As the pro AV industry kicks off an exciting 2015, value-added resellers (VARs) across the country are gearing up for an explosion of video wall activity. As the video wall market grows rapidly, more VARs and manufacturers are entering the field every month. However, it’s important to fully understand the technology requirements of video walls before jumping into a project.
Here, we cover five of the basic technology requirements for today’s video walls:
1. Displays designed for video wall environments.
This is an obvious one, but it bears mentioning. Not every type of digital screen is well-suited for a video wall installation, so be sure to choose your technology wisely.
Due to the large-scale nature of video wall technology, resolution and image clarity are a top concern. Look for devices that not only can network easily with each other, but also will project crystal-clear content, both up close and at a distance.
2. Video wall processors.
Also called a controller, the processor is the device that makes a single image appear and move seamlessly across the multiple screens of a video wall. Processors form individual images, and then split them into parts that are displayed on individual screens. Although smaller, more simplistic video walls may only require a multi-monitor video card, as video walls continue to grow in size and capability, most are requiring processors.
Video wall processors are now available in hardware-based and software-based versions. Hardware processors are built on an array of video processing chipsets, while software-based processors run on a PC, using networking equipment to communicate with displays. Each has their own set of advantages and a few shortcomings, so be sure to do some research on what would work best for each individual project.
3. Specialty hardware.
Video walls can’t be built by simply stacking a series of digital screens on top of each other. These large, complex displays need to be carefully designed and connected using specialty video wall hardware. The goal is to create a unified appearance using hardware that will completely secure each display, while also allowing for easy access and serviceability.
As video walls grow in size and complexity, hardware manufacturers have risen to the opportunity. Today’s video wall mounting options are sturdier, more reliable and more flexible than ever before, giving VARs the freedom to create exactly the display that your customer requires.
4. Multi-display networking.
VARs who work with video wall technology need at least a basic understanding of multi-display networking technology, since even the smallest video walls include two or more digital screens. Getting these devices to work together seamlessly and display the right content at the right time requires careful calibration.
If you’re new to video walls, now is the time to brush up on your multi-display networking skills—particularly daisy chaining functions, such as power and video signals, between the various displays. Consider partnering with a well-established technology distributor to help get started.
5. Advanced applications.
If your customer wants to do anything beyond very basic video, text and audio, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some of the new visualization applications being used with video walls. Capabilities such as 3-D rendering, remote access, social media integration and touchscreen interaction require special features—and digital displays that can support them. Here’s another area in which partnering with a technology distributor can help you to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in technology capabilities.
What other special requirements would you add to this list? What would you say are the biggest challenges in working with video wall technology?