Wherever video walls go, they are the centerpiece of attention. People can hardly be blamed for focusing on them, as they are capable of incredible visual designs at a scale that no other technology can match. There is a time and place for every display option, but video walls are king where impact is concerned. No other technology can be scaled up to fit in a sport stadium. No other technology can present ultra HD images at a scale large enough for an entire venue. No other technology is as dynamic or versatile as video walls. Unsurprisingly, they are extremely effective for branding and artistic purposes. What may be surprising is that they are also excellent at relaying information and broadcasting all kinds of media.
Wall to Wall Coverage
There is a lot to like about video walls, and the clue is in how people respond to them. They are always a focal point of the space, and pedestrians or customers can’t help themselves – it’s just not common to run into a massive, high definition display. Business and venue owners can obviously leverage this to their advantage. And speaking of advantage, there are many that come with video wall technology, and a comprehensive list could go on forever. These are the highlights:
1. No resolution limitations – Resolution is an easy concept to understand. It’s about pixel count and density. The more pixels, the more detailed an image the display can deliver. From this simple concept, it’s clear why video walls are so effective at creating visual impact. Stack an array of high definition displays on top of each other, and those resolutions are additive. As long as there is a formidable digital signal processor driving it all, a video wall can display a massive image with no loss of fine detail.
The applications here are tremendous. Imagine an airport displaying a sweeping skyline of the city, with every minute detail relayed perfectly. Or a museum exhibit that simulates a sojourn through space or time, surrounding visitors while offering a feast for the eyes. There are truly no limits here.
2. Clear image brightness and quality in every setting – Front projectors are the primary alternative to a video wall, but they have a problem in bright areas, like venues that rely on natural light. LCD and LED displays are brilliantly backlit, so they offer much greater brightness and contrast values than projectors. This is clear when sunlight intrudes on a projected image – it appears washed out and muted. Not an issue with video walls, and that’s an important advantage, given that natural light is generally considered a feature in modern environmental designs.
3. Flexible hardware layout options – True, most video walls are just that – a wall. They’re grids, but they don’t have to be. With some clever mounting and display options, designers can arrange displays in all kinds of patterns, including abstract geometric or curved layouts. Video walls can even be free-standing or three-dimensional, if using cube displays. In short, there are plenty of hardware layouts that haven’t been done before, if a business or venue wants to go for something truly memorable. And by relying on this approach, the installation’s visual impact can be multiplied while reducing the number of displays present.
No other display technology compares in this area. Try doing this with a projector – it’s nowhere near as easy.
4. Processing power – It takes more processing punch to drive a video wall, but that extra processing oomph is another benefit to the technology. Professional-grade video wall controllers, are much, much beefier than those found in single displays. As such, not only can they drive content at a larger scale, they can drive more content at a smoother rate than single displays can.
5. Extensive content manipulation options – Video wall controllers give owners plenty of tools on the backend. These tools can be used to present content on the video wall in various ways. The controller effectively turns the displays into a single canvas, onto which content can be arranged, resized or layered in some creative layouts.
Fortunately, video controller software is not designed just for designers. It’s made so that anyone with a basic level of skill can easily manage them. That’s important for venues that need to switch content out regularly. In a matter of moments, a user can access the backend and update content. Event schedules, product specials, daily menu items – these can be tweaked with little effort as things change. It’s even easier than that, in most cases, as controller software allows users to define preset layouts and deploy them with a single click. That’s helpful for venues that make use of the same layouts regularly.
6. Signal versatility – A single display or projector is limited in its connectivity and ability to capture multiple sources. Both can only connect to some devices and they cannot display more than a single source at once. Again, not a problem with video walls. A video wall can grab multiple signals and display them at once, even if they are in varying formats and resolutions. Each one can be accessed using the video wall controller too, so they can be manipulated individually and spruced up so they are ready for presentation.
7. Looks modern and sharp – We’re not talking about the image quality again. This time, it’s about how the installation itself appears. And for nearly everyone, video walls look like something out of a sci-fi movie. Because they are built and arranged with no bezels (as opposed to the thick bezels still found on single displays), they look impossibly clean and streamlined. There’s no hunk of metal hanging from the ceiling, either, which is what the projector route offers. And yes, projectors can be concealed, but that takes extra work and an extra financial commitment.
That sharp aesthetic reflects positively on the video wall’s owner. In a clothing store, a video wall sells the idea of sophistication and luxury. In a sports bar, a video wall makes the big game look even bigger. In a corporate boardroom, a video wall is synonymous with professionalism, impressing potential clients and partners.
8. Less maintenance required – A video wall may look like something that requires constant babysitting, but they require less maintenance than projectors. That has to do with the light engine powering these displays. A video wall normally relies on highly efficient and reliable light engine technology like LEDs. A projector, though, is stuck in the past in this regard, with bulbs that burn out after a few thousand hours.
LED lighting is the most promising development in the lighting industry in a long time. Each diode lamp provides at least 50,000 hours of performance with little loss in quality as it nears end of life. Improving manufacturing methods mean that this number will surely go up, as will the already-superior efficiency marks. LEDs are also some of the most durable lights ever made, as they are built on solid state circuitry, and not fragile filaments. As a result, video walls need close to zero maintenance, even after years of operation. Projectors, though, need to be addressed regularly. This problem is compounded if the projector was concealed during installation, as access will be a continuing source of frustration.
9. Interactivity is a natural fit – Video walls are even more compelling when they can be interacted with. Fortunately, it’s a common addition to modern video walls and can greatly enhance the installation’s engagement. People can use video walls to navigate around a building, check event or travel schedules, scrub through a carousel of images or products, or just play around. Interactive video walls are popular centerpieces in art installations and can improve branding without feeling unwelcome. Video walls, again, lend themselves to interactivity much more naturally than projectors.
Video walls are feats of engineering and design, capable of drawing eyes wherever they’re placed. And given their impressive versatility and functionality, there’s no reason to go with anything else.
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