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Video walls 101: selecting the right tech for indoor vs. outdoor applications

LCD or DLED? It depends on whether it’s an indoor or outdoor video wall.

July 12, 2019

If seeing increased rollouts of video walls hasn’t clued you in that there’s an opportunity for solution providers, maybe the latest research from Markets.us will. According to the research company, the global video wall market was valued at $4.2 billion in 2018 and is projected to increase at a CAGR of 14.8% through 2028. That’s a lot of video walls and related services up for the taking.

The research report, rightfully, distinguishes between indoor and outdoor video wall applications. If you’re interested in making this a part of your business plan, you’ll need to understand the differences and settle into the niche that’s right for you.

Indoor video walls
Indoor applications of video walls are diverse. Transportation (airports, bus terminals, subways) are typical adopters. However, there’s been increased interest by shopping malls, retailers, hotels and casinos, and museums/galleries.

Historically, LCD technology has been used for indoor video wall applications; however, direct view LED (DLED) has been emerging.

Outdoor video walls
You’ll find outdoor video walls used for advertising, at concerts, stadiums and similar applications. While using LCD is possible, it’s not ideal since the displays would need to be enclosed to protect against the weather. Outdoor DLED variants are purpose-built to withstand extreme temperatures and exposure to water. Since DLED uses interconnected panels, it’s nothing to create walls 100 feet across.

Outdoor video walls are not for novices. There are specific power source requirements and regulations that must be met to install an outdoor video wall properly. Also, if the display is nearby roads, you’ll want to ensure the wall brightness isn’t so high it becomes a hazard.

Getting involved
LCD and DLED each has its pros and cons. LCD costs less, but might not be appealing for all applications since the displays have bezels that can interrupt the eye when multiple screens are put together. LCD manufacturers have been working on reducing bezel thickness. Depending on your customers’ needs, LCD—regardless of the bezel size—might be perfectly acceptable.

DLED has been dropping in price but is still more expensive than LCD. However, DLED has no bezels, has higher maximum brightness and better color saturation, and can be used to create larger walls. Whereas LCD walls might use 55-inch displays to build a wall, DLED uses square panels that can be stacked and connected to create walls of various shapes and sizes.

The mean time to failure for each display brand make and model will vary, but the general rule is that LCDs will fail sooner than DLED displays. How they fail, however, will differ. For example, aging LCDs will often slowly lose brightness. When DLEDs fail, it’s more evident as entire sections or groups of bulbs will black out or malfunction.
 
Regardless of your current level of expertise, if you have an opportunity for a video wall, indoor or outdoor, you lean on the expertise of Ingram Micro for help in selling, designing and implementing the solution. Contact Tom Jones, Ingram Micro’s pro AV expert, for more information.