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Video Walls

5 Ways Display Video Walls Beat Projectors

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If you’ve ever had to choose a display option for an office, venue or event, you’ve probably asked yourself this question: Which is better, a flat panel display video wall or a projector video wall? The short answer is, it depends. There are certainly applications where a blended or rear projection video wall might be a better fit. But the longer answer is, while a projector isn’t always a wrong choice, a LCD or direct view LED video wall has plenty of advantages worth considering.

Image quality

If you want a large display, for example in a big, open lobby or foyer, a LCD or direct view LED video wall is a better choice than a projector. With a projector, you sacrifice image quality to size. Video walls, however, are built from multiple displays all working together to act as a single display, so image size can be scaled up—or down—without sacrificing image quality. Video walls also provide brighter colors and greater contrast, further improving image quality.

Flexibility

A front projection system requires unimpeded space so nothing—like a low hanging light fixture, for example—obstructs or interferes with the projected image. Rear projection systems require several feet of structural space for installation, so a room would have to be retrofitted with space carved out of the wall to accommodate it, or the unit simply protrudes into the work space. Video walls, however, can be configured in small or oddly shaped spaces, and the overall video wall image can be arranged in a variety of shapes, including a cube or pyramid. In addition, ambient light doesn’t impact the quality of a video wall image the way it does a projected image, so video walls can be placed outdoors or in areas with a large amount of natural light and the image will stay crisp and clear.

Installation and Maintenance

Video walls are made of thin, lightweight displays. The video wall displays can be easily moved and reassembled in practically no time at all. Video walls also provide an easier and less disruptive maintenance experience. Because video walls are modular any problem— for instance, a burned-out light or pixel—only affects one tile or screen. The rest of your video wall will operate as normal while you make a repair. When a similar issue comes up with a projector, the whole unit goes down and the repair is often expensive and time-consuming.

Capabilities

Projectors do one thing—project an image. Video walls on the other hand are more than a one trick display. For example, video walls can use touchscreens, wands and electronic pens to create an interactive, personalized experience.

Cost

Cost is one place where projectors might appear to have an advantage, but don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. Yes, the initial cost of an LED video wall is 15% to 20% higher than a projector, but those upfront savings are erased by higher maintenance costs within the first five years. LED walls also consume about half the energy a projector does, bringing the break-even point to just two years.

At Level 3 Audiovisual we have the expertise and vision to make your video wall dreams a reality. Let us know how we can help with your next project.

4 Things to Know Before You Buy A Video Wall

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Once confined to company lobbies, secretive government command centers and science fiction movies, video walls are becoming increasingly commonplace across multiple industries including retail, higher education and utility and traffic monitoring applications. And that’s just the beginning. According to a recent industry forecast, the global LED video wall market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 35.1 percent, reaching $73.51 billion by 2025. If you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, here are some trends to watch—and some important considerations to keep in mind.

 

4 Top Video Walls Trends

Whatever type—and size—of video wall solution you choose, it’s a big investment and you want to make sure it won’t be out of date before you’ve even had a chance to install it. Here are some trends to keep in mind that will help ensure you’re getting the latest in video wall technology for the best price.

  1. LED is getting cheaper. LED video walls have several advantages over LCD video displays, including less visible bezels in larger arrays and better visibility in outdoor applications. The downside is, they are consistently more expensive. But, in our observation, the price is starting to come down. Of course, price shouldn’t be your only consideration but it does matter. And if an LED display is the better solution for you, cost is becoming less of a barrier.
  2. Pixel pitches are getting tighter. Pixel pitch is the distance between the center of one LED cluster—or pixel—and the center of the next pixel. While in some things bigger is better, when it comes to pixel pitch smaller is better, and pixel pitches are getting smaller all the time. A smaller pixel pitch means improved resolution and viewing distance, but it’s also more expensive. If your video wall is somewhere people won’t be standing too close to it—say signage in a large airport terminal or a spacious lobby —you can save money with a larger pixel pitch. In a retail environment or when using an interactive display such as wayfinding on a college campus, a lower pixel pitch is worth the investment.
  3. Displays are becoming more interactive. In response to a growing number of applications in the workplace as well as educational settings, video walls are incorporating more and more interactivity. If your video wall will be used mainly for advertising or brand awareness, interactivity might not be an important feature to invest in. But for video walls with collaborative applications, such as in a conference room or classroom, or for displays designed to provide personalized information or tasks, such as a video wall application in a hotel lobby where guests can check in and out or search for information about local tourist attractions, interactivity is key.
  4. Custom mosaic walls are increasingly popular. Mosaic walls feature a collection of display tiles, usually in three different sizes, that can be arranged in whatever configuration you like. The application is ideal for a place such as a modern office building lobby or university student center where the video wall and its content are part of the décor and architecture. Mosaic walls are also a popular option in mission critical applications, such as in traffic or utility monitoring. Each display tile can show an individual image, so multiple data points can be tracked at once. Or, for a large incident or task, the same image can be displayed across the entire array.

4 Things To Consider Before A Video Wall Investment

Having the latest and greatest is fun and exciting, but also pointless if the right backend software and hardware are not in place. They might not be sexy but here are some practical operational considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Your content management system needs Internet access. IT staff are always on the move and your video wall content management system needs to move with them. Especially for video wall applications where content needs to be updated in real-time—a campus alert system, for example—content needs to be accessible anytime from anywhere. Some cloud subscription packages are even starting to include video wall content hosting.
  2. Your wall needs remote monitoring. There aren’t many—if any—organizations in a position to hire someone to stare at a video wall and sound the alert at the first sign of a glitch or malfunction. Especially for video walls far away from where your IT staff is—in a local store, for example, or across campus—remote monitoring that can help you identify and resolve issues quickly will help minimize downtime and maximize ROI.
  3. Your content needs to be secure. We’ve all seen the action movies where a hacker takes control of a command center video wall and fills the screen with ominous threats or pictures of clowns. Might seem a bit far-fetched but the importance of content security isn’t. Your content management system needs safeguards in place to make sure bad people can’t get in and sensitive information can’t get out.
  4. You need the ability to customize. No two video wall applications are the same and that means no two video walls should be either. From size to configuration, pixel pitch to placement, resolution to color saturation and level of interactivity, you need a solution that can be configured to your needs and not the other way around.

Next Steps

The first step in your path to a video wall investment should be to consider your application and what functionality is most important. Will it be indoor or outdoor? Will people be standing close or far away? In what configuration do I need the displays? Once you have the elements key to your success identified, a professional integrator can help you narrow down the available options to the one that’s best for you.

Which Costs More – A Video Wall or No Video Wall?

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Why do video walls cost so much?

The adage “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is just as true with places as it is people. Whether it’s a hotel, a student library, or a lobby, what we feel the moment we walk in often translates into an opinion—the hotel deal was too good to be true, I can’t see myself at this college, this company feels too corporate. And that opinion influences the decision that happens next—I’m booking a different hotel, I’m attending the other college, I’m selecting a different provider.

Creating an impression that is true to your brand and your mission takes more than a skilled interior designer—it takes technology. Video walls deliver more than an impression—they create an experience. The success of video walls at stopping retail shoppers in their tracks, creating a high-end feel in hotels, helping hospital patients and visitors find their way, engaging students in learning, and delivering relevant information to lobby visitors is the reason the adoption of this solution continues to increase at impressive rates. It’s likely why you’re researching video walls and reading this blog.

Are Video Walls Expensive?

It’s easy to get excited about video walls. The visuals are stunning. The “wow factor” is off the charts. And the interactivity—multi-touch!—is the stuff we dream about. But just like that moment when you realize the car interior is leather not cloth, concerns about price can dampen your enthusiasm.

For a proven technology investment like video walls, perhaps a better question is which costs more—a video wall or no video wall? You can guess where we’re going, but how we get there—now that’s worth the read. We’ll look first at what goes into a video wall and then how to assess the return on your investment.

 

The Formula for Video Walls

The use cases for video walls are practically endless. This means there are quite a few variables to define when designing and building a video wall if it is to equal the project vision. A layperson may think of a video wall as a group of displays mounted next to each other on the wall and be halfway out the door to Best Buy when you catch them. But the tech-savvy crowd understands that a lot more goes into it. Here are five variables that will influence the investment and the outcome.

If you’d like to dig a little deeper, please check out our Video Wall resource page where you’ll find a 10 Step Video Wall Buying Guide, videos, and more.   

  1. Size. The purpose and location of the video wall are important considerations. But don’t overlook other factors, including content type and how far viewers will be from the video wall.
  2. Functionality and Environment. Do users need to interact with the screens through touch or gesture? What are the lighting conditions? These questions and others found here help determine the display choice that meets your needs.
  3. Processing. Will you share a single image across all displays or will you share multiple images (also known as windowing)? Are performance and customization at the top of your list? Or are scalability and a lower total cost of ownership more important?
  4. Commercial Grade. Professional or commercial-grade displays are more expensive than consumer options, but they are an absolute must for video walls. Not only will commercial displays support the longer in-operation hours of video walls, but they offer temperature and color control, better display run time, and other valuable benefits.
  5. Installation. Video walls can be complex. It’s best to go with professional installers who can assess whether additional structural support is needed and pre-stage and test every component of the video wall before installing at your location.

Here’s a quick look at what goes into installing a video wall.

 

The Value of Video Walls

Traditional ROI Models (investment revenue – investment cost)/(investment costs) may not be the best way to evaluate the full results of your video wall project. It misses the intangible or soft benefits video walls deliver. How do you accurately attribute a financial gain to a positive experience? Or engagement? Or finding your way?

The value of soft benefits ultimately contributes to a financial return. Think about the examples we started with—the hotel, the college campus, the corporate lobby. Intangible experiences and feelings ultimately translated to hard-dollar decisions—to book elsewhere, to attend another college, to select a different provider.

When you consider all the positive business or institutional outcomes video walls influence, the question of which costs more—a video wall or no video wall, answers itself.

Next Steps

For more resources and information about video walls or to request a free consultation, visit our Video Walls page.

10 Step Video Wall Buying Guide

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There are some basic, fundamental questions that get asked time and time again about video walls. So the team at Level 3 Audiovisual has written this quick “10 step video wall buying guide”; in hopes it can help clear the air on some of your video wall questions.

Determine the needs.

Pinpoint what the video wall will be utilized for. Whether it is for advertisement at a retail location. A presentation in a classroom, education in a conference room or training room, or high resolution mapping in a command and control center. People utilize video walls in all sorts of ways. One thing to ask yourself in the beginning is, “Will this video wall be interactive?” If you plan on using your hands to touch the video wall, call up or expand content, or interface an Xbox Kinect to trigger on-screen actions, then yes, your video wall will need to be interactive. We created a “Digital Signage Cheat Sheet” that can instantly save you time and help you narrow your needs and generate ideas and uses!

How many images will be shown?

If you want the ability to stretch and resize a video window, have multiple video sources playing simultaneously on the video wall, switch from a single large picture to many smaller sized pictures then you will need a video wall processor that can set the window arrays into different variations and positions. Most control rooms use a multi window processor(s) because they have multiple sources (computer data, streaming video, CCTV, broadcast, surveillance, 3D) of visual information they need to view and monitor real time. Knowing what source you want to view and display will determine what type of processor or scale you will need and how to format it.

Content is king!

It’s important to know and connect with your audience. Understanding the demographics of your audience will help determine the type of content to use as well as how to display it. Will you be catering to a young Gen Z audience that craves fast motion and color? Or be more informational and subtle with cool and calming colors? Do you want your video wall be used for campus mapping or way-finding? Answering these questions will save you time and money in producing quality content that is fun, attractive and informational. If you need assistance with content just let us know and we’ll show you how to produce award wining content.

Go native.

Depending on the aspect ratio of your video wall, your content may need to be created specifically to be played in its native resolution. If your media needs to be manipulated to match the aspect ratio of your video wall that will call for a different piece of equipment that can upscale or downscale your media to fit your video wall. All equipment, programming and media management must be taken into consideration to maximize the quality of the image.

Choose commercial grade equipment.

There is a big difference between consumer grade displays and commercial grade displays. Commercial grade displays will be more expensive but there’s a good reason why. They are built to be run for longer hours in more hostile environments. Differences exist from mounting solutions, temperature and color control, RS-232 communication, display run time, run time to mean failure and warranty all play into determining which approach to take. Needless to say interactive video walls necessitate the use of commercial grade product as they incorporate hardened glass for multi-touch capability. If you’re looking for a professional installation we got you covered on this one, as we only work with the best commercial grade manufacturers in the AV industry.

Choose an appropriate mounting system.

If you want to save money down the line, choosing the right mounting solution is key. When it comes to maintaining, servicing and supporting your displays in the future you will want a display mount that offers easy access to failed parts. Structure is also an often times overlooked variable. When mounting large video walls, sometimes additional support structure is needed to handle the weight of the video wall. This calls for additional engineering but is a very important step. If your video wall installer hasn’t considered structural support in the wall, behind the mounts, it could lead to system failure or personal injury.

Keep it cool!

That’s right, Daddie-o. Keeping it cool means longer life out of your displays because heat is generated very quickly behind a video wall. Adequate ventilation using fans and often times enclosed casings (like in outdoor use) are solutions to keeping your video wall running 24/7 with little to no issues. Make sure your video wall financial plan includes a budget for cooling, it will not only extend the life of your system but also your investment.

Determine electrical requirements

Electrical requirements are a big factor when planning a video wall installation. It takes a lot of juice to run a video wall. Determining the proper power consumption and assigning the right power supplies are crucial for the long life of your video wall. A surge suppressor is beneficial to make sure any spikes in power don’t damage your video wall. They are great for preventing crashes, reboots and avoiding power related performance problems.

Have your video wall Installed by a professional

There is something to be said about quality and experience. And we have both. Our video wall services are unmatched in the industry with dedicated project managers and professional lead installers. Every video wall is pre-staged and tested in our Video Wall Lab in accordance with AV9000 standards. Our highly qualified staff is just itching to make your project a success. If you don’t choose us, hey no hard feelings. Just make sure whoever does your video wall integration is truly a professional with certifications and client testimonials that will give you a commercial grade display that is right for you.

Perform preventive maintenance

Preventative maintenance is paramount to keeping your video wall up and running for years down the line. This is often done on a pre-determined schedule and includes things like shading and temperature adjustment, color adjustment, checking for broken parts such as faulty fans, failed terminations, corrosion or other hardware or cabling issues. Think of preventative maintenance on your video wall the same way you would look at maintenance on your car. If you perform scheduled maintenance to keep it running and in good shape it will bring you exceptional experiences for years to come.

Are you ready to start your video wall journey and still have questions? Feel free to reach out to our friendly, tech savvy team and let us help you narrow down your decisions! 877-777-5328

Broadcast TV Video Walls

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We take a look at Samsung’s UDE-S series 55 inch Direct Lit LED Video Wall Display

Broadcast TV video walls can be seen on just about any channel nowadays. Whether it’s a red carpet event, a news station, sports or a gameshow. Video walls are becoming common place in broadcast television and interacting with them is now a common occurrence.

One of the many concerns with video walls, especially in regards to ones being shown on broadcast tv, is colour accuracy. When you start combining multiple LED panels in an array, colour shifting and variances become very apparent. Have you ever walked down the aisle at a retail store and noticed the colour variances on all of the televisions? It’s the same principal with LED video walls for broadcast tv.

Broadcast studies are risking losing colour consistency across those panels unless they have been properly calibrated. Samsung recently revealed it’s new UDE-S series, 55-inch direct-lit LED video wall display panels specifically made for broadcast tv and colour accuracy. The panels come with advanced factory tuning, innovative hardware and calibration tools for the user to make adjustments on the fly.

Samsung doesn’t just offer “Samsung Colour Expert”, a powerful free software program that ships with every video wall. It goes one step further by calibrating and tuning each panel before it ships to the broadcast studio. This ensures your video wall has a colour uniformity of more than 90% right out of the box.

The Samsung UDE series also operates at a low temperature range of 2,800-6,500 degrees kelvin. While typical, conventional digital signage panels offer a colour value temperature of 10,000 degrees kelvin. What this means to the broadcast studio is a flexible, low temperature operation that expands choices and enables adjustment of colour expression depending on each studio’s lighting situation. Providing an impeccable graphical representation that is true to life and color is Samsung’s ultimate goal when calibrating video walls for broadcast tv.

Quickly change the temperature of your video wall with the newly-developed home menu on the UDE-S series. Being able to quickly adjust and locate frequently used settings so transitions from content types are not noticed is imperative to broadcast studios. With pre-calibration already setup in the menu system, it’s a breeze to simply change the color temperature as well as change the colour space values of the (R/G/B) and fine-tune the white balance. Samsung put a lot of attention into the user-friendly interface for convenient updating and customization of picture settings for real-time content formats. This gives the video wall a better overall performance during broadcasts.

The Samsung UDE-S series video wall has superior performance and clarity with a high brightness of 700 nit creating an immersive, brilliant true-to-life experience. Boasting a stunning 3.5mm bezel-to-bezel screen design, it employs the narrowest bezel in the video wall industry. This seamless, ultra-thin bezel design keeps the viewers’ attention focused on the video wall content rather than the space between the displays. These video wall panels are designed for 24/7 operation, can support dynamic content with a consistent picture quality and keep accurate, colour presentation throughout. Making it ideal for round-the-clock, busy newsrooms and studios.

The Samsung UDE-S video wall offers a truly all-in-one video wall solution. Offering the ability for users to create, deploy and manage an array of content without the need for external PC’s or devices. The Samsung UDE-S comes with it’s own media player built-in. Boasting a powerful Quad Core CPU, embedded chipset and 3rd generation SSSP it can streamline your digital content operation and improve your total cost of ownership over time. This results in content managers being able to quickly share content with target audiences right out of the box. The software behind the content management is Samsung’s very own MagicInfo S3. It’s compatible with a wide range of video, text and images in a variety of file formats and sizes. Users in the MagicInfo S3 will enjoy it’s user-friendly layout as well as an extensive library of widgets, stickers, stamps and font styles to create truly unique and stunning content.

We think the best part about the Samsung UDE-E Series video walls are the super slim, easily configurable wall mounts. Sporting an industry leading 39mm depth, these mounts are super easy to install and calibrate so your video wall looks smooth and seamless. Since the wall mounts are sized to the dimensions of the video wall, users can install the mount first and then fit the video wall into it. This user-friendly design and engineering eliminates any need for measuring the wall mount and adjusting for gaps. With three-dimensional axis tuning, including x-axis (up and down); y-axis (left and right rail movement) and z-axis (the ability to push and pull outward), its very easy to not only align the panels, but to access them for immediate servicing. This easily adjustable mounting solution prevents gaps and keeps dimensional consistency. We think it’s an amazing solution for broadcast video walls.

Want more info on the Samsung UDE-S video wall? Read more on the Samsung site here.

Download the UDE-S Series 55” Direct-Lit LED Video Wall User Manual here

 

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