Introducing video walls for schools and higher education

Introducing video walls for schools and higher education
VIDEO WALLS
Video walls
and content
Introducing video walls for
schools and higher education
A video wall is simply a bank of screens onto which you display content,
either on single screens or expand the content across the whole wall. Video
walls can be 2x2 (4 screen panels) up to a 10x10 video wall.
Spectacular video walls work better
when the image is large and clear
and not obstructed by big bezels
(the outer edge of the screen).
Screens with almost seamless bezels
are available, but these are more
expensive. Screens designed for
public display are ideal as these are
built to last, have better connections
and better warranties than screens
designed for consumer use (like your
TV at home).
For simplicity, let’s start our examples
by looking at displaying content on two
screens. Some computers have two
outputs (VGA) so you can show the same
content on two screens. On Windows
XP, in the control panel - displays, you
can select a second monitor or screen
and do one of two things. You can
extend the desktop so that the image
is spread across both your computer
screen and the second screen, or you
can duplicate the image you see on your
computer screen, so that it appears on
the second screen.
Obviously, this only allows you to show
the same content on both screens. When
you want to display content on four
screens you need a 4-port graphics card,
or two 2-port graphics cards or you can
use a splitter box, which splits the signal.
CYP Complete 2x2 Video Wall System
A 2x2 video wall,comprising 4 screens, in
a reception area is an ideal starting point
for education.
I’m considering a 2x2 video wall in my
reception area to display PowerPoint
or images. What do I need?
Manufacturers such as CYP, LG,
Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung,
Sharp and Sony have large format display
screens suitable for video walls. These
range from 2x2 video wall up to a 10x10
video wall.
As an example, let’s assume you want a
2x2 video wall in your reception area, to
display a PowerPoint presentation.
Depending on make and model, the
size of the bezels vary. Some screens
have option slots to slide in a built-in
PC. Some allow you to daisy chain the
screens together so you can easily add
more screens to your video wall at a
future date. Screens range from WXGA
to 1920x1080 Full HD (high definition)
resolution.
Some screen manufacturers offer a
complete video wall solution which
includes all you need in the way of
screens, wall mounts and splitters.
CYP’s complete 2x2 video wall system,
for example, has four 42-inch diagonal
LED screens, four wall mounts, one
HDMI 4-way splitter box and one IR
(infrared) remote control.
Examples of video walls - left to right: Sharp thin bezel screens, Mitsubishi LCD large format displays, NEC X463UN thin bezel large format displays
14_Wedgwood AV Ltd - 01754 769967
VIDEO WALLS
CYP Complete 2x2 Video Wall System
42” 4 x screens, 4 x wall mounts
1 x CHDMI-4, 1 x IR Remote
CHDMI-4 4-way splitter box
1 in and 4 out - front and back views
Your PC connects from the HDMI output
into the 4-way splitter box and then out
from each of the splitter box’s 4 HDMI
ports into the HDMI port in each of the
four screens.
You can then display your PowerPoint
presentation or image on each of the four
single screens or expand it across all four
screens.
As these screens are daisy chained, when
other screens are added to the wall, they
‘talk’ to each other and send images
to where they are supposed to go.
Obviously, if you added other screens, for
example, making it a 3x3 video wall, then
you’d need a 10-way splitter box.
So what happens when I want to
show different content on my video
wall?
To show different content you need
separate outputs. You could use a
graphics card, for example, 2 VGA
and 1 HDMI card would let you show
content on three screens. Some
graphics cards have a break-out cable
to input into eight screens.
A matrix switcher lets you show
different content on screens. One with
4 inputs and 4 outputs, for example,
lets you input 4 different devices, a
computer, Sky box, digital signage
player, etc., and then each outputs to
a separate screen, to display its own
content.
CYP OR-YUV443
Matrix switcher
What the matrix does is switch any four
inputs into any four outputs. The advantage
is you can switch contents from screen to
screen, for example, have a Sky box on one
input to show Sky TV on one screen, input
a signage player or computer into the other
three screens to show different content on all
screens. Screens can also go in a horizontal
line, they do not need to be in two banks of
two.
www.teachingtechnology.co.uk_15
VIDEO WALLS
pages. Manager allows you to decide
where and when your presentation you
have designed is shown. PADS Viewer
ensures that your scheduled content is
played at the right moment on the display
screen.
PADS Professional has options to choose
the software and/or media player(s) for
any number of screens.
Luminis AiO hardware / software
digital signage solution
Digital signage software can also be
displayed from the computer or signage
player through a projector onto a
large projection screen. It can also be
displayed onto desktop screens, for
example, in a reception area to display
information for students and visitors
about current or forthcoming events.
I’d like to have digital signage on
my video wall, what else do I need
and can you give me ideas of what’s
available?
You will need digital signage software
and either a signage player (also called a
media player) or a spare PC in order to
play the presentation onto the screens.
Clever Little Box Luminis AiO (all-in-one)
digital signage system is a media player
(also called a signage player), preloaded
with their digital signage software. It is
plug-in and play and can be used standalone or on a network and controlled
locally or via a web browser. Landscape
or portrait display options.
Luminis AiO, has only one output so
you can only send the content to one
screen. The splitter box will allow this
content to be displayed on each of the
four screens (using our 2x2 video wall
example), or you can display it across all
four screens. You can change content
and schedule content to play at different
times of the day, and using the splitter
box you can display this content on one
or more screens. However, if you want
to be able to show different signage
presentations on all four screens, you will
need four Luminis signage players with
preloaded software, each showing its
own presentation, and a matrix switcher.
Repeat Signage is truly flexible digital
signage software for Windows. It allows
pixel-by-pixel control of displays including
plasma screens, LCD monitors and
projectors. Now with touch screen
support.
Repeat Signage is digital download only.
The Standard Edition is designed to
be used over local area network (LAN)
and can display scheduled content
onto one or two screens. You can play
your presentation on a spare computer
or media player (mini PC). With the
Standard Edition you can use it with two
screens for a single licence.
Repeat Signage lets you display a variety
of media including pictures, animated
gifs, video, RSS feeds, Flash clocks,
PowerPoint, webcam, web browser, etc.
Repeat Signage Professional is designed
to be used over a wide area network
(WAN), updating any new content onto
screens wherever they may be located.
A+K PADS Professional digital signage
software lets you design, schedule
and distribute content across multiple
locations and/or networked environments.
PADS Professional is a bundle of
applications for Windows: Designer
allows you to compose presentations
with any possible content including
PowerPoint, YouTube videos,
Macromedia Flash content, live TV, ticker
tapes linked to RSS feeds and Internet
Repeat Signage digital signage software
16_Wedgwood AV Ltd - 01754 769967
Digital signage software, such as
Repeat Signage, which has touchscreen
support, can be displayed on an LCD
touchscreen, for example, on a reception
desk. This allows visitors to check-in,
request brochures, etc.
The reason a digital signage player or
dedicated PC is needed to display each
of your signage presentations is because
it is not practical to have your normal
computer you use daily, playing out
signage. In most environments, there
are usually some spare old computers
lying around, so one can be used to play
signage software. However, do check
it has a suitable VGA or HDMI port to
use with your screen or video wall. You
can buy an inexpensive graphics card
with an HDMI output, to replace the old
computer’s existing graphics card, if
need be.
The market for touchscreens is growing
and currently there is very little digital
signage software for touchscreens. To
display your signage presentation on a
desktop touchscreen in the reception
area, for instance, you could place
the computer or signage player box
beneath the reception counter. However,
if you wanted to wall mount a larger
touchscreen, for example, a 42-inch
diagonal touchscreen, for your signage,
but you want to have the computer
A+K PADS digital signage for multi-screen solutions
Large format display screens with
slot-in PC options
Another option to using a computer or
signage player to display content across
your screens, is to opt for a large format
display or high-end projector that has the
option of a slot-in PC.
There are various types of slot-in PC’s
such as NEC Slot-in PC Atom or NEC
Slot-in PC Celeron. It is important of
course, to ensure that the correct slot-in
PC is chosen for your special needs.
On the back of NEC’s P-series or V-series
large format public display screens, you
remove the small cover to reveal the slotin area, place the PC into the slot and
place a ventilated cover over the PC. You
then start up the PC using the screen’s
remote control and install your software.
NEC slot-in PC
We tested Repeat Signage digital signage
software using an NEC Slot-In PC
Celeron, downloaded the software from
www.repeatsoftware.com and designed
a presentation directly onto the NEC
P-series 42-inch display screen. You can
download a free trial of Repeat Signage at
www.repeatsoftware.com
Large format display screens
Samsung have a range of public
displays for video walls, with slide-in PC
options. Samsung have their own digital
signage software, MagicInfo, which is
downloadable free from their website.
The Samsung UE46A 46-inch LED slim
video wall display screen has built-in
MagicInfo Lite digital signage software.
Mitsubishi MDT series of slim LCD
public displays are available in 42-inch,
55-inch and 65-inch diagonal sizes.
The aluminium bezel has no logo so
that they can be used landscape or
portrait. The 55-inch model can be
used in-floor or as a face-up tabletop.
Sony Professional has software and
hardware digital signage solutions.
Its award-winning Digital Video Wall
System, Ziris Canvas, makes for a focal
piece for reception areas or school
halls. With Ziris Canvas, you can
have a mix of different screen sizes, in
portrait, landscape or arbitrary angled
rotations. Sony’s range of BRAVIA
Professional Displays includes nine full
HD models with screen sizes ranging
from 32” to 65” with a built in RS232CHDMI converter box for remote monitor
control and ease of use within education
environments.
VIDEO WALLS
or player elsewhere, there are little
box solutions that allow you to send
the signage up to 100m, to enable
your computer to update the signage
presentation away from the screen.
Samsung UE46A
Mitsubishi MDT series showing
portrait mode
LG professional displays have tile-mode,
this enables you to set up stunning
video walls easily and efficiently. LG also
have dedicated 47” and 55” LED video
wall displays which have super narrow
bezels.
The LG 47WV30 is a super slim 6.9mm
bezel video wall – a breakthrough in
slim design. The 47” LED screens can
be built to a maximum of 15 x 15 to
give your video content the attention it
demands.
Sony Ziris Canvas
Digital Video Wall System
LG 47WV30 in 3x3 video wall
NEC slot-in PC slots into the back of selected screen models
Comparisons, manufacturers’ brochures, current sizes
and street prices are available at www.lcd-monitors.co.uk
Wedgwood publishes a Touchscreen
guide and a Digital Signage guide, free
from: www.teachingtechnology.co.uk
www.teachingtechnology.co.uk_17
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