Great Walls of Video – 5 Keys to Success

October 20, 2017 by Eric Paulsen

Video walls are very popular these days and for all kinds of reasons. When it comes to video wall technology, there are as many choices as there are reasons for having one. There are some different base technologies used for video walls and while this post is focused on LED technologies, just note that both front and rear projection can also be viable solutions in some applications.

Key #1. Content is king. This is more than an old marketing adage and should be one of your very first considerations. Video walls are being used for many purposes ranging from artwork and advertising to digital signage and information analysis. Your ultimate technology selection will be driven by your content so give this careful consideration for both current and future uses.

Key #2. Location, location, location. The location of your video wall will dictate your technology choices. Indoor or outdoor application, amount of ambient light and the distance from the display to your nearest and furthest viewer are critical factors.

Key #3. Direct view vs. LED/LCD. LED technology is delivered in a couple of different ways. The first is quite common and it is likely you are using it already. LEDs (light emitting diodes) are the backlight for LCD (liquid crystal displays) commonly found in smartphones, computer monitors and television screens. This LED-LCD technology offers very high resolution and is good for text and graphics with nearby viewers. A common disadvantage is the screen bezel which creates lines in your video wall.

With direct view LED, the LEDs are not a backlight but are the actual “pixels” that make up the bigger image. Pixel pitch defines how closely spaced the array of LEDs are. The closer the pixels, the closer a viewer can be before their eyes distinguish the individual pixels and, the more expensive your video wall will be. Distance to the nearest viewer is important to know. The benefits are no bezels or seams so the images on the wall are continuous. A common drawback is the high price of direct view LED vs. backlit LED-LCD.

Key #4. Aspect ratio. Direct view or backlit LED walls can be built in all shapes and sizes. There can be different “windows” on the wall showing different information or, the entire wall may be used as one large canvas. If showing standard content such as a movie, you may want to configure your overall video wall into a standard aspect ratio for optimal content viewing.

Key #5. Maintenance. Direct view LED panels and backlit screens are both susceptible to failure over time. You need a plan for access to individual panels or screens along with supporting electronics. Some technologies will allow for front access and others will require rear access. Always plan to purchase spare panels or screens because LED batch colors change slightly over time and displays become obsolete. This will help assure color and form factor match in the event of a needed replacement.

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