If you are connected to the digital signage industry in one fashion or another you are already aware that video wall technology has been a massively growing product sector over the last two years. You can hardly walk through any airport or high end retail establishment without seeing at least one of these multi-screen beauties, ranging in configuration sizes from as small as two screens up to one hundred screens or more. Still, the possible applications and locations for these types of multi-display systems continue to grow.
The major display manufacturers are fully supporting this trend as they continue to introduce newer and better products in this category. Amazingly, just a few short years ago, professional displays that offered a combined bezel width (when screens are placed adjacent to each other) of less than 1” were considered state of the art, and today that would not even be considered a thin bezel display by most. The latest LED/LCD displays are offering combined bezel widths as narrow as 5.5mm, creating a near seamless look when creating multi-monitor displays.
While it is not new technology, it is still worth mentioning that these ultra-thin bezel displays, and many more traditional professional displays offer a built-in video wall or tile matrix software that allows you to take a single video source and expand that image over the entire multi-display wall. In order to accomplish this, the video signal needs to be supplied to all the screens in the wall. This is done by using a video distribution amplifier, or by daisy-chaining the output of one display into the next if the specific display supports that connection. Once the screens are connected, settings within the displays allow you to select the configuration (i.e. 2×2, 3×3, 5×5, etc.) and then assign an ID to the panel so it knows which part of the
image to display.
Now, considering this trend and rapid growth, new ways to both exhibit and utilize this type of technology have surfaced, primarily in mobile or portable applications. The largest demand for this initially seems to be driven by the rental/live event market and trade show booths that require a way to display video wall technology where a solid mounting surface may not be available or the video wall display might only be set up for temporary use. Mobile carts and stands for flat panel displays are not new, however up until recently none of these products have been designed for this purpose.
At first glance, most would assume this would be a simple solution; however a lot of engineering time has been invested by mount manufacturers such as Chief, Premier Mounts, and Peerless-AV. Careful design needs to be considered to make sure these products are strong enough to support the additional weight associated with video walls, yet still maintain mobility and ease of set-up in order to ensure a good user experience. Additionally, the positioning of the displays within a video wall needs to be very precise so that the screens line up perfectly edge to edge vertically and horizontally, as well as staying in a level plane with each other so you don’t end up with a curved or bowed video wall. For that reason, mechanisms need to be incorporated into a video wall mobile cart that will allow for micro-adjustments after the displays are mounted to the cart.
Thankfully, the manufacturers have done their homework and have brought to market the first wave of mobile video wall mounting solutions. Having personally worked with a few different manufacturers’ products in this category I am pleased with what is being offered. As a distributor of professional audio video equipment we often are displaying the technology that we sell at various trade shows and exhibits across the country, both large and small, so to have the ability to now show video wall technology in this setting without necessarily having a structure to mount to is huge for us. Also, think about staging events where a video wall system or multiple systems would enhance the experience for attendees, where previously this could not be accomplished due to the lack of a mounting surface. Another application that comes to mind is mobile DJs & entertainers, again where the experience can be enhanced with the use of video wall technology.
Currently, video wall carts are available in different configurations ranging from 2×1 up to 3×3 and will support displays ranging in size from 46” to 60” depending upon the model of cart. Most have integrated locking casters, although some are designed as a stand with no wheels, or to be bolted to a floor. Integrated cable management and fine-tune adjustment capability provide for a neat and seamless video wall display.
Like anything else I am certain that these mobile video wall products will continue to evolve and provide additional features to improve ease of use and mobility, while at the same time the displays will continue to evolve as well. Video wall technology is an exciting one to say the least and I look forward to see what lies ahead.