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Video Walls

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Say More with Video Wall

Sometimes getting messages across is not as simple as saying it. It is often a tough matter for some people and perhaps even more difficult for companies, regardless of the target audience. So instead of flowery talks or elaborated presentations, why not trying to convey them with pictures. As they said, a picture is worth a thousand words. But then comes the next question, what will we do with picture? How to make them say more? Video wall is one way to do it. In its basic concept, video wall is a set of enhanced form of displays with a literally wall concept. In fact, it is a group of displays arranged in a matrix-styled setup to form a bigger picture.

In a way, it resembles a giant picture puzzle. Since they are meant to be put in a multiple setup, they are particularly designed with very slim bezels and unique daisy-chain feature to facilitate easier management for the networked screens. At its helm is a video processor (http://www.extron.com/product/prodtype60.aspx) which performs the all key tasks from upscaling or downscaling images over the multiple screens to spread out different images on different parts of the video wall, in this case certain screens. As for the setup, there is not any definitive formula setup to refer with but most people will go with 3x2 or 3x3 matrix depending on their purposes and the screen size. You are welcome to use any kind of display for building a video wall such as LCD, LED, Plasma, or rear projection devices but note that the standard LCD/LED/Plasma displays are not designed for video wall in the first place and may suffer from certain disadvantages than rear projection cube does. After all, the point of say more is only possible if you make the most out of your means of communication.

The most common sight of video wall can be found in large venues such as trade shows as well as command-control applications like traffic management center, surveillance control room, stadium, and airports. They are also popular with major brands for advertising purposes. In some big citis like New York and Tokyo, you can easily find video wall on any stores and buildings. All these applications can especially benefit from video wall since it offers a more flexible message delivery as well as viewing experience. You can see a distant and close up imagery and information as it fits. You can say one thing to evoke various responses. You can change colors and throw in various visual and graphics at an instant. This way, users not only be able to easily say more with pictures but also present various kind of messages and information to different people at a time. Similar to enhanced type of display like digital signage (can insert internal link to article on digital signage), you can also manage and update the content from remote places whenever necessary, saving cost for on-site monitoring resources.

On different occasions, video wall also get the job well done with theatrical or artistic applications. It is because the multiple displays can create a more immersive visual experience thanks to the stronger impact in term of realism. Say, your are a photojournalism exhibitor. You can try to showcase all the photos in a horizontally wide dynamic video wall rather than a typical display case at gallery. While the massive photo wall surely will attract both static viewers and passers-by, you can effortlessly deliver unique impression to each single viewer. To the extent of commercial applications such as business and hospitality, video wall can also be an effective way of building brand awareness by showing live face of company, its products, and services alternately.

Which Display is Good?

Building a video wall may not be that difficult but choosing displays to build it is. Currently, most users are teared apart between the more common LCD/plasma displays and the dedicated rear projection video wall cubes. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses but both are effective means to say more; getting across your messages in a less painstaking way.

Typical LCD/Plasma Displays

Typical LCD/Plasma displays here refer to any random LCD or plasma displays which are available at various sizes and comes with no special features. Video wall is a stack of displays connected to each other to form a larger picture or numerous pictures at a time. That is the basic idea. However, it does not mean you can just go buy several displays, put it together, and mount them to wall just like that. Obviously, all the displays need to have the exactly same specification from size, build, down to optical qualities. But the main problem with LCD/plasma display is that they are not made for video wall. They comes with typical-sized bezels and thus will form some sort of mullions or transoms as in buildings. Mullions is the gap between displays when you put them together. But while mullions or transoms in buildings assume supporting roles, it proves to be detrimental to video wall since it affects overall quality data or images being presented. Speaking figuratively, it's like missing a piece of puzzle. You cannot say more if the pictures or data gets ruined here and there, right? The effect itself may vary from case to case, depending greatly on what kind of images or data you are going to present. You probably can compromise with the issue for non-numeric critical applications but mapping or surveillance projects definitely can suffer from great damage.

Next, you will also have to consider the product life cycle. Most IT products these days including displays do not offer prolonged use. They tend to age fast and are soon replaced with new models which is almost identical with minor improvements and new packagings. With a single display, you may as well buy a new one if it is damaged but it's not the case with video wall. Since each and every display has to be identical, you may experience difficulty to find the replacement product at any times. One solution is to buy additional display as backups. However, you will still need to deal with aging issue in the end. As LCD/plasma displays ages, a lot of issues start to appear one after another and irregularly from color output to calibration. And when it happens, in the end you may have to replace the entire array and churn out extra expenses in big amount.

Thanks to the major advancement in technology, display manufacturers begin to take video wall as a promising scene and continuously make real efforts to improve their products. Samsung, for instance, has developed new flat panel displays with ultra narrow bezels up to 11 mm at its narrowest to tackle mullions issues. They also pay more attention in extending product lifespan. Indicating their optimism toward the future of video wall, they also introduce latest interlocking technology for video wall. This innovation is said to allow a more cohesive look as well as more simple installation.

Video Wall Cube

As mentioned before, rear projection video wall cube or simply cube displays are especially tailored for video wall, making it a more viable option to build video wall than the typical LCD/plasma displays. It has all the ideal qualities for a video wall including narrow bezels, assured if not easier maintenance, and most importantly longer life span. Users also do not have to worry about the availability of components as many dealers guarantee long term supports for years. On the down side, you will need to make higher initial investment. But if you ask us, it worths because this system indeed offers quality and performance in long terms. In the current trends, some video wall cube even comes with LED illumination technology, eliminating consumable components and additional costs for maintenance altogether.

From show floors, common public facilities, office board rooms, classrooms, to security control rooms, video wall solution offer a better way of delivering information and messages to any target audience, be it customers, visitors, students, or employees. At its core, it helps you to say more and communicate better.