Video wall controller, processor, scaler or none. What do you really need?
One of the most important questions to ask yourself when purchasing a video wall is whether you can use the internal video wall scalers built into modern zero bezel displays. These offer limited but important functionality which needs to be understood to determine whether you can get away with just using displays or if you need a video wall controller or video wall processor.
Video wall controllers provide more power and flexibility to a video wall deployment, and they used to be substantially more costly, but today there are solutions like Userful which are significantly more affordable.
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 in the number of screens they can support and are limited to a single source.
Many can’t handle irregular aspect ratios (i.e. 1x5, 1x10 configurations, etc.). 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 allow for display of those sources in a wide variety of configurations from zones to picture in picture.
Solutions like Userful of course also support odd configurations (yes, 1x5 but also artistic, mosaic-style, video walls with unique designs).
How do I know if my project needs a video wall controller or processor?
If a deployment requires multiple sources simultaneously (i.e. a mix of browser content, video feeds, dashboards, videos, live video etc.), or switching easily between content sources or video wall lay outs, you will need a controller.
If you are using just one source on your video wall (eg in a digital signage application) and it is 4k or under and will be displayed only on a 2x2 or 3x3 you will be fine with the matrix scaler. Move much beyond that in size or configuration complexity and you may need to look at a video wall controller or processor.
Affordability in video wall controllers
Traditional, video card based video wall processors or video wall controllers were very expensive and also complex to configure and maintain.
This is no longer the case. Userful’s software-based video wall eliminates the cost and complexity problems of traditional video wall solutions by transforming a standard PC into a high performing, flexible video wall controller, with a simple and flexible control and configuration interface.