely expensive over time. Other display types are more expensive at purchase but are far less costly in the long term due to their efficient performance and minimal maintenance needs.
See the the display types CineMassive offers in our solutions
Do you need real-time content control?
If your video wall is meant for operations, visualization, or any other application that requires real-time content control, you’ll need a processor that supports this type of dynamic interactivity. However, if your system will play automatic, pre-programmed content, you’ll want to choose a processor that supports digital signage playback, distribution, and content management.
How much content will you display at a time?
The number of inputs a processor can accept varies, and determines the number of different content sources they can display at once. If you need to display a large number of content sources simultaneously, be sure to select a controller with a large amount of inputs and outputs. Also, you should consider a processor that accepts streamed content sources as well. The ability to display content from non-physical source gives your team more flexibility.
Will your system be used 24/7? Will it be critical to your operations?
Just like with displays, some processors are particularly well-suited for constant use. If your application demands extreme reliability and resilience, look for a processor that is designed for 24/7 performance. These controllers are built for maximum reliability. They typically feature added fail-safes like redundant power supplies that allow the system to continue operating even if an individual component fails.
Do you require multiple video wall systems or auxiliary displays?
If you want to display content on more than one video wall or display surface then you need to choose a processor that can manage multiple systems at a time. If the displays are based on different technologies or have different aspect ratios, it’s important to make sure that the processor can accommodate this too.
Will you need advanced graphics processing?
Some applications use ultra-high-resolution content such as education, simulation, and digital signage. If your application requires this sort of capability then look for a processor or rendering engine that offers 3D-accelerated graphics hardware and places a strong emphasis on graphical performance.
Learn about CineMassive’s line of Alpha FX Processors
Who is going to use the system?
Consider who will use a system before you choose the video wall software to manage it. What functionality do they need? How familiar will they be with the technology itself? Video walls in conference rooms and auditoriums are often operated by first-time users. In these cases, a user-friendly interface and intuitive functionality are key. In control rooms or operations centers with more experienced and/or technically-savvy operators it’s important to select software that provides the necessary features, but is still cleanly-designed and easy to use.
How many users need to access the wall at once?
If your workflows divide responsibilities between several operators then you need a software platform that supports multi-user workflows. If your team handles sensitive data then you should consider a permissions-based interface that lets administrators control viewing, editing, and sharing rights on an individual basis. This allows management to set boundaries around the content sources and display regions that each operator accesses.
Does your application focus on presentations?
If you plan to use your system to deliver presentations then make sure you choose a software meant for presentation-building and delivery. Some software allows the user to build and save various content layouts they can later present on the video wall, either one-by-one or played automatically. More basic platforms only support real-time content placement.
Explore CineMassive’s industry-leading CineNet software
Will environmental stressors affect your system?
As you plan your project you should identify any “environmental stressors” that might affect your video wall or it’s performance. Extreme temperatures, humidity, and vibration can quickly damage a display system that is not designed to withstand these pressures. If you’re planning to use your wall in a rugged environment, be sure to select robust and mobile-friendly components. Some display types and processors are specifically designed for use in harsh environments.
What do you need to integrate into your system?
Some video wall solutions can integrate with external technology such as conferencing systems, speakers, lighting, and window shades. Once connected to your video wall, these devices can be controlled through your system’s software. If these possibilities interest you, be sure to select a solutions provider with proven success performing complex integrations.
Are aesthetics important?
Video walls built in public spaces or corporate locations, like universities or lobbys, should be attractive and on-brand. Make sure you take the final look of your solution into consideration for these environments. For the best results you should choose a solutions provider that offers a range of customization options. Some companies offer a broad selection of mounting solutions and can even add custom panels around your displays.
Do you have technical support for your new video wall?
A video wall is a major investment, so make sure you protect and support it for years to come. Choose a provider with a strong, long-term technical support program that fits your needs. Your plan should include easy access to knowledgeable personnel who provide training, can answer questions, and troubleshoot issues. If you use the video wall 24/7, then you need access to support 24/7. Your plan should also provide on-site support options in the event that an issue can’t be resolved remotely.
Can your video wall provider access your site?
If you plan to deploy your system in a highly secure or downrange location, access to your site might prove tricky for your provider. In these cases, your own personnel or pre-cleared contractors will install and maintain the system. Look for a provider that offers in-depth, hands-on training. This will prepare your personnel to support the system in the field.
We hope these questions help you better define your requirements for a video wall system. Please keep the answers to these questions on-hand as you explore possible solutions for your needs online or talk to providers. The better you understand your needs then the better you can explain them to potential providers and find your ideal solution!