Why Userful is the Ultimate Video Wall Processor
It’s true that today many commercial displays have an internal tile matrix capability that allows those displays to synch into a video wall, but it’s important to understand just what this capability means, when to use it and when you need something external to drive the video wall—a video wall processor, which is a separate computer that synchronizes displays into a video wall.
When You’ll Need A Video Wall Processor
The internal tile matrix or daisy chain capabilities of a commercial video wall display are ideal for a simple 2x2 or 3x3 grid video showing one content source of up to 4k resolution. The problem is that ever since displays offered this feature, small grid video walls have popped up everywhere. If a company wants a video wall, it’s because they want to stand out from the crowd--video walls grew in popularity because digital displays were everywhere and hanging a single digital sign on a wall no longer got much attention. As video walls proliferate, setting up a 2x2 grid video wall is also starting to lack the impact it was purchased for. To stand out in the crowd of digital displays today, yes you need a video wall, but you also need something more than a simple and small grid array.
For this customers need a video wall processor--an external computer that connects to all your displays and synchronizes them. As soon as someone talks about needing an external PC or server to drive a video wall, a few people are going to start worrying about the cost, others are going to start worrying about the complexity--fearing cable nests and multi headed video cards.
Don’t worry, that’s a video wall processor out of another era. With Userful, you can have a simple, cost effective, scalable and flexible video wall processor.
What makes the Userful video wall processor different?
Part of what makes Userful different is that it uses a PC and the network. This significantly reduces costs, and because Userful certifies very specific PC models from brands like Lenovo and HP, you can use Userful’s scaling guide to ensure you’ve got exactly the right PC for your requirements. Userful certifies a range of PC’s capable of very high performance (up to 100 screens and up to 8k source content).
The next key point on how Userful makes it simple to turn a PC into a video wall processor is the use of the network. Instead of opening up a PC and connecting video cards only to find out the video cards don’t fit (or that they won’t support the required resolution), Userful uses the network. Each display connects to the PC over the local area network using a zero client (a gigabit network is needed in most cases though 10 gig is required for larger roll outs). Zero clients are small, inexpensive and stateless devices that have no processor, no memory, no hard drive or fan. Think of zero clients as network addressable video cards. They connect to each display via HDMI and then connect to the switch via cat 5e and the PC connects to that same switch.
With Userful software running on that PC, it does all the processing work, all the heavy lifting, the zero clients just output pixels.
Userful delivers more than other video wall processors
That’s how the solution works, but there’s lots more to explain why Userful is the ultimate Video Wall Processor. Many traditional video wall processors are limited to x number of inputs and y number of outputs--they’re proprietary boxes with fixed inputs and outputs. We’ve already seen how Userful can scale on the output side by connecting to displays over the network. The input side is similar. You can pull content from just about any source: video and still images on the hard drive, content delivered through the network, RTP, RTSP, anything you can deliver through the browser, real time local sources through HDMI capture. There’s almost no content you can’t put on a video wall with Userful. This flexibility on inputs and outputs ensures that your video wall processor is able to accommodate your needs today but also in the future.
Userful also gives you all the configuration flexibility you need. We started this article looking at the sort of video walls people want to deploy today and they range well beyond the old fashioned 2x2 and 3x3. With userful you can deploy a banner or column video wall with an odd aspect ratio. You can also rotate individual screens to any angle for a more artistic look. You can offset displays and leave gaps between displays, you can mix display sizes, types and aspect ratios all in the same video wall. Your options are almost unlimited.
Support for more than just video walls
One final point about what makes Userful different from other video wall processors: it’s able to support other types of display. With Userful the PC can support individual digital signs (which can also be rotated and can also be set to synch with the video wall). These additional screens can be added at any time. Userful’s a scalable solution. To add more displays, just add more zero clients.
By using a Video wall processor, customers open up a range of video wall options beyond the traditional 2x2 and 3x3, however not all video wall processors are created equal. When considering video wall processors, be sure to look not just at cost but at scalability, performance, flexibility and useability. We’re confident on all three fronts Userful will come out ahead.