In 2020 the global video wall market was valued at $17.03 billion and is expected to grow to $37.26 billion by 2025. This continued growth means there will only be more options and features to choose from when buying a video wall.
It can be overwhelming to jump into the world of video walls without knowing what to look out for. That’s why we’ve put together a guide that will help you to find the right solution for your needs.
Keep reading to learn about features, price and the big question, LED or LCD?
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What are video walls?
A video wall is a collection of monitors that have been tiled together to form one large display. This can then be used to present content such as videos, images or even different types of data.
The number of monitors brought together can vary depending on your needs. For example, you may only need a 2×2 presentation or you may want to cover an entire wall of your workplace with a vast digital display.
Video walls offer flexibility in how your content is displayed, this can be as one large image spread over the entire wall or individual sources shown on different screens. A wide variety of industries find a use for video walls as they are the ideal tool to convey information to a large number of people, whether that be customers or employees.
On the shop floor, a video wall could display a video of your new product covering the entire display, while in a control room different types of data could be shown on each screen for your employees. With their size and impressive displays, your information can be communicated quickly and clearly. Regardless of the location, video walls are an effective tool for showcasing your desired message and will have a memorable impact on your audience.
What are the benefits of video walls?
How can video walls help promote your brand? This technology can be used in a variety of environments, from impressing your visitors in the reception of your building, to large eye-catching displays around your workspace. In a retail setting, a video wall could show your latest products to be announced. Food vendors in shopping centres or arenas use video walls to list menu items and can highlight featured products right up until the moment of purchase.
Outdoor video walls, in particular, are expected to acquire the highest portion of the market increase over the next few years. Sectors such as logistics and entertainment are already demanding more, while other businesses are looking for more unique advertisement methods like video walls. Businesses from all industries are jumping on this trend now.
But video walls are not just for promotion and advertisement purposes. Many businesses use these multi-screen displays in control or simulation rooms. The size of the display allows for large amounts of data or information to be shown to a room full of employees. As new information becomes available the entire workforce can react as a unit. The increased collaboration this creates helps you to meet your targets and hit deadlines.
Another benefit of video walls is that they require very little maintenance and are designed for long-term usage. Compared to an alternative, such as a projector, a video wall will last much longer and see less degradation in brightness and picture quality over time.
The life expectancy of a video will vary depending on how long it is used, if features like brightness are turned up to maximum and if the display is an LED or LCD. The average lifespan of an LED video wall is 100,000 hours while an LCD is expected to last around 50,000 hours.
What to look for
Before you think about features, you’ll need to have chosen where your video wall will be placed. This will determine what you need from your display in terms of functionality. Brightness, contrast, bezel size and the type of mount are all important parts of a video wall you should be aware of.
You should match the features to your requirements, for example, if you are planning on showing one large video over your entire wall you’ll need to focus on finding a display with small bezels so your display isn’t interrupted. Or, if you plan on changing the connected source frequently, you’ll want to prioritise a mount that gives you easy access to the back of the display for connection and maintenance purposes.
Brightness is an important feature to focus on and the location of the display will have a significant bearing on what you need. In an indoor environment, you will not need as high brightness capabilities as you would outside. This is because brightness is used to counteract the effects of natural light shining on your video wall.
In outdoor locations or indoor areas facing the sunlight, glare and reflections can make it difficult to see what is being shown on your display. A video wall that is capable of high brightness levels will be able to negate these effects and continue to clearly show your content.
500 nits is an adequate level for your video wall to be working at in an indoor environment with standard ambient light. Outdoor displays are recommended to have up to 5,000 nits and even higher if they are in direct sunlight.
Another location-based consideration for brightness is if staff will be close by and have to look at it for their entire shift. For example, in a reception area if the video wall was placed opposite the front desk. A high brightness level in this situation could not only distract employees stationed there but also cause issues such as headaches.
Contrast is another key feature when choosing a video wall solution. Contrast is the range between the brightest part of the display and the darkest, this is measured as a ratio. The higher the contrast ratio the more detail and better quality image the screen can produce. A higher contrast also enables easier and faster recognition of the information being displayed to your audience.
Some LEDs can dim sections of their screens to make darker areas even darker, which helps to increase the display’s contrast ratio. If contrast is an important feature for your video wall needs, then you should look for options that include this local dimming feature.
The bezel refers to the frame that goes around the edge of a single screen. When a video wall is built the bezels of connecting screens meet. You will see this as a black line that breaks up your display.
Thicker bezels will affect the overall appearance of your display as there will be a clear split between each screen. Any content that is displayed will then not be shown clearly and will appear fragmented and choppy as the bezels cut off the edge of the image.
As the technology has developed, video wall providers have been able to reduce the size and impact of the bezel on their displays. Some have been able to produce a display that appears seamless, like our seamless LCD video wall. The advantage of a video wall with thin bezels is that the content displayed will appear as if it is on one cohesive display. The clearer your content, the greater the impact it will have on communicating your message to your audience.
Another issue to consider regarding the bezel, is that a thinner bezel will mean that you can fit a larger overall video wall into a smaller space. For example, a 40″ screen from today with a thin bezel could fit in the same vertical space as a 32″ screen from a decade ago. A thin bezel means that the screen can stretch almost from edge to edge without being stopped by the bezel, meaning the overall size of the display can be smaller. If you are looking to replace an old video wall with a new one, you should consider how thinner bezels will reduce the overall space you require.
Another, often forgotten, specification is the mount. This is what your video wall will be attached to so that it can be held in place. Various types of mounts are available, such as a standard wall mount, a free-standing floor mount and pop-out mounts. It is important to pick a mount that will allow for easy access when performing any maintenance. A pop-out structure will give the easiest access as screens can be removed and maintained from the front.
What are the types of video walls?
The biggest question when it comes to deciding on the right solution for you is always which type to go for. You’ll need to choose between LED or LCD screens.
Both use Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology and a series of lamps placed at the back of the screen to produce the images we see. The difference comes in the backlighting the two types use. LCDs use fluorescent backlights, while LEDs use light-emitting diodes.
The LCD backlighting method will create a display that is evenly lit at all times. LEDs have a couple of options when it comes to backlighting. Edge lighting produces a display similar to that of an LCD but has LEDs placed along the edge of the screen. A thinner and cheaper display can be made this way. The other LED way of backlighting is full array lighting. LEDs are evenly distributed along the screen just like an LCD. However, they are split into zones which lets the display dim certain sections of the screen at a time. This feature is called local dimming and significantly improves the contrast and overall picture quality.
Brightness and contrast
In terms of overall brightness LED screens are typically able to offer a higher level. The same is true of contrast where LEDs are capable of a 5000:1 contrast ratio while LCDs average around 1500:1.
The size you want your video wall to be will be a factor in determining which screen type best suits your needs. LED walls can be as big as you need them to be and can even be mounted along a curve. While LCD solutions are not typically made to the sizes which an LED wall can go up to.
For a more detailed look at the differences and benefits of LED and LCD video walls click here.
|LED Video Wall||LCD Video Wall|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Lighting Type||Full array- even distribution of LEDs across the screen. This allows for local dimming that improves image quality by creating more contrast.|
Edge Lighting- LEDs are placed along the edge of the screen. The screen can be made much thinner but does not have the local dimming feature.
|Series of lamps at the back of the screen. These are spread evenly giving a consistent display.|
LCDs are unable to do local dimming due to the display producing consistent lighting.
|Size||Can be as big as needed.||Typically aren’t made as large as LED walls.|
|Brightness||High levels of brightness.|
Suitable for outdoor as well as indoor.
|Not as high levels of brightness.|
Suited more for indoors.
Local dimming can give parts of the screen a truer black to increase the contrast ratio.
Even light distribution limits the contrast.
How do video walls work?
To get the most out of your video wall you’ll need a control device, but what is a video wall controller? This will connect to your screens and tell each one what to display. If you are showing a large image or video that covers all of the screens, the controller will split the image up into the correct sizes to then display across the wall.
Choosing a controller
When looking for a control device it’s important to make sure it has the connection ports that you will need. For example, HDMI is a common connection to screens and processors. As well, some have benefits such as rotation capabilities, edge masking and a higher refresh rate for a smoother moving image. It is also worth future-proofing here by getting a device capable of handling more screens should you expand your wall. It is suggested to plan to have enough outputs to handle one additional row or column.
Set up process
To set up your video wall you’ll need to connect each screen to the control device. This means the processor you choose will need to have enough ports to accommodate the number of screens you have. The other option you have is to create a daisy chain. A daisy chain lets you connect the control device to just one screen, then use the output port from that screen to connect to the next and so on. This chain lets you connect as many screens as you like without worrying about how many ports your control device has.
Once you have your screens connected, you’ll need some content to display. The source for this content is connected to the control device which then fits the display across the screens. In a control room, this may be security camera footage being displayed or on an outdoor video wall, it could be advertisements spreading your brand image.
How much do video walls cost?
The cost mostly depends on what your needs are. A bigger video wall will be more expensive. Your provider will give you a quote for the size of the wall you need, but it can range from a few thousand for a small 2×2 wall to hundreds of thousands for large-scale projects. You’ll also need to add on the price of the mount that you select.
Edge lighting LED displays provide a cheaper alternative to full-array models and are comparable to standard LCD screens. An LED solution that has full-array lighting will be the more expensive choice but for that price, you will get the best picture quality and the most flexibility when it comes to the shape and size of your video wall.
You also need to take into consideration the price of your control device. You’ll need one of these to control the content on the screens via the input and output ports.
On top of these, you may be looking for a digital signage solution to create and schedule what appears on your display. There is a wide range of digital signage options including some very popular and professional looking free software. Many of these offer paid versions and subscriptions that provide you with extra cloud storage or additional screen support.
However, in most cases, the free option will give you enough to create and organise your content without having to pay a penny.
The final considerations
Video walls offer you the chance to catch the eye of anyone around the impressive display. Versatility is a key feature of this technology. Being highly customisable in the shape and size that fits your need means they can be useful to a variety of industries. Fast food restaurants use video walls to display their menu and promote featured items. Other businesses use them in control and simulation rooms to view security footage, while some have a striking display in their reception.
Finding the right video wall solution for you depends on what your needs are. These displays are a significant investment so it is important to choose the option that can achieve what you want. Is picture quality the most important factor? Will the display be outside, in this case, you’ll need a higher brightness? How many screens will your video wall have, does your control device have enough ports? These considerations, and everything mentioned above, will help to guide you to a solution that can fulfil your needs from a video wall.
If you still have questions about what video walls can offer or you are looking to buy one, then get in touch today.