Video Wall

Video walls have become an integral part of sporting events, concerts or public screening. Among other things, they are used for live broadcasting. In this article, you will learn valuable details about video walls and see what is important when using with the help of example videos.

Furthermore, you find out which hardware partners sells devices, what you should look out for and how our software helps.

Video Wall in TV studio

What is a Video Wall?

Video walls are large display surfaces, either made of LED panels or merged digital screens. The latter can display video content uniformly and synchronously across the entire screen area. Modularly assembled into a single screen, the monitors, or LED panels perform numerous tasks.

There are a variety of manufacturers who use a digital signage video wall made of LEDs or displays, to help users realize their tasks.

Thanks to high-contrast, colorful and dynamic content, a video wall creates a fascination that captivates viewers. Display walls not only transmit live images, but also offer an excellent platform for displaying different content.

This includes broadcasting livestreams, news, animations, advertising, and other relevant information. To achieve the best results from the transmission and content display, a professional content management system (CMS) is required for controlling the content.

Which Video Wall Types are available?

Basically, there are two ways to build a video wall. It can consist of several interconnected screens or individual LED panels assembled into a single unit. LED panels are usually utilized for outdoor applications. For indoor use, especially for higher resolutions, interconnected screens are typically used.

Science and technology are rapidly evolving, and so are video walls. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. The choice of display wall always depends on the purpose and installation location. Depending on the display wall variant and display type, the operating software and control hardware also differ.

LED-Matrix

LED-Matrix
LED-Matrix

LED video walls made by individual LED panels. This type of construction uses colored LEDs. Finally, depending on the requirements, an LED Wall is assembled from numerous LEDs to form a canvas or video cube of any size. Video cubes are cube-shaped LED displays on which, for example, the score and other important information is shown in the stadium.

LEDs are extremely flexible and format. They also have better brightness values. Furthermore, they are predestined for outdoor use due to their weather resistance. Since the viewer tends to stand further away with outdoor video walls, the distance between the screen pixels, the so-called pixel pitch, can be larger (approx. 10 mm).

As a rule of thumb: 1 mm pixel pitch per meter viewing distance. By the way, LED panels connect according to the Daisy Chain method explained below.

The dimensions can range from huge to enormous. A superlative example is currently the world's largest circular LED video wall in the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles with a resolution of 4K and a display area of 6500 m².

Los Angeles Stadium Video Wall
SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles by Wikimedia

Thanks to its enormous luminosity, excellent color reproduction, weather resistance and a large viewing angle, an LED video wall is ideally suited for outdoor applications. They are usually driven by a controller unit equipped with ports for connection to the graphics card of a notebook or PC.

Multi Screen

Linking monitors – is another way of building video walls. The construction principle is that several monitors with a narrow edge are connected to form a large display area. A special controller or a multi-monitor graphics card is used for control.

The user decides for himself what fits, depending on the application. Whether a controller for flexible operation or rather the graphics card for PC indoor installation. External monitors are connected to the PC via ports on the graphics card or controller and require special drivers for trouble-free control.

Multi-Screens
Multi-Screens

Screens are more commonly used for higher resolutions indoors. The pixel pitch here is sometimes less than 2 mm. Of course, such devices also exist for outdoor use. However, these are considerably much more expensive.

The integrated software for different screen types and display systems differs in functionality and licensing. As a rule, the on-board tools for almost every digital signage video wall include a menu, a media player, a design studio for creating and managing content, and a controller for synchronized transmission to individual screens or video LED panels.

Demo: Overlapping Multizones in Video Wall

Overlapping multi-zone content of a video wall with five displays. Engineered at ISARIA Corporate Design AG.

There are four ways to link several digital screens together to form a video wall:
  1. Daisy Chain
  2. HDMI Splitter
  3. PC Graphics Card
  4. Display Wall Software

Daisy Chain

A so-called daisy chain describes the connection of several monitors via a bus system or Ethernet. The signal comes into the first monitor, from this into the next, and so on. The monitors then each show a section of the content.

Indoor Video Wall
Indoor Video Wall from
digitalsignage.de
Advantages
  • No external splitters or expensive graphics cards required
  • Simple wiring
Disadvantages
  • The screens need internal logic, and that is usually only available for 49 inches (1.24 m) devices and up.
  • Features limited by integrated software

HDMI Splitter

Any monitors can be connected to a distributor. Theoretically, also cheap consumer or TV sets. Simple HDMI splitter for eight monitors are available from about 50,- EUR.

Disadvantages
  • Complex wiring
  • Single Point of Failure
  • Features depending on hardware

PC Graphics Card

Up to four monitors can be connected to a PC with a standard graphics card. Cheaper TVs can also be used here. However, we do not recommend using consumer devices, since normal TVs are not designed for long-term use.

The control and use of all monitors like a single giant screen works thanks to a multi-zone software. Users customize content as they wish thanks to the software. High switching frequencies and transmission speeds enable lightning-fast switching between individual video wall elements.

Multiple zones also show different content on the individual displays. The user creates a multiscreen video, changes the layout and adds content to a playlist. Thanks to the intuitive functionality of the multiscreen software, planning and playing content is child's play. Only the user's imagination is the limiting factor in countless design possibilities.

Disadvantages

Special graphics cards are much more expensive. Especially, for more than 4 devices. A Matrox M9188 supports eight DisplayPort monitors. However, it costs around 3000 EUR.

Display Wall Software

The most flexible and interesting variant is a specific video wall software built into the digital signage player. Each screen has its own media player. One device acts as the master and synchronizes the content of the others. This also works wirelessly via Wi-Fi and usually comes at lower cost than a dedicated graphics card.

Advantages
  • Lower costs
  • Unusual display walls possible
  • Different monitor formats and positioning
  • Most flexible control
  • Interactions possible
  • Not even cabling needed with Wi-Fi
Disadvantages
  • Increased software complexity
  • Each screen needs a media player
  • Low latencies possible during synchronization

Demo: Touch enabled Mini Video Wall

Mini Video Wall developed by our partner ISARIA Corporate Design AG, with the Display Kit from I&W

This demo shows nine touch-enabled mini monitors with different content. These are overlapped by other content using touch. Such usage concepts can only be realized with special video wall software on the media player and an overlapping multi-zone concept.

The software enables optimal management, control, and display of any video content at any time. Thanks to easily integrated software, modern video walls systems can be scaled as desired or provided with topic-specific information.

Where are the operating areas of a Video Wall?

Video walls are used in education, business, and entertainment. Unlike a projection screen, display walls are high resolution, clear and expressive. The individual monitors can receive and display a signal from multiple sources simultaneously. Display walls are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Especially indoor spaces with many people benefit from LED Video Walls. Mostly, they can be found in the following indoor areas:

  • Shipping and logistics centers
  • Control and crisis centers
  • Shopping malls
  • Television and radio companies
  • Conference and meeting rooms
  • Lecture halls and rooms of educational institutions
  • Concert Halls

Outdoor Advertising

More often, we also see them on the street and at major events in the sports and entertainment sector. In addition, manufacturers also offer display wall systems for outdoor advertising. Thanks to modern LED technology, video walls manage to attract the attention of passers-by. As a rule, they are highly visible installations on building roofs and on house facades as wall constructions. However, freestanding constructions are also widespread.

Outdoor Advertising IAdea Germany
Outdoor Video Wall from digitalsignage.de

Control Centers

Facilities also use display walls for constant control, monitoring and operational analysis of large amounts of data such as graphics, text, and video information. These include control centers of industrial companies, situation centers of crisis teams, airports, financial exchanges and conference rooms of companies and government organizations. A video walls make it easier to processed and visualize huge amounts of information.

Large Screens as Trade Show

To get in touch with potential customers, exhibitors at trade shows like to use large, bright LED video walls. On large screens, visitors are presented with the latest products and information about opening times or upcoming trade fair events.

Large format Advertising Screens

Increased customer demands for high-quality product advertising forces advertisers in the retail sector to break new ground. This is why the popularity of large-format LED walls and modern video signage equipment is on the rise. In addition to advertising videos and information about the shopping experience, the content on advertising monitors is increasingly enriched with interactive content. This ensures increased customer interest and has a positive effect on sales success.

Software from SmilControl

As a software specialist, we do not sell hardware ourselves. You can choose to build your own Video Wall or to purchase pre-assembled devices from our hardware partners. Of course, we are also available to provide you with advice and support. Contact us for a free consultation.

Little Hardware Guide

In the past, outdoor applications of LED video panels have special cases. The case protected the device from external influences and created the necessary environmental conditions for the video panels.

Today, weather-resistant panels exist, called allweather Video Walls. They work in all conditions. Such devices work reliably, even in the roughest weather conditions. Nevertheless, we always advise checking the all-weather suitability of your device with the manufacturer before using it outdoors.

Display Wall systems for indoor use, of course, do not require such high weather resistance. However, the displays should have certification for continuous operation and continuous brightness. Furthermore, the frame should be as thin as possible (seamless).

Demo: Touch controlling the content of a Video Wall

Demonstration interactive control over the content of a video wall by using an additional monitor. Assembled at ISARIA Corporate Design AG.

Software

Software from SmilControl based on open SMIL standard (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language).

What does this mean for you? As a result, you benefit from greater independence and are not caught in a vendor lock-in. The SMIL standard is gaining more and more acceptance. More and more providers of digital signage systems support this standard. With our CMS software, you have a wide range of compatible DS devices at your disposal.

With SmilControl software, you remain flexible, as you can replace DS devices with other compatible technology at any time or easily expand existing ones.

Our SMIL player and CMS support all the features a modern digital signage platform needs:

  • Content-Management: Media content, playlist, and template management
  • Device-Management: Monitoring, update and remote maintenance of your digital signage hardware
  • Dynamic content: Integration of dynamic content such as RSS and news feeds
  • Multizones: Divide your screens or video display into zones that play different content. Overlapping zones also enable impressive effects.
  • Digital Signage Widgets: Development and integration of complex interactive applications
  • Reporting: Extensive functions for KPI measuring

Benefit from maximum compatibility with SMIL-enabled devices and excellent ease of use.

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Nikolaos Sagiadinos