Userful FAQs

Video Wall

General

What is a Video Wall?

The Video Wall feature in Userful is used to send synchronized high-resolution graphical content to an array of displays simultaneously. This is achieved via the Userful Control Center. Video walls are commonly used in advertising, Cinemas, museums, network monitoring, etc. With the Userful software, a single Userful host is able to output one or more video walls over a network.

In what environments is Userful ideal?

Userful is ideal for signage installations in retail, corporate, entertainment and hospitality environments, as well as control room video wall solutions in security, process control, transportation, and more.

What is an Artistic or Mosaic Video Wall?

Sometimes called a mosaic-style video wall, the Userful’s Artistic feature enables you to intermix different sizes of displays and configure them at any angle to create a truly unique and eye-catching video wall canvas. Userful’s unique and powerful interactive pixel-perfect calibration tool enables you to set up these unique configurations in minutes.

How do I configure my video wall?

Visit the Configuring Video Wall page for detailed instructions

Is Userful’s integrated Color Calibration compatible with my displays?

Color Calibration is achieved by adjusting color values directly at the Userful client rather than adjusting settings within the display itself. This design ensures compatibility across a broad range of displays as well as having the further advantage of being able to calibrate color on video walls comprised of a heterogeneous mix of different displays. To learn more about color calibration, visit Configuring Video Wall

How do I create content for an artistic video wall?

Userful is designed to make video wall content creation simple and straightforward. No special steps are required to create content for your artistic video wall.

The canvas is a bounding rectangle that encloses all the pixels of all the displays within the video wall. For HTML5 content, the Userful host will launch a browser window of exactly the same height and width as the video wall canvas. You can either create content optimized for this aspect ratio, design the layout of your artistic video wall to match a desired aspect ratio, or use responsive design techniques when building your HTML content so that it adapts cleanly to a variety of aspect ratios.

If you are playing video content, it will play your video centered horizontally and vertically, and give you options to stretch, scale, or zoom content to fit any canvas.


What are the resolution limitations of Userful?


Userful supports a very wide variety of content sources, resolutions and media types. Get in touch with a Userful representative by emailing info@userful.com with details of your project, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Technical Elements

Software

What is Userful?

Userful is a complete software and hardware solution to power digital displays and video walls, and fills these elements of a video wall system:
  • Base OS for the system, removing the need for extra software licensing and support.
  • Drivers and software for Nvidia Offload GPUs and Blackmagic DeckLink capture cards.
  • Manages all source content - HDMI capture, network streams, local and Web content, and more.
  • Directly manages and controls Zero Client Receivers including firmware, IP settings, display resolution, USB access, audio levels, and connectivity diagnostics.
  • Assembles and manages multiple displays into Video Walls of any size and configuration with a seamless and easy-to-use interface.
  • Utilizes CPU and GPU resources to their fullest to drive large and/or complex video walls.
  • Leverages the Nvidia CUDA platform to drive Nvidia GPUs as compute engines for maximum efficiency and industry-leading playback and synchronization across multiple displays.
  • Powers industry-standard web browsers (Firefox and Chrome) to fetch and display web content.
  • Handles connectivity to Userful Cloud, our Cloud management portal for remote administration of the Userful system, and access for Userful Support.
Optional features include:
  • Fully functional desktop workspaces for users or administrators, including printer support, user accounts, applications, and administration tools (optional).
  • Secure, time-managed workspaces for public computing, with a simple but versatile application stack.

What is Userful from a software perspective?

The foundation of Userful is a complete operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, perhaps the most robust and capable Linux distribution available.

Added is an easy-to-use browser-based GUI for administration, our display control technology, along with drivers and hardware for video wall control and content capture and playback.

No prior Linux knowledge is required to successfully use Userful.

What is the life expectancy of the software?

We update the software platform incrementally for as long as we can, typically for 5+ years. At some point a re-install with a new version may be required. Customers with valid Support and Maintenance subscriptions are eligible for any assistance needed in performing this upgrade, if or when it comes.

 

If Userful is Linux, can I...?

Userful does provide a fully functional Linux Desktop as an available source, and the customer has full ability to install and manage extra software as they see fit. However Userful does not support the use of third-party applications or services on our systems. 

How can I install Userful on my Windows PC?

Userful is a complete Operating System. To install Userful, you will need to either wipe your hard drive, or be familiar with hard drive partitioning and boot records. For this reason we recommend designating a computer that is disposable or recoverable to install Userful on if you are interested in trying it out on your own hardware.

Go to Userful Downloads to obtain a trial version of Userful, and contact us for a trial license.

Alternatively, a trial version of the Userful management interface is available at our demo page.


How do I update Userful?

Userful releases feature and functionality updates about four times per year. A valid subscription and an active Internet connection entitles you to free software updates as well as professional troubleshooting and support from Userful.

Software updates must be managed manually from within Userful. Updates often require a system reboot to take full effect, and this could result in unexpected downtime if the update were to occur automatically.

Other

REST API
For a complete list of Userful REST API command

Our Developer's Reference Guide is available here.

See our list of API commands here.

What languages can I use for Userful REST API?

With Userful's REST API you can use any language you want. Userful provides some example code in a variety of languages such as C#, HTML/JavaScript, Java, Python, etc. You can even experiment with calling API calls directly from a web page using JavaScript.

Can we use the Userful REST API to control scheduling?

Yes, almost everything that could be achieved via interaction with the GUI can be controlled via the API. The API is real time, so it implements the action upon receipt of the command. This means any control of timing needs to be handled within your API script.

What are some of the things I can do with the REST API?

Some of the requirements we have seen that can be met using the Userful REST API include, but are not limited to:
  • Changing displayed Web content every 5 minutes (through switching sources)
  • Creating playlists of locally-loaded video content
  • Playing a single video in the middle of an existing playlist, returning to that playlist once the video ends
  • Pausing and rewinding content (steps back 5s)