Trends show that video wall requirements are shunning square (e.g. 2x2 or 3x3) configurations and moving towards extra-wide formats instead. This allows you to impress your audience with a more useful, impactful, and memorable visual experience for corporate experience centers and boardrooms, government control rooms and higher education installations. In these environments, you can access more visual real estate without having to raise the height of your ceiling! For example, we have all seen TV broadcasters use this wall format to bring their stories to life. In this blog, we will highlight several key technical challenges you must consider before designing your extra-wide video wall.
Maintain the highest image quality without maxing out your bandwidth
By nature, ultra-wide video walls require non-standard aspect ratio sources significantly wider than 16:9 if you want to fill the whole wall. One option is to use a 4K or 1080p source and only display a small ribbon from the center portion of the clip, but this will result in three issues. First, the image quality will noticeably drop, especially if you are close to the wall. Next, developing your material could prove difficult as your graphic designer will need to create a ribbon and then export it into a standard 16:9 clip. Last, most video wall processors will need to allocate system bandwidth to the whole 16:9 frame, even though you will only be using a portion. One option to overcome some of these issues is to use several digital signage players that are synchronized and then input into your video wall processor as separate inputs. This will not only start to become expensive in terms of hardware requirements, but will also be difficult to control in most applications.
The most efficient and flexible solution is to choose a video wall processor that can playback several synchronized 16:9 media clips. Creating this material will reduce the amount of system bandwidth required and will maintain quality. It is also very simple for your graphic designer to create material, as they will work in the native widescreen resolution before rendering out each of the design as 16:9 pieces.
Add additional windows to boost usability and collaboration
Having a good-looking video wall is all well and good, but you need far more than just an attractive installation to fully justify your investment. You will undoubtedly want to add other video elements to inform, educate or entertain. As the “Zoom Generation” continues, the workplace they will be accustomed to include enhanced multi-window environments to enable seamless collaboration. Put simply, they will want to “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) so that their ideas can be shared by others.
To ensure you can meet these requirements, check how many different live sources can be connected to your video wall processor and how many separate video windows can be displayed on your extra-wide video wall. With a large wall in a corporate environment, you may want to connect twenty or more sources and have enough system bandwidth to display them simultaneously in ultra-low latency. In a control room environment, we may need 100+ windows, once again in low latency, even for IP streams.
Your video wall processor choice must also be able to mix and match digital AV signals with broadcast sources, IP streams and multi-media and then scale and convert them for instant display on your wall.
Make changes on the fly for maximum flexibility
Installing an extra-wide video wall can be a substantial financial investment, so it is essential it is flexible enough to be used for a variety of different purposes without needing time consuming reconfiguration or for an expensive AV technician to be on-site.
A simple change could be changing the layout of your sources on screen, possibly with a visually attractive transition. You should choose a solution that allows you to create a large number (40-50) different layouts that can be instantly recalled using a button control panel or an in-room automation system. Other control options can often include an app for your mobile device or a tablet.
In broadcast applications, you may be using the same wall for different TV programs and you will want to be able to change the background quickly betweens shows. You should also check how simple it is to make these changes.
Display across multiple walls without adding additional chassis
Many installations require more than one video wall. For example, in higher education, you may want to connect several lecture theaters together or a control room might require its own areas each with independent control. Of course, one option is to add additional processors, however this adds to the system cost by adding extra infrastructure, matrices, and cables. Control will be far more complex; therefore, it is far better to use an all-in-one device.
To avoid these pitfalls, check if your chosen video wall processor can output and then independently control more than one wall. Also, check if it has built-in video switching capability.
If you can tick these two boxes, you will save a large amount of time and budget in setting up multi-wall installations. You will also be maintaining image quality, cutting latency, and removing the complexity of cabling and controlling multiple devices. If your chosen video processor can achieve this level of flexibility, check how many walls can be controlled simultaneously. Ideally, each wall should have the option of its own control point or alternatively have the flexibility to be controlled from a central location. Finally, ask if it is possible to make secure connections or use a RESTful architecture.
Finding the right solution
Creating useful, impactful, and memorable visual experiences for corporate experience centers and boardrooms, government control rooms and higher education installations can be simple. tvONE’s CORIOmaster2 all-in-one, multi-window video processor provides unprecedented processing power with more pixels than you will ever need. CORIOmaster2 supports more windows with higher quality than ever before with uncompromised 4K60 and 8K ready performance.
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