Displays are significantly growing in size and resolution with each year, and many companies are starting to use more advanced video wall solutions. For companies interested in jumping into the world of video walls, the biggest question they have to address is whether to use LCD or direct view LED displays.
There are a variety of tools one can use to craft a video wall. "There is a full range of technologies that can be leveraged to create a video wall – tiled or discrete LCD flat panels, rear-projection cubes, LED tiles projectors," Andy Clipsham, senior product manager of global market solutions at Christie, said in an article. "Key considerations when selecting the best technology for a given installation include: design flexibility, physical footprint, ease of installation, image quality, ambient light tolerance, reliability, ease of maintenance and cost."
Before companies decide on LCD or LED, they need to examine the hardware, software, cost and scenario.
Hardware for LCD displays is significantly simpler than for LED displays, according to Brian McClimans, vice president of sales, Americas and APAC, Peerless-AV. Customers typically only need to decide how large they want their image to be. From there, they can just add on additional LCD displays as needed to create the video wall. Direct view LED, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought.
"First, you need to decide at what resolution you need the image. As most LED panels will not scale, the number of pixels is the resolution," McClimans said in an email interview. "With the advent of narrow pitched LED cabinets, form factors do not need to be as large as they once were. Once resolution is determined, the size of the deployment can then be spoken to."
You also need to keep in mind the average distance most customers will be viewing the display from. If customers will be up close, you will need a finer pixel pitch.
For LCD displays, typically integrators just need to select a media player. They can select one that has the right amount of outputs for a video wall. They can also plug one into a video wall processor, or plug it into a wall of displays that daisy chain content.
LED software is similar but with one key difference. All cabinets have to plug directly from the video encoder or player, or all cabinets have to be daisy chained together.
"As most of these cabinets will be connecting via a traditional data cable (i.e., cat5e/cat6), there is often, but not always, additional information available on the cabinets that are in a deployment," McClimans said.
Cost is probably the biggest barrier to direct view LED.
"While the prices for Direct View LED displays are projected to decrease, they are still quite a bit more expensive than LCDs. Your total cost will be impacted by the variables of the project, however, LED is the pricier option, for now," McClimans said.
But cost alone can’t be the determining factor. You also need to examine the specific scenario.
You should consider a variety of factors such as viewing distance, environment, mounting hardware and content. McClimans argues that LCD displays are good for short viewing distances, for example, since they can display clear images, text and videos. However, the bezels of an LCD video wall are more visible than an LED display.
LED displays also might be better for outdoor solutions since they can handle ambient lighting better than LCD displays.
"There is no definitive right or wrong choice between LCD and LED displays for a direct viewing video wall, rather there are key variables to keep in mind when making your decision," McClimans said.
Image via Istock.com
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