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Tech Roundup: Video Walls 2020

Innovation has transformed this product category, which seemed headed to commoditization not so long ago. Consider the rise of screen culture where screens are integrated into nearly every part of life, including communications on large and small scales, and in environments including retail, entertainment, work, and critical operations in healthcare, security and more. Here are some innovations that have responded to the market.

1. Barco UniSee LCD video wall was launched almost two years ago with a bezel-less and modular design; image quality is supported with a .3mm gap, as well as automatic real-time continuous calibration for color and brightness edge to edge. The thing that earned this product our 2018 Best of InfoComm award was the focus on real-world deployment such as installation time, mounting, and ease-of-service—tasks that our judges pointed out could be “solved by a person with an Allen key.” At launch, the UniSee came with Barco’s innovative gravity-driven mounting structure. In the two years since, other manufacturers have also collaborated on mounts including Draper, SMS, and Vogel’s curved mount. Also in the two years, we’ve seen UniSee installed in many high-brightness public spaces and broadcast studio applications.

2. Semtech (inventor of the BlueRiver chip) and Black Box, Black Box MCX was the source of buzz last week. Semtech’s BlueRiver tech for SDVoE is now integrated into the Black Box MCX distribution and management system, allowing AV and data payloads to coexist over 10 GbE IT networks, something that can reduce network management time and cost. It’s a benefit the MCX platform was already designed for, and the BlueRiver integration extends that mission, enabling uncompressed 4K60 AV over Ethernet. Black Box’s MCX S7 distributes AV signals to an unlimited number of remote displays, while supporting HDMI 2.0. The MCX S9 supports advanced scaling options for multiview, picture-in-picture (PIP), split screen, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.2 over IP for advanced mixed-use case applications.

3. Chief ConnexSys video wall mounting system solves common video wall challenges of speed, alignment, serviceability, and rigidity. The ConnexSys Video Wall Mounting System provides the ability to level each row once by using strut channel to connect multiple mounts together with a simple-to-install system that can handle the largest requirements. The LVS1U ConnexSys Video Wall system landscape mount ships with rails for each mount. It addresses the most common installation problems: speed, alignment, serviceability, and rigidity. Strut channel install aligns an entire row and removes the need for spacers. Six points of PowerZone tool-free adjustment are all found in one location. Depth can be set anywhere between 4 to 7.3 inches (102-186mm). RapidDraw Display Release gives access to any display. The mounts extend up to 13.7 inches (348 mm).

4. Christie UHD654-X-HR 65-inch LCD was debuted at InfoComm with Christie Terra that allows high-performance routing and scaling UHD sources at 3840 x 2160 native resolution. When combined with Christie Terra, Christie’s AV over IP solution, the UHD654-X-HR delivers a turnkey LCD video wall solution for 4K AV signal distribution, extension and control. Moreover, the UHD654-X-HR’s remote and redundant power supply extends the mission-critical capabilities to the video wall. The UHD654-X-HR claims many benefits for the integration and implementation of the product including fewer products integrators have to install, fewer seams, and ultra-thin ADA compliant depth.

5. Christie MicroTiles LED, the next generation of its popular MicroTiles video display product were unveiled. MicroTiles LED, which reimagines the product as a narrow pixel pitch LED with a quick mounting system. The low-profile mounting system can be created in any shape, allowing for 90-degree inside and outside corners and both concave and convex curves. Hot-swappable, front serviceable tiles give technicians complete access to all parts while indicator lights give technicians at-a-glance status confirmation. For added convenience, the remote power and control system allows components to be installed in convenient, accessible locations away from the video wall, removing heat, noise and complexity. Image-wise, the MicroTiles are in the P3 color space and fully compliant HDR-10 with 12-bit 4K/120Hz.

6. Datapath VSN1192, the next generation to the flagship VSN range came to InfoComm this year. The VSN1192 was positioned as the most powerful video wall processor available to the market with dual Intel Xeon E5 processors giving the VSN1192 a clock speed of 2.3GHz, 8 cores, and a 20MB cache. Memory options are the highest in the Datapath range – up to 128GB.

7. Hall Research CHD-SF SnugFit proves sometimes important innovations are not about the image, but about installation and reliability. Last month, Hall Research started shipping the CHD-SF SnugFit latching HDMI cables, which provide 18Gb/s bandwidth for 4K60 video and are designed for critical applications where a tight and reliable HDMI connection is required. Regular HDMI cables can become unplugged with as little as 2 lbs of force. The SnugFit cables use spring-loaded protrusions on the top and sides of the HDMI connector to increase the retention force. The top tabs are positioned in such a way to snap into slots in compatible mating connectors providing tactile and audible feedback of a proper connection. SnugFit cables are economically priced and are available in lengths from 1 to 25 feet.

8. Leyard and Planar, Planar VM55MX and Planar VM55LXM were the response to the trend towards ever-thinner bezels and high ambient light environments, expanding their VM line of all-in-one LCD video wall displays with two new 55-inch models: Planar VM55MX-M and Planar VM55LXM. These models set an industry standard for the smallest bezel with a 0.88mm tiled bezel width. Both models are native Full HD resolution and the Planar VM55MX-M offers 700-nit brightness to support high ambient light environments; the Planar VM55LX-M model delivers 500-nit brightness. The VM range also includes two new 49-inch models. The VM49MX-X offers 700-nit brightness and a tiled bezel width of 1.8 millimeters. The Planar VM49LX-U offers 500-nit brightness and a 3.5-millimeter tiled bezel width. Three additional 55-inch models will join the lineup offering 1.8mm options at 700 and 500 nits, and a 3.5mm option at 500 nits.

9. LG Business Solutions LG 55EW5F OLED digital signage display that had created a sensation at InfoComm started US shipping. The ultra-thin, see-through display is pitched in particular at retail and hospitality. The first models became available through reseller, integrator and rental provider ABCOM Digital Signage Solutions and its ABCOMRENTS rental division. The versatile 55-inch class display was designed to claim LG OLED’s premium picture quality while maintaining a high transparency at 38%, higher than can be achieved by LCD displays. It’s full HD at 400 nits; the screen has a 7.9mm bezel. Accepts HDMI, DisplayPort and USB inputs.

10. LynTec Remote Power Control (RPC) series of breaker panels offers easy setup and operation in self-contained panels for intuitive power control of video walls. The RPC combines all the features from LynTec panels with new web enabled control and monitoring capabilities. Based on the G3 Powerlink hardware platform by Square D, the RPC uses remotely operated breakers and can control up to 168 circuit breakers with a single controller. In addition, the RPC’s expanded interface options (DMX, sACN, HTTP, Telnet, RS-232 or BacNET (optional)) allow users to monitor and control the system from any remote location.

11. Matrox QuadHead2Go multi-monitor controllers, which debuted at InfoComm and received our 2019 Best of InfoComm award for providing a competitive, effective option for video walls up to four displays, began shipping as we went to press. It can drive four displays of any configuration at any dimension from one signal from any source, either as a system-independent appliance or in single-slot card forms. On-device buttons and pre-set configurations support easy installation. The included Matrox PowerWall software offers an intuitive way to configure the latest emerging, artistic, and innovative video walls. The controller supports Full HD displays from a single 4Kp60 video signal at RGB 8:8:8 and YUV 4:4:4. Each output can have its own resolution, be independently rotated (90, 180, and 270 degrees), cropped, upscaled, downscaled, and positioned anywhere, and controlled and updated from anywhere on the LAN. The controllers are compatible with professional-grade graphics cards with native DisplayPort 1.2 support—no adapter required.

12. Mitsubishi VS-25NP160 direct view LED is pitched for large-scale control rooms or areas where high ambient light is a challenge. A pixel pitch of 1.5mm ensures the crystal-clear display of fine detail. A patented anti-burn feature allows static graphics to be displayed for long periods of time without adversely affecting LED performance or lifespan. Overall, the display is rated for 100,000 hours of continuous operation. Dual-loop signal inputs and redundant power supplies ensure the display will continue to function in the unlikely event of an LED unit power failure.

13. NEC LED-FA015i2-137 Direct View LED Display is a 137” Full HD display, built with NEC’s 1.58mm LED-FA015i2 module—ideal for viewing from 3 to 8 feet away. The FA Series is engineered with multicolor LEDs that NEC designed to improved contrast, uniformity and viewing angles. The FA015i2 provides full HD (1920×1080) resolution with a refresh rate of greater than or equal to 2880Hz. It includes built in data and power redundancy ensuring the display remains operational in the event of a single controller of power supply failure. No external cables required for installation. It won an SVC Best of InfoComm award this year, with our judges praising features that are “critical for 24/7 operations.” Its shallow depth (3.2” installed) and reduced weight allow for greater installation flexibility and also meet ADA requirements. For those of you working on projects outside the US, as we go to press NEC has also launched the FE Series LED Bundles; thse are complete solutions for different-sized screens starting at 110’’, ranging from 1.2mm to 3.5mm pixel pitch up to ultra-HD (UHD).

14. Neoti UHD direct-view indoor LED video wall supplies options with a modular design that can be configured into standard of custom video wall shapes. The range of 600 nit options includes pixel pitches from .93mm to 4.6mm. All are 5000:1 contrast ratio with refresh rates +/- 2800 Hz in a range of power requirements between 40 and 60 W average and 120-185 maximum. All are 16-bit color. The company is coming up on 18 months of a distribution partnership with Starin, that was announced at InfoComm 2018.

15. Optoma FHDQ130 1080p QUAD LED Display is a new comprehensive large display solution with 130 inches (2.88 x 1.62 m) of visuals and 4K compatibility. It won our Best of Show 2019 award at InfoComm—in part impressing judges with the ease of installation. Setup for the QUAD LED display has a simplified three-step installation process, thanks to an all-in-one design that includes an image processor, centralized power cage, receiver cards and more. The all-in-one QUAD LED display also comes pre-calibrated out of the box, removing the need for additional software management or separate devices. Uniquely, the QUAD LED display is cable-free. The LED diodes are set in clusters of four with a 1.55mm pixel pitch, which allows for a smoother screen surface, 170-degree horizontal and vertical wide viewing angle. 4K image processing technology for image switching and scaling and is compatible with Optoma’s Control Q application for content management and display from mobile devices.

16. Peerless-AV SmartMount Flat Wall Mount for Direct View LED Displays features integrated cable management, easy-hang hardware, and a lightweight aluminum frame that supports various LED displays. All just as video wall deployments become more complex and aesthetic, innovation is needed in installation as well. Another installation innovation is Peerless-AV’s LED video wall integration program, Seamless by Peerless-AV, which supports integrators with expert engineering and design, custom project managers, full installation services, and dedicated LED mounting solutions. The program includes an online LED Video Wall Configurator that allows users to streamline the design of LED video walls, and request a quote for a mount. When users are unsure of the video wall size needed, they can input room dimensions and explore different scenarios until they find the solution that meets their needs. They can continue through to request pricing, and all quotes will be stored for future reference. The configurator will also provide useful information such as mount weight, video wall power consumption, and video wall display resolution.

17. Prysm LPD 6K Series is a unique interactive single panel, large-format display that offers a panoramic image without seams or bezels above 100 inches, with screen sizes available at 135 and 190 inches. Prysm compares its power consumption to a commercial coffee maker. It supports content in 6K x 2K resolution; .08mm vertical pixel pitch and 90 percent fill power. Compatible with Prysm’s visual collaboration platform which consolidates applications, content, video conferencing and web into a touch-interactive workspace. Targeted at experience/ briefing centers, premium conference rooms and large format digital signage. Cool to the touch, shatter-resistant, flexible and rollable for transport, which greatly increases ease of transport and installation.

18. RGB Spectrum Galileo video wall system supports a full range of input and output types (IP, analog, DVI/HDMI, 3G/ HD-SDI). The PC-based video wall processor can also deliver HDCP protected content. Optimized components enable the Galileo system to deliver real-time throughput and high image quality. The processor’s solid-state drive and dual-redundant power supplies add an extra level of reliability. This IP-enabled video wall processor supports H.264 IP decodes for motion video. In addition, RGB Spectrum’s exclusive VDA remote desktop technology with integrated KVM over IP capabilities provides operators with low-latency control over remote systems via a LAN or WAN. The video wall system is easy to set-up and control with a drag-and-drop GUI to allow users to send applications such as VMS, SCADA and videoconferencing, to the video wall. A convenient tablet interface is also available. In addition, an API allows operators to monitor remote alarms and create advanced scripts to recall layouts and control third-party equipment.

19. Rose Electronics UltraVista 4K60 controller supports an HDMI input resolution of up to 4K at 60Hz (YUV 4:4:4). Each of the four DVI/HDMI outputs has an independent controllable display area that can be resized, rotated, positioned, and scaled. Stereo audio output is provided. The unit learns EDID from the default resolution table, or from direct connection. Controller software is included and is connected with the USB or Ethernet ports. Units can be cascaded for larger video wall and control desk applications. The versatile front panel allows instant changing between standard or custom configurations. With UltraVista Plus a vertical 4×1, horizontal 1×4, or 2×2 video wall can be created, making it a powerful tool for constructing or supplementing video wall systems.

20. tvOne CORIOmaster (4RU), CORIOmaster mini (1RU) and CORIOmaster micro (1/2RU) video wall processors started shipping in February. The enhancements include a secure communication suite with full REST API and multi-user control. Other improvements include an HDMI 4-port output module, and audio support for the CORIOmaster and CORIOmaster mini for embedded audio, and a dedicated audio module. The system is compatible with all secure network infrastructure environments. The HDMI 4-port output upgrades the C3-540 CORIOmaster to up to 56 outputs. The embedded audio support and new audio module ensure the CORIOmaster can smoothly combine video and audio in an installation. The IP streaming module now accepts both H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) for higher quality, increased bandwidth performance and includes an ultra-low latency mode. These all-in-one system solutions can manage up to four canvases for supporting multiple video walls, while also performing various other video tasks simultaneously, including: audio, real-time 360 video rotations, multi-image processing and rotation and edge blending.

21. Vanco EVO-IP is part of the company’s Evolution line. This HDMI Over IP system transmits 4K@60Hz, 4:4:4, HDR, HDCP 2.2 video, audio, and IR/RS2323 control as point-to-point, or as a splitter, switch, matrix and/or video wall solution. (It can also up/ downscale between 720p and 4K). EVO-IP is designed to provide the ability to manage, transmit, and receive audio/video signals and control hundreds of devices over a local network, via transmitter, receiver and control box. Vanco recently added features with commercial installs in mind, to support drag0and-drop and auto device discovery for up to 1064 sources. The control box maintains and directs system mapping and logs events, for preset and configuration recall; it supports onscreen display or text on the outputs. A source preview shows what is playing on a  source before switching. With cloud access support and remote access, and perhaps most uniquely has voice control compatibility via Amazon Alexa.

22. ViewSonic CDX5562 is a 55-inch commercial display with a super-narrow bezel optimized for multi-panel video walls—the edge-to-edge width of only 1.8mm between combined displays. DisplayPort or DVI connectors support daisy-chain installations for up to 10×10 tiling options. It’s Full HD 1080p, at 700- nits with dual 10W stereo speakers. ViewSonic claims wide viewing angles of 178-degrees horizontal/ vertical. Significantly, only one of the tiled displays need be connected to an image/content source; HDMI CEC offers local control to a DVD player, sound system or any other HDMI-connected device. (Connectivity options also include VGA, Composite, Component, RS232, RJ45). A built-in vController supports installation, remote management and scheduling; Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification supports cable-free integration.

23. VuWall and LG, VuWall’s VuScape video wall processor and LG’s 55SVH7F are combines for a new integrated control room solution. VuScape is a series of modular video wall processors and controllers designed for small and large-scale video walls. They can be combined with the VuWall Touch Panel, a PoE tablet with an intuitive interface designer, and as a video wall management and operation solution. The LG 55SVH7F video wall display features a 0.44mm bezel or 0.88mm when measured from bezel to bezel. LG’s Smart Calibration feature does not require an external device or human intervention. The integration allows customers to control LG displays remotely using the VuWall scripting tool with VuScape controllers.

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