Key Things to Consider for a Successful Video Wall Deployment

Deploying a video wall involves a lot of planning. As with any new project, some ground work has to carried out and some key considerations have to be taken into account. “There are many variables that can make or break your video wall deployment, and being prepared is the best way to achieve a successful deployment that will both impress your audience without breaking the bank”, explains Tim Griffin, CTO of Userful Corporation, a leading software appliance company that provides a simple and affordable solution for AV & IT professionals to easily control large numbers of displays and interactive content sources from any browser.

What you need to consider:

Image of Userful's artistic video wall displaying moon

1. Layout & Sizing

Determine your audience and the type of message(s) you want to send via your video wall and how often these messages will change. Is your goal clear communication of specific written messages (grid layout) or is to make an impact with a unique design (artistic layout)?

2. Location and placement

Obviously you want to choose a prominent location but be aware that sun or bright lights can darken the display and create glare. Consider your surroundings and lighting conditions to ensure visibility and legibility at various times of day.


3. Wiring & Connectivity

Your host PC can be either at the video wall location or in the server room. If it is at the video wall location you can use a wireless network connection (for content access) if it is in the server room you will need to have at least one Cat5e (or Cat6) Ethernet cable going to a gigabit switch at the video wall location. Alternatively you can have one cable per screen and have your switch in the server room as well.


4. Mounting

There are a wide range of video wall mounts. you need to ensure your wall and mounting system can handle the weight and size of the displays. Zero client devices can be mounted to the back of your displays using double-sided adhesive foam tape or vesa mounts. The power for the zero client device can be provided either from a power adaptor or a USB port on the display. The zero client devices can be set to always power on automatically (via either a dip switch or rocker switch). If you are mounting directly on the wall and you have more than a few rows of displays ensure there is sufficient space for the heated air from the displays to rise. If you are recessing the displays to be plush with the surface of the wall ensure there is vending or active cooling to ensure that displays don’t overheat. Be sure to know you have enough space behind the display for cooling fan systems and the recessed cavity is built with sufficient either passive or active venting in mind.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure the walls or free-standing display support structures are sufficient to support the weight of your displays.

5. Content

You can create original or re-use content. There are many ways to deliver content to your video wall. You can have standard video formats (i.e. .mp4, .avi, .mpg, etc.) organized in a playlist and reproduced in a loop on your displays. You can also use HDMI/SDI capture cards and get multiple HDMI sources, such as cameras, laptops, PVRs, and more. Web streaming is another way that you can deliver content to your video wall. Also there is what are called Content Management Systems (CMS) that allow you to organize different content in a personalized canvas, from videos to static images, you can add weather and sports widgets and embed web content. This canvas will transfer directly to your video wall displays.


10 Questions to Ask Your Video Wall Vendor

Deploying a video wall can be an overwhelming experience, but don’t worry, there are solutions and resources available that significantly simplify the process of deploying and supporting a video wall.

According to Tim Griffin, CTO of Userful Corporation, “Traditionally, video walls were complex and expensive, but with the advancements in technology and the rise of alternative approaches to video walls and digital signage (i.e. AV-over-IP, software-based, etc.), they are becoming easier to deploy and more affordable”.

Image of Userful's retail video wall.

There are now a myriad approaches to deploying video walls, which leaves people asking: ‘How do I know what solution is right for me?’.

In this article we present a list of 10 questions that you can ask a video wall vendor that will help you make a better decision towards your video wall deployment:

1. What resolution is supported today? How can I upgrade this resolution in the future?

Content resolutions are constantly upgrading (i.e. from 720p to 1080p, 2k, 4k, 6k and now 8k) and having a solution that can easily adapt to these upgrades is highly advantageous.

2. What is the life expectancy (mean time between failure) for the device/solution in the field?

This one is self-explanatory, as it gives you a sense of how reliable the solution is.

3. How easy is it to calibrate color to adjust as the displays age?

Color calibration is a complex process in many video wall solutions, and it can be both time and resource-consuming.

4. How quick is it to setup?

A key aspect in a video wall deployment, a thorough understand of this process can help to make better decision when choosing a solution.

5. How many different types of content and sources can I connect?

There are many different types of content that can be displayed on a video wall (i.e. video & image, scheduled content, HTML, live streams, real-time camera feed, Live TV, HDMI sources, etc.).

A solution that gives you a greater flexibility in content support will be a greater asset for your deployment.

6. How easy is it to switch what is playing on the video wall?

Interactivity is a key thing in video walls and digital signage, so a seamless switch between content will definitely make for a more impactful and professional video wall experience.

7. Will I be able to talk to current or former clients that can speak to the quality of your programs?

It’s a red flag if the vendor does not provide client references that you can call.

Ask the vendor for references and do your due diligence by taking the time to speak to them.

8. How do you adapt to the continually changing B2B landscape?

New products and services are constantly transforming industries.

Key to your success is finding a partner that has the flexibility and foresight to grow your audience to maximize meetings for your sales team – and positively impact your ROI.

9. What is your pricing model?

Different approaches have different pricing schemes, and knowing this will be helpful not only for the initial deployment, but for future upgrades and refreshment cycles.

10. Who are your closest competitors?

Most vendors don’t want you seeking out competitors, as a general sales rule.

But there’s a lot to be said for a vendor who IS willing to share this information with you.

It indicates that the vendor is confident in the services they provide and the potential ROI of their client campaigns.


10 Questions to Ask Your Video Wall Vendor PDF 10 Questions to Ask Your Video Wall Vendor (PDF - Size 1.1 MB) | Video Wall Resources

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Helpful Resources about Digital Signage Video Walls

How to Make a Video Wall

Userful artistic video wall image

Video walls are arrays of high quality commercial or professional grade monitor screens placed together to create a larger screen allowing synchronized content to play across them. Video walls can be of almost any size and can have a wide variety of configurations and applications.

Deploying a video wall can be an overwhelming experience, which is why Userful offers a solution that is simple, high performance and flexible. While purchasing a Userful solution is the best way to make sure your video wall deployment goes smoothly, here are some additional tips to getting a stunning video wall assembled.

1. Intended Impact

Knowing what kind of business use the video wall will have, and how you 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. Don’t even get started until without being clear on this vital question.

2. Know your Space

Before considering any solution, you should consider all the environmental factors: location (indoor/outdoor), how much ambient light will there be, how will you access the video wall for maintenance, and of course the physical dimensions.

3. Size of Space, Size of Displays

Think about the space you want to use and consider the number of displays as well as size of those displays. You’ll find various video wall size calculators online. Keep in mind the larger displays you use the fewer bezel lines you’ll have but the more you’ll pay.

4. Content (Part 1)

People say content is king for good reason. A video wall can be big and bold but without content it’s not much use. Ensure that your content matches the aspect ratio of the video wall and ensure you’ve got a solution that upscales content if your source content is not maximizing the resolution of your displays. For example 4k content on a 3x3 video wall will mean the displays are only playing 720p unless either at the display or the video wall controller an upscaling algorithm is adding in additional pixels to ensure the display is playing at full HD. Userful does this by using advanced scaling algorithms to give users the option to have every display playing at full HD resolution.

5. Content (Part 2)

Yes, content is so important it gets two entries in our list. Do you want 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 right up front. Regardless of what content you want to put on the video wall today, choose a solution with flexibility. You may want larger content or higher resolution content or different video wall features in the future. Video walls are a big investment, you don’t want to install one to find out it won’t support a need that crops up next year. Userful as an example allows customers to leverage the incredible power of standard computers to provide content of up to 6k on up to 60 displays. While you might not have needs like that today, it’s good to have a solution capable of much higher resolution and performance to ensure you have options in the future.

6. Which Displays to Use

Commercial displays offer zero or low bezel, better brightness and longer life, consumer TV’s offer a lower cost but are not designed for digital signage or for video wall use. Userful’s video wall solution will work with any display, allowing customers to choose based on budget and needs.

7. Components

Video walls require a variety of components—including displays, media players, cabling, display mounts, etc—that need to be properly installed. Ensure your RFP or purchase list has every component required.

8. Video Wall Calibration

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. Choose a video wall with a simple calibration tool because if it’s not easy to do, should you ever need to recalibrate or replace a display, it could result in a nightmare. Troubleshooting, maintenance and updates are always expected, as with any technology solution, so a solution that minimizes these expenses will always be the smarter choice.

9. Can you run it yourself?

Of course you can, if you choose the right solution from the start. Keep in mind your total cost of ownership. If your solution requires highly-trained personnel or specialized skills to set it up or run it, you’re unnecessarily burdening yourself with extra labor costs and a higher total cost of ownership. For a solution to be great, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

How to Make a Video Wall10. What does your future look like?

Upfront consider where you’re going to be in five and ten years. Video walls can be a substantial investment. 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? 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 the PC or server and keeping the rest of the video wall intact.

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