There are different approaches to implementing a video wall, and usually people looking at deploying one are not too clear on what will fit best their project. Video wall controllers provide more power and flexibility to a video wall deployment; but they used to be substantially more costly— although there are solutions nowadays that have made them more affordable (for example the Userful video wall solution). In this article we want to shed some light on the situations where having a video wall controller would be very beneficial for a deployment.
Video wall controllers vs. Video wall scalers
Video wall scalers (or matrix scalers) offer a simple way to split a single video stream into multiple outputs, but they are generally limited in both resolution—with even the best scalers supporting only 1080p, and 4k at most—and layout options—many are limited to juts grid configurations. Many high-end, zero bezel displays include built-in scalers, though end users are “forced” into using only compatible displays within a supported arrangement. Matrix scalers are usually limited to a single source, and many can’t handle irregular aspect ratios (i.e. 1x5, 1x10 configurations, etc.), and those that do are still limited to the original source resolution, and look very poor quality.
Video wall controllers, on the other hand, address many of the limitations in matrix scalers. The Userful video wall solution, for example, supports ultra high source content resolutions (up to 8k), allows multiple simultaneous content sources (supporting real time content, interactive content, and managed content), and even support artistic, mosaic-style, video walls with unique designs and highly irregular aspect ratios, while still showing ultra high quality images. Userful also provides an intuitive browser-based graphical interface for management and configuration, with advance features that allow for more dynamic and interactive video walls.
How do I know if my project needs a video wall controller?
If a deployment requires showcasing multiple content simultaneously (i.e. a mix of HTML5, live TV, videos, web content, etc.), or switching easily between content sources, that is a good indicative that a video wall controller is needed. For example, control and command centers, where multiple content is on display—live camera feeds, interactive maps, desktop environment with analysis applications, etc.), would require a video wall controller. With Userful’s solution users can establish preset zones within their video walls and allocate different sources to each section, and switch configurations “on-the-fly” from the web GUI.
Affordability in video wall controllers
Traditional, video card based video wall controllers often cost up to $50,000 (or even as much as $100,000), and are usually complex to configure and maintain. These generally consist of proprietary, specialized hardware and software, and makes users depend on a sole vendor when it comes to setup, troubleshooting, RMA, which may cause delays due to low availability.
Userful’s software-based video wall eliminates these problems by transforming a standard PC (available from a variety of vendors and manufacturers) into a high performing video wall controller, with a simple and flexible configuration interface that includes advanced features, such as pixel perfect alignment, display color calibration, bezel correction, and more. Purchasing a video wall controller won’t blow the budget anymore, it can actually save you money by reducing the cost of the displays.