Video Wall Controller: PC/Server and the Network for an easy-to-use, affordable solution
Many organizations seeking high performance video walls turn to proprietary servers or controllers. All too often the results are disappointing: a high price tag for a complicated solution that is difficult to manage and isn’t able to grow with the customer’s needs.
Userful is Different
Userful is a software driven solution with an easy to use drag and drop user interface for everything you need to do. By using an off the shelf PC/Server plus the network instead of expensive, proprietary hardware, Userful saves money.
Userful is not just a video wall solution but a Visual Networking Platform used to drive and manage a both the video walls and the networked displays used for operational productivity, business communication, collaboration and customer engagement.
How it Works
Userful's software takes an off-the-shelf PC/Server and turns it into a high-end video wall controller. It includes all the key features to quickly and easily control and display multiple content sources on the video wall in a flexible way. Manage and control the solution through the cloud or for sites with no internet connection, using the Local Area Network (LAN).
All the high-end features needed for control and command center video wall applications at the best price point.
"Any source, anywhere on any display at any time"
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Userful has all the features of traditional video wall controllers and more.
But it’s more flexible, more scalable, more affordable, and a whole lot easier to set up and use.
Userful uses a standard off the shelf PC. The software ensures Userful gets the maximum performance out of the computer’s processing power allowing unparalleled scalability in number of displays and source resolution.
Zones, Multi-window, Picture-in-picture
Zones are individual displays or groups of displays, Multi-window allows customers to break up content within the bezels of a display or across the bezels of a display and picture in picture allows display of one source as the background and multiple sources in windows on top of that background.
Scheduling and central content management
Userful’s cloud management includes a scheduling tool that allows customers to schedule changes to presets which means you can change the content on the video wall and the lay out of the video wall at designated times. You can also centrally manage content: upload sources once and use many times across different deployments.
Unlimited content sources
Userful offers maximum flexibility on content sources. Display a desktop over the network or by connecting it to HDMI, display multiple browser sessions directly from the PC itself, work with one of the Content Management Systems integrated into Userful or play video up to 8k resolution directly from the PC itself.
Easy to Use Interface
Userful’s software is focused on ease of use and ensuring that anyone can quickly and easily learn to manage, monitor and interact with a video wall.
Deploy a second backup PC/Server and in the unlikely event of a hardware failure, the second PC will automatically take over from the primary PC/Server.
Use presets for maximum control and flexibility
Presets allow users to create multiple configurations of their video wall with different sources on different windows and then save those presets for later use. Note that a preset can control the sources and configurations of multiple video walls simultaneously. Any displays connected to a single PC can be controlled through just one preset. Presets can be easily invoked from a smartphone, desktop or can be scheduled. They can also be triggered using Userful’s API.
Leveraging all the security advantages of Userful’s architectural approach, including the ability to set PC/Server in secure location, Userful’s fully locked down software ensures security and peace of mind.
With Userful’s cloud management, users can interact with the video wall remotely, monitor it through a webcam from anywhere in the world. Admins can schedule content changes, upload content and interact with the video wall in real time. Note that an internet connection is not required to run Userful, but does allow for remote access and interactivity.
A Video Wall Controller for your Needs
Ease of use for end users and upfront cost savings make Userful unique in the market and highly attractive for our customers.
The system is intuitive and easy to set up. The cost is remarkably affordable for just about anybody.
What I like about Userful is that not only did it fulfill all our requirements but it did so at a great price.
Results from Our 2018 Survey
Userful Is Easy-To-Use and Affordable
In a 2018 survey, 58% of Userful customer say Userful was 1/2 the cost or less than other video walls they considered for their project.
Common Questions about the Userful Video Wall Controller
LED / LCD video walls are usually are limited to single input sources. Matrix switchers can take more than one input, but provide little flexibility in terms of distributing the content to the video walls. They usually don’t support more than 4k resolutions (some just support 1080p), and matrix switchers need to be close to the video walls, unless extenders are used.
Video wall controllers on the other hand can scale (in the case of Userful) up to 8k source content, and for Userful in particular, since it delivers content via the network, the controller can be physically removed from the displays, with no need for extenders. Video wall controllers, like Userful, also provide greater flexibility and more advance features, in terms of distributing the content throughout the video wall, including:
- Support for source resolutions up to 8k for higher quality video walls.
- Artistic, mosaic-style video wall support to create unlimited layout possibilites.
- Support for multiple source content simultaneously, and flexibility to place multiple content within zones, or windows, on a video wall.
- Control for seamless content switching.
- Support for signage replication, where the same content shows at the exact same time across both video walls and individual displays.
That would depend on the solution. Some traditional solutions require that you buy video wall processor, an external PC/server (for the management interface), a matrix switcher, a matrix scaler (one for each display) and displays; as well as additional cabling and accessories. There are also LED / LCD display based video walls that integrate the matrix scaler.
Userful’s solution, on the other hand, centralizes the video wall controller, processor, switcher and scaler within a standard PC. Instead of scalers on each display, Userful uses long-lasting zero client devices (with no processing power or movable parts), as well as the existing network infrastructure, simplifying the entire system altogether, without sacrificing content quality.
In short, yes, a video wall controller will give you the power, control and flexibility to support a wide range of applications, basically a one-solution-fits-all!
For example, Userful’s video wall allows you to accommodate many use cases, such as control and command centers, sports and entertainment venues, retail environments, and more, into a single solution. It supports different types of content sources (i.e. live TV, HTML5, network stream, live feeds from cameras, etc.) simultaneously on the displays via preset zones, made up of one or many displays. Also supports synchronized content across all displays (both video walls and independent screens), and allow users to easily switch content from a connected handheld device. Also, being a network-delivered video wall solution provide the flexibility to spread video walls and digital signage throughout a room or building (a very useful feature in a retail environment, as well as in sports, and entertainment venues)
Usually, video wall controllers require an external control PC to access the management tools and switch the video wall content, this works well if you don’t need your video wall experience to be very dynamic. Also, you can use CMS and scheduling applications, where you predetermine the content flow and it will automatically switch it for you.
Userful’s solution gives the user the flexibility and control to seamlessly switch content from any connected device (i.e. smartphones, or tablets) with the touch of a button, remotely manage video walls and change content remotely from any browser, with easy drag’n’drop capabilities for quicker, more intuitive content mapping; as well as providing CMS integration to allow content scheduling and customized layouts on the video walls.
That would depend on the solution, as each has their strengths and limitations. Userful, for example, provides a platform for a wide range of applications, and its management interfaces empowers you as a user. Some of the things you can do are:
- Create both traditional, landscape or portrait, grid-video walls, and design creative, state-of-the-art, mosaic-style video wall for museums, hotel lobbies, retail stores, or even entertainment venues
- Deploy a video wall at a command center with multiple simultaneous source content—Live camera feed, interactive HTML5 web content, full screen desktop environment, etc.
- Have it at a sports bar, where you can have many individual signage displays, as well as many video walls. A solution as flexible as Userful, let’s you have the same exact content in synch (i.e. a game or TV show) on some displays, and then have other content simultaneously on other displays, with the ability to switch and manage what’s shown from a web browser.
Traditionally video wall controllers used to be way more expensive, and they usually required proprietary hardware and software, which were complex to setup and maintain. However, there are now video wall controllers such as Userful that have eliminated all of these traditional problems. Userful leverages the power of a PC and existing network infrastructure to significantly reduce the costs, simplify the setup and maintenance, and improve the scalability of a video wall system, while still delivering high-quality (up to 8k resolution), professional video walls.
There is a good article by Userful’s CTO, Tim Griffin, where he provides some insight on when do you need a video wall controller for your project. You can find it here.
If you want to learn more about the Userful video wall, make sure to visit userful.com/videowall, and sign up for more great resources. If you are interested in trying out the solution, give us a call at +1 (403) 289-2177, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to assist you.