How to Choose a Video Wall
At Userful we understand that deploying a video wall can be an overwhelming experience, so we made it our mission to provide a solution that helped simplify the implementation of video walls. Along the road we have gathered some insight on the things that can help you make the best out of your video wall, and we have decided to put together a list of some great tips that will definitely help you on how to choose a video wall. Video walls are arrays of high quality commercial or professional grade monitor screens placed together to create a larger screen.
Video walls can have many different sizes, applications, configurations and displays, including LCD, LED, blended projection screens, rear projection screens (DLP), mosaic-style tiles and direct view LED panels, just to name a few.
1. Space and Ambience
One of the most important factors. Before considering any solution, you should be aware of the environment where the video wall is going to be. Things like location (indoor/outdoor), how much ambient light will there be, accessibility to the video wall (for maintenance, etc.), and of course physical dimensions, like size of the wall and room space and layout will determine the appropriate size and components of the chosen video wall solution. Ideally, you would want a solution that allows for video walls in various layouts
Also, when designing a video wall, you need to account for enough cooling space for your displays—that will stretch its life significantly. Based on these factor, you may implement a recessed or on wall video wall.
2. Customer Impact/Usage
This is what really drives the Return On Objectives (ROO) and ultimately the Return Of Investment (ROI). Knowing what kind of business use the video wall will have, and how your customer would want to impact the end-user, can provide great insight into what video wall solution and components to acquire, that would fit and satisfy their needs, without blowing up the budget.
3. Content Delivery / Interactivity
Still images, Low-res / High-res videos, even 4k content; HTML5 applications, or 3D graphics. Which of these will be showing on your video wall? These are things you would need to consider when choosing the right video wall solution. Once you know what kind of content you will have, then you need to consider how will it be delivered to the screens. And keep in mind you want to maximize flexibility to ensure that your video wall can grow as you grow. Choose a solution with flexibility.
Nowadays there is a wide variety of solutions that deliver content in very different ways, you no longer need a highly specialized and expensive hardware solution to get high quality content on your video wall. You can find displays with integrated media players, which eliminate the need for external components; or very efficient and flexible software-based solutions such as Userful that leverage the incredible power of standard computers to provide UHD content with great stability and reliability to a great number of displays.
4. Size, Layout, Shape and Aspect Ratio
We know now that physical space and location plays an important role in determining the layout and size of a video wall. Designers also would need to consider a very important aspect before deciding how many displays—and what kind— , and what layout the video wall will have, and that is the aspect ratio of the content. For example, even if physical space permits, a certain video wall layout might have a distorted view of the content if it’s not configured in it’s original aspect ratio.
5. Set-Up, Calibration and Maintenance
This aspect is usually overlooked when deciding what video wall solution to get. Video walls require a variety of components—including displays, media players, cabling, display mounts, etc—that need to be properly installed. Moreover, if not properly calibrated, a video wall can actually generate a negative impact on the end-users, defeating the purpose of it, and ultimately affecting the business. Video wall calibration can be a laborious process, so you would want a solution that simplifies the configuration and calibration of your video wall and help you save both time and money.
Also, troubleshooting; updates and overall management is expected, as with any technology solution, so a solution that minimizes these expenses will always be the smarter choice. Ideally, you would want a solution that doesn’t require highly-trained personnel or specialized skills to perform these task, one that is simple enough for the end-user to configure and maintain.
6. Expansion and Upgradeability
Growth is a key objective in any business. What happens with your video wall solution when there is a need to expand its size, or perhaps upgrade it to accommodate the latest content resolution or format? When choosing a video wall solution, taking into account future adaptability can definitely save you some headaches and money. Highly integrated solutions or solutions that need specialized components might prove inflexible, even perhaps needing to replace the entire system upon refresh; whereas modular, software-based solutions such as Userful that leverage standard hardware and the network could easily accommodate future upgrades by replacing just a single component and keeping the rest of the video wall in tact.
7. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Ultimately, for a video wall to make sense, we want to maximize the profits associated with it. Since the revenue derived directly from the video wall is hard to estimate, rather than spending a lot of money on a video wall solution and hoping for the best, a good start would be to actually minimize the expenses on the video wall—without sacrificing its ability to fit your needs, of course. A thorough TCO study can provide great insight on what solution to choose.