Tiling: Can or should you lose the Video Wall Controller?
I had a conversation with a video wall customer that highlighted significant confusion some users can feel when implementing a video wall. His high resolution content was the simplest possible: a single 4K full screen feed of 4K movie playing from a dedicated PC in a loop for a museum environment on a 2 x 2 array of large monitors.
Were they better off buying 4K monitors or 1080P monitors? What was the simplest and most cost effective video output from the PC to the array? The question of signage monitor tiling came up, and the customer had been confused by prior misinformation. Once they understood the issues at hand, they chose an array of 1080P monitors able to tile 4K input.
Typical Video Walls:
Typically Video Wall Arrays are built with 1080P monitors connected to a PC video card with multiple outputs, to a hardware video wall controller, or to a software video wall controller like Userful’s. The bigger the array, the more wires and configuration options are available. There are excellent reasons to use Userful or other video wall controllers, but tiling might be a good choice if you understand the limitations.
Content is important in your decision:
Sometimes we can avoid the complexities and cost of a Video Wall controller or use of a multi-output video card and the related complexity and cost. Before we evaluate and choose the best option, we first need to understand the limits of the content we will display and also the limits of the controller options we might choose.
Tiling: Input Resolution and Output resolution
Most serious digital signage monitors offer tiling options with single input and a daisy chained array of monitors. Earlier models have generally produced less than satisfactory results because they expand the 1080P (1920 x 1080) input signal to as many monitors as you have in your array. You can manufacture or simulate resolution missing from your input.
Each monitor is assigned an array location at set-up and displays only the proper assigned section of the 1080P signal for that assigned location. A 5 x 5 tiled array of monitors will display each pixel in the 1080p signal at a 5 pixel x 5 pixel “clump” of pixels that may be easily visible. Your array surface may be huge, but your resolution won’t be larger than the original input, so an image viewed from close distances might be grainy.
1080P Full Screen Content as input
If the content input to an array will always be a single 1080P signal displayed full screen, then even the most impressive and expensive video wall controller or monitors can’t improve your displayed resolution. Whether you tile in the monitors or expand in the controller the results will be basically the same. If 1080P will your only content input and will always be output to a full array screen, you will lose display resolution whether you output to a single 4K monitor or an array of 1080P monitors tiled.
4K Full Screen Content
4K inputs might be a single 4K PC monitor output, or perhaps a single 4K output from another 4K source like a 4K Blu-Ray player, 4K AppleTV, etc. If we have 4K content to display, we should have the full 4K monitor resolution from input to screen and be able to display it fully.
A “starter array” of 2×2 landscape 1080P monitors technically has exactly a 4K displayable monitor resolution of 3820 x 2160. If your content is produced and delivered in 4K resolution and will always be displayed full array screen, this seems like a perfect fit.
The newest generations of many digital signage 1080P monitors now offer 4K inputs that can be tiled over daisy-chained arrays, allowing full 4K display at full resolution 4K on a 2×2 Array of 1080P monitors without using a Video Wall Controller.
These monitors also offer bezel compensation via the monitor set-up menus, so you’ve get everything you need to present a full screen, high quality 4K image from a single 4K input without the expense of a video all controller.
Ultra Thin Bezel (3.5mm Bezel to Bezel) 4K input 1080P signage monitors are common and have been dropping significantly in price as I write this.
In conclusion, for the simplest content and arrays, the availability of 4K monitor tiling on 1080P monitors brings reduced cost and simplicity of set-up to 2 x 2 or larger Video Wall Arrays. If your content is single output full screen understand the limitations of tiling, you can make an intelligent decision whether you should use monitor tiling instead of a video wall controller.
This will begin a series of posts leading to the launch of RPT Motion’s Portable PopUp Video Wall.
PopUp Kiosks, PopUp Boutiques and PopUp Stores are modern buzzwords and marketing tools. We’re also seeing growth in small private single supplier trade shows, training events and seasonal product launches. Usually self-managed, these events are popping up in more locations, at smaller venues, even local hotels.
Portable PopUp Video Walls would be a great marketing tool, but quality video wall arrays are difficult to PopUp. As a result, rental video walls are usually not available in smaller markets or hotels where lower potential volumes make local supply either inaccessible or very expensive. Even in larger markets Rental Video Walls are usually expensive to deliver, set-up and configure. With high set-up costs, smaller or shorter events just can’t afford a video wall. As a result, conventional Video Walls are expensive to rent and unavailable in many smaller markets.
Portable Video Walls are difficult to deploy multiple times quickly and usually difficult to reconfigure to different array sizes and inputs. This is largely because there has been no available fully integrated Portable Video Wall deployment solution that is flexible, cost effective and convenient. As well, the deployed quality and ease of content presentation varies widely from horrible to acceptable.
RPT Motion Inc. has been in the industrial automation business for 37+ years and has built custom modular portable video wall mounting systems for close to a decade. These have generally been custom built for customer trade shows and corporate road shows. Some of these systems have been deployed hundreds of times since new and are still in use. When we’ve attended trade shows with our custom modular video walls, we consistently have the fastest installed and best aligned wall in the show. But our first generation modular video walls were aimed at single layouts, rectangular or artistic and were excellent free-standing mounting systems without full integration.
Integrating a complete plug and play, high quality portable video wall system is a complex multi-disciplinary task that takes time, money, knowledge and risk beyond what most Video Wall end users are willing to invest and usually beyond their level of technical competence. Often the solution chosen is expensive and more often it’s a tinkerer’s nightmare to set-up and configure late into the night before the show.
What if you could walk in and confidently PopUp an aligned and configured video wall and display content in under an hour? Then anytime you needed to move that wall, even through people sized doorways, down hallways, into passenger elevators and again have content up in an hour or less at the next location? What if, using the same hardware you could configure a 2 x 2 wall today, a 3 x 3 wall tomorrow and even a 3 x 30 wall or any other combination of walls if you had enough monitors, space and content?
An example of RPT PopUp flexibility adding value would be a small Video Wall rental operation owning 18 monitors, usually deployed as two 3 x 3 arrays. Each 3 x 3 array could also be deployed as two 2 x 2 arrays, so you could service one large (3 x 3) and two small (2 x 2) rentals from the same pool of monitors, or deploy a single super wide array of 3 high x 6 wide at the CEO’s mansion for a March Madness Bash or Superbowl Party displaying multiple feeds from 4K and 1080P sources? With our top level PopMax series, you could deploy a 4 x 4 Array of 55″ monitors and output full resolution 8K content on a 220″ diagonal screen
In 2018 these scenarios are not just possible, it’s all easy and quick with RPT PopUp Video Walls.
RPT PopUp Video Wall: What’s Changed?
There needed to be a better way.
It’s the start of 2018 and we’re in the right place at the right time. Over the past few years a lot has changed in the technology of video walls to help enable RPT’s PopUp video wall systems. The two major industry changes are Monitors and Controllers. One makes a video wall less expensive and one makes a video wall less expensive and easier to configure and implement.
Monitors: Video walls need a bunch of big monitors. You don’t need 4K monitors in Video walls because you don’t have content or display ability to benefit from all that increased resolution in an arrays. High quality 49” and 55” ultra-thin bezel 1080P video wall monitors, the sweet spot for PopUp video wall arrays, are now dropping significantly in price.
Controllers: The evolution of modern and flexible software video wall controllers with HDMI over Ethernet Zero Clients, such as Userful’s Software Video Wall Controller is advancing rapidly. The configuration of video walls and connections of content and inputs to video walls is now easier and more flexible than ever. In the simplest deployment a mid-range Userful Server can be configured as a simple appliance directing a single user output (4K or 1080P) to one or more video walls networked with Gigabit Ethernet. Extended to maximum, a high end Userful server can configure one huge or multiple smaller video walls, can use 4K and multiple 1080P inputs, Ethernet cameras, web and locally stored content all configured, scaled, scheduled and looped as needed.
A high end Userful Software Video Wall Server can handle one hundred monitors. If you needed a 2 high x 50 wide, 3 high x 33 wide, 4 high x 25 wide or multiple arrays of some random mix of heights and widths, Userful can deliver content to it. The RPT PopUp Video Wall system is 100% ready to deploy in that or many other configurations. A more likely real world example is that a 20 wide foot trade show booth rear wall can be completely filled with a 2 or 3 high x 5 wide array of 55” monitors.
Next Post: RPT’s Disruptive PopUp Wall Technology
The digital signage industry is significantly about delivering dynamic content on monitors to generate customer engagement. Too often we fail to consider how we might better locate and focus displays to increase the chances of those displays being visible enough to quickly catch the eye of that customer we want to engage.
Placement and aiming of monitors in retail or other public spaces is a complex subject that could fuel neurological behavioral doctoral dissertations, but a basic understanding of a few parameters might significantly improve your monitor’s chances of being seen well enough to grab the viewer’s attention.
A walking pedestrian is actually a very poor target for digital signage, because we’re programmed with a self protecting nature that focuses while walking on identifying potential obstacles in a narrow forward band from O degrees( level) to approximately 10 degrees downward. As a result, unless we start embedding monitors in floors, it’s most likely that your monitor will first be seen in the peripheral vision of the target audience.
When an object enters the peripheral vision of a walking person we don’t actually think about it, rather it is quickly processed in our subconscious process and evaluated as to importance before we might turn our conscious focus towards it. First priority is danger then interest. It seems entirely logical that a monitor better aimed at the target will probably stand a much higher chance of interrupting the walk, while a monitor aimed poorly will generally just be ignored.
The better the aiming of the monitor at the eyes of the viewer, the more likely the message will be processed as relevant enough to grab the conscious attention of the viewer, ideally even stopping their walk and lifting their eyes.
The harsh reality of most public environments is that monitors must often be mounted in less than perfect locations, above the heads of walkers, or on the sides of typical walking patterns or attached to walls facing on perpendicular or parallel planes to your potential customer’s Field of View.
Stacked monitors starting near floor level and if possible aimed outward from the wall and towards the target are possibly better at getting attention than a single horizontal row of monitors at eye level or above heads.
Many have come to understand that Artistic or Mosaic arrays will also grab more attention. Perhaps some of the subtle magic of an artistic or mosaic array is that their irregular shape can’t simply be processed to be subconsciously ignored as just another rectangular screen.
Here’s a great example video worth watching from Userful of an Artistic Video Wall that’s really impossible to ignore.
Walking towards this complexly creative video wall from either direction will engage a downward looking view because the stacks of monitors rises from close to the floor, plus the 3 high portrait stacks are angled towards the viewer rather than being flat on the wall. The back sides of each zig-zag stack forms a second video wall that engages the reverse traffic with different content. This video wall is a real stop and stare opportunity that grabs attention.
A flexible mounting system is important, but most commercial monitor mounts have evolved slowly from the early era of mounting single monitors flat on a wall. Mounts that can quickly and rigidly mount digital signage monitors at different precisely designed angles aimed at a target are not common. If enough monitors are being mounted, sometimes a custom engineered and fabricated mount is a good option, but that’s likely expensive and long delivery.
Mounting monitors using precision modular assemblies is one of RPT Motion’s specialties. We have extended our proven modular Quick VESA industrial monitor mounting system to include modules that allow freely adjustable or fixed by design options for combinations of pan, tilt and roll angles for an installation may require something different for best visibility. RPT can now offer these options in quickly custom engineered mounts with precise angles that allow much better optimization of where your monitor is aimed.
RPT’s Quick VESA Targeted Focus or QVTF range of products is modular, allowing RPT to quickly propose, quote, build and deliver from one to thousands of ready to install mounts precision built to the best angles for your installation. The QVTF range is especially capable when working with small to medium (24-42”) monitors with VESA 100×100 thru VESA 200×200 mounting patterns. We also have excellent options for larger monitors, so we can offer you angled and multi-sided solutions targeted at all monitor sizes and layouts.
Here’s a standard very simple straight RPT Double sided wall mount which puts the aim of the monitor parallel to the walls and walking path. The “arm” can extend the monitors as far as you wish away from the wall, but they still don’t really ever face most viewers walking towards them.
In the same setting here’s another type of double sided RPT Wall Mount with the monitors angled. The angled monitor faces more easily engage directly with more eyes. These monitors protrude less from the wall, but are more visible.
Our point today is that to maximize your investment you should go beyond generic catalog mounting and properly explore the best options for mounting and aiming your monitors. RPT Motion’s DigitalSignMount.com group has a comprehensive range of monitor mounting engineered modules and 25+ years of quickly building precision modular assemblies with t-slotted extrusions. We combine those assets into custom built for your application monitor mounting systems for just one or thousands of monitors. Mount it properly and it will generate better interest and better returns.
Send us a note about how you want to mount your monitors. We’ll quickly offer you reliable, proven options that are quickly and cost effectively custom tailored to your monitors and location.
What do badly aligned arrays say about your brand’s attention to detail and quality?
The DigitalSignMount.com group at RPT are a highly critical bunch when it comes to Digital Monitor mounting. We have spent 36+ years designing, machining and assembling precision assemblies accurate to tiny tolerances for all types of ultra precision industries.
We bristle and cringe when we see misaligned expensive arrays in high end locations, and frankly we see very few that we give the thumbs up to. Don’t just blame the installers, especially on arrays of smaller monitors, there have been no outstanding mounting systems for those arrays, so they take time, patience, a stack of washers and rarely end up perfectly aligned, even after many hours of tinkering and tweaking.
Most of our own RPT Motion precision mounts are three axes of adjustment, but we have the extra benefit of having our own exceptionally accurate frames to build on with those mounts when they are freestanding or overlays.
Our experience is that a quality monitor out of the box is truly a high precision part, but that inherent flatness and accuracy degrades a bit every time you handle or mount the monitor. Small corrections and twisting alignment tweaks carefully applied by brave and skilled installers generate good but rarely perfect results by re-bending the frame of the monitor slightly.
Until today, there were simply no solid, accurate and fully adjustable (Six Axes) mounts for arrays of 24-39″ monitors.
Today RPT changed that as we proudly released our QVWM -UA6 from development to production.
A few words on RPT nomenclature,
QV is for Quick VESA which is a series of engineered modules serving VESA 75 x 75 thru VESA 200 x 200.
WM is for Wall Mount (many of our mounts are free-standing structures without a wall)
UA6 is for Ultimate Alignment 6 Axes
For the adjustability it offers, the thickness from Wall Surface to VESA Mounting Surface is a very slim 2-5/8″ at the mid range of the planar adjustments. Plus it’s small enough to hide behind a typical 24″ monitor rolled to any artistic angle.
The six axes the QVWM-UA6 mount can adjust are:
- X or Horizontal Axis MicroAdjustment
- Y or Vertical Axis MicroAdjustment
- Roll Axis with full 360 degree monitor rotation with lock and drop-on monitor system
- Z Axis front to back MicroAdjustment
- Tilt (Top to Bottom) MicroAdjustment
- Pan (Side to Side) MicroAdjustment
Here’s an image of an intentional misalignment on one of our testing rigs to demonstrate the range of the tilt adjustment using 24″ NEC EX-241UN Ultra Thin Bezel Monitors:
Here’s the aligned flat and level result a minute later:
RPT has pioneered the use of a 360 degree roll axis with rotation lock for mounting both Artistic arrays and rectangular arrays. We find it a faster and more effective way to get perfect final adjustments than the more common roll adjust by differential heights on each side. Plus, because our roll axis provides 360 degrees of rotation the exact same mount works for artistic, rectangular, and mixed portrait-landscape arrays. We’ve built our roll axis and rotation lock right onto the drop on monitor adapter.
Here’s the wall mount portion of the final prototype version in RPT’s testing area showing the other five axes of adjustment:
The X and Y axes are precision machined aluminum screw driven micro-adjustable linear slides. The central hex head drive is the Y Axis adjuster, the black hand knob on the right adjusts the X axis position.
The X-Y slide system is mounted on RPT’s three point planar adjustment system. In this case, the pan is adjusted pointing quite far left of center. The three point wall mounting with hex head plane micro adjusters allows pan, tilt and Z axis micro-adjustments while making it impossible to stress or twist the monitor frame.
If you’re installing arrays of smaller monitors, either rectangular or Artistic/Mosaic please contact us to discuss how we can make that installation fully adjustable the final results can be as perfectly aligned as your brand.
If you’ve got a monitor model and layout sketch (even Pencil sketch), when you purchase RPT QVWM-UA6 mounts RPT will generate a CAD drawing showing the mount centers dimensions so your installer can quickly mark the monitor centers on your wall and use our mounting template to locate and drill the mounting holes.
We’re tossing some array ideas out to get you thinking outside of a rectangular box.
Sometimes video walls are simpler, single dimensional in-line arrays.
Here’s a nine monitor alternating landscape portrait array.
Here’s the same nine monitors slanted 20 degrees which adds interest:
RPT manufactures a line of modules that form ultra simple precision mounting for in-line smaller monitor arrays like this.
We use an industry standard precision t-slotted aluminum extrusion as a horizontal bar of any desired length up to 20 feet in a single bar.
Then we add one RPT drop-on receiver, and one RPT 360 Degree Rotating Drop On VESA 100 x 100 Adapter per monitor. If no monitor rotation is required we can use the even simpler RPT FM VESA mounts which we developed for Industrial Shop Floor Monitors. The receiver positions adjust as required along the length of the extrusion and simple angle brackets slide along the slots to bolt into supports as required.
Linear arrays don’t always need a wall, they might be bar mounted across reasonable distance open spaces or hung on a post off a wall and those arrays can be double sided. Here’s a view down the middle of a wall mounted sign post showing the simplicity of our RPT FM-VESA Mounts. Each monitor adapter connects to the extruded bar with a single bolt and alignment precision is machined into the parts.
A wall mounted signpost structure that can be expanded with more monitors.
Ends of aisle, or along walls:
Because our mounting systems are modular, RPT Motion Inc. can quickly design and deliver a single monitor or array of monitors mounting system configured to your needs.
Tell us what you need, we’ll get back to you quickly with a custom proposal delivered quickly with standard RPT Modules.
Example 9 Monitor Mosaic Video Wall layout
Eye grabbing Artistic or Mosaic Video walls are often built with smaller 24-32″ monitors. Smaller monitors are especially interesting where wall space is limited, the viewer will be relatively close to the video wall, or perhaps higher overall resolutions are desired. Common examples would be a wall behind a reception desk in a corporate entry, or a shallow retail storefront window.
The pixel density per square inch is higher with an array of small monitors than with larger monitors. The nine monitor layout above, designed with NEC’s exceptional EX241-UN 24″ Ultra Thin Bezel 1080P Monitor is 58.5″ High and 83.5″ wide at the points and has 18.6 Million individually displayable pixels. For reference it takes up the wall space of an approximately 102″ diagonal single monitor, which if 4K resolution would display only 8.3 million pixels.
Displaying high resolution content on multiple displays is no longer a challenging software or hardware problem. Video Wall Controllers, like Userful’s Software Video Wall Controller, simplify the display and content management of a wide variety of high resolution source content output to multi-monitor arrays of rectangular, or rotated and randomly placed monitors. Userful can output full resolution 8K video which has over 33 million displayable pixels and even higher resolutions for static images like fashion photos.
Typically 24″ ultra thin bezel monitors like the NEC EX241-UN or the the Viewsonic VP2468 will have a VESA 100mm x 100mm mount. Smaller VESA wall mounts were designed for mounting single monitors at the lowest possible cost, they have minimal or no adjust-ability and are therefore very poor choices for mounting arrays, especially artistic or mosaic arrays where rotation is required. If you don’t have the required adjust-ability in the mounting your array will rely on a lot of installer skill and a lot of time to properly align, if it’s even possible to get a good alignment.
With the introduction of RPT Motions’ QVWM-DM3 wall mount, mounting and aligning complex arrays of small monitors is no longer an obstacle.
RPT Motion Inc. identifies the key adjust-ability requirements for mounting rectangular or artistic arrays as:
- X axis (horizontal) Micro Adjustable
- Y Axis (vertical) Micro Adustable
- Rotation Axis adjustable through 360 degrees and lockable
- Drop on- Lift off monitor interface
- As thin as possible to minimize projection from wall
With a mount that allows these adjustments, you can simply locate the design center of your monitors on the wall, secure the mounts to the the wall within about half an inch of the design locations, drop the monitors on in sequence, “float and rotate” the monitors into perfect alignment finishing with a small even gap between bezels in a minute or less. Once aligned, the monitors lift off and replace with precision.
Adjustments to monitor plane (Tilt, Pan and Z axis) are less critical for small 24″ monitors than giant 60″ monitors. A precision built mount on a flat wall can usually provide very good to excellent array flatness without the complexity and physical size of those adjustments.
When mounting small monitors in arrays, what we at RPT Motion call the wall-print or the face view X-Y size of the mount is critical as it must be small enough to hide behind a small monitor rotated to any angle the array designers decide upon.
RPT has released their QVWM-DM3 Mount that’s perfect for arrays, simple or complex, rectangular or artistic of small monitors.
Here’s that same layout of NEC EX241-UN 24″ monitors as above, with the central monitor hidden so you can see the small wall-print of the ultra compact RPT QVWM-DM3 mount:
For 36+ years, RPT Motion has built high precision industrial automation components and systems for manufacturing and aerospace industries. We hold CNC machined tolerances of < 0.001″ every day, and we design tightly integrated mechanisms using state of the art CAD/CAM.
The basis of the RPT QVWM-DM3 is a precision CNC machined aluminum ultra compact micro-adjustable X-Y translator that provides an easy to mount stable wall plate with 2.00″ (+/- 1.0″) of X via hand knob and 2.00″ (+/- 1.0″) of Y via 7/16″ hex micro-adjustment and an integrated receiver slide for the drop on system.
The QVWM-DM3 monitor interface provides an integrated handle for easy lift off, full 360 degree rotation with locking, and can be delivered with 75 x 75 or 100 x 100 VESA Mounting patterns. Other sizes (100 x 200, 150 x 150, etc.) are possible, and an upcoming big brother will handle VESA 200 x 200. The precision drop on slide engages easily and repeats location very precisely.
Here’s how the drop-on works:
The QVWM-DM3 is very thin for a mount with these features and this much adjust-ability, just 2.5″ from wall surface to VESA mount surface:
And here’s a rear view of that 9 monitor array using QVWM-DM3 mounts.
The capabilities, rigidity, adjust-ability and precision of the RPT QVWM-DM3 mount are unique in our industry and finally make quick accurate mounting of complex arrays of small monitors simple.
Please contact us for more information:
How much adjustment is enough?
We at RPT just can’t walk past a video wall without looking at and most likely critiquing the installation and alignment. Most video walls are not well aligned and we wonder why. Recently, at InfoComm 2017, the AV industry showcase convention, I walked the floor and estimate that fully 75% of the video walls could have been improved significantly with proper alignment and 25% of them were just plain awful. Our own industry should be showing perfectly aligned video walls, if not something is wrong with either the mounts or the installers.
Let’s face it; mounts are usually the final afterthought in any video wall project, the last thing to worry about and buy before slapping those expensive monitors onto the wall. Mounts are simple, aren’t they?
If mounts are so simple, then why are there so many badly aligned video walls? Perhaps installers aren’t as skilled as they should be? The wall was more crooked than we expected? We ran out of time, money or both?
A poorly aligned, badly installed video wall is a poor reflection on your brand and your attention to detail, so you should understand how to avoid installation problems. It begins with understanding what a mount needs to do and buying a mount that can be adjusted in your application.
RPT has researched monitor mounting and developed our own mounts where we couldn’t find acceptable alternatives in the industry. We’ve proven, in our testing, that quality Monitors are very accurate and a rigid precision assembled structure can deliver acceptable alignment without any adjustments. In the real world, walls aren’t precision structures, and installers don’t have the tools to measure and mount to less than a hundredth of an inch. SO adjustment will always be required.
There are six axes of possible monitor adjustment:
- Lateral (X axis)
- Height (Y Axis)
- Tilt (Top to bottom relative to wall)
- Pan (Side to side relative to wall)
- Roll (Rotation about center of Face, clockwise or counterclockwise)
- Depth (Z Axis)
Mounts you choose may offer all of these axes of adjustment, or only a few. Some axes may be achieved by combination, example Roll is most commonly adjusted by differential adjustable heights left and right and that works well. Buy onyly what you need, but choose too little adjustability and even the best installer won’t be able to deliver a perfectly aligned video wall.
The Minimum number of adjustable axes to easily achieve good alignment really depends on the flatness of your mounting surface, the skill of your installer and the time allowed to align the array.
Three axis Mounting
A well built flat wall can align an array with three axes: X, Y and Roll only. The bezel to bezel spaces can be near perfect but the planar alignment may not be 100% perfect if the array face is viewed from the side at a steep angle.
RPT’s MVW-GHB L3 Modular Portable video walls are precision assemblies. We build them with RPT GHB 3 axis precision machined mounts of our own design with excellent results. Our customers move these video walls many times per year, and set-up and alignment must be fast and accurate each time. One big advantage is that we don’t need or use a wall; we mount onto a precision modular free-standing structure that assembles flatter than most walls,
Six Axis Mounting
A badly out of true wall will generally need all six axes of adjustment and if the mount chosen has the range of adjustments, and the installer is well equipped, skilled and allowed enough time, the array can be adjusted absolutely flat and perfectly aligned. A badly aligned array with excellent mounts is the installer’s fault.
RPT’s MVW ConnexSys L6+ single or double sided freestanding video wall structures are a great six axis example. We integrate them with the Chief ConnexSys mount that provides wide range full six axis stress free adjustment system with a pull-out for installation and service.
Pull out or drop on?
Monitors should be easily loaded onto the mount. Small monitors drop on easily to some mounts. Large arrays of large monitors should have a pull-out feature to allow center monitors to be removed and replaced without removing a bunch of other monitors. Pull outs also allow easier connections after that heavy monitor is supported. There’s more engineering with pull-outs. You must confirm that the mounting wall’s structure can safely accommodate the overhung loads of your monitor’s weight pulled out to the maximum the mount allows, and one shouldn’t presume that only one monitor at a time will be pulled out at a time. You’ll need to manage a strategy for releasing the monitors or ensuring that they can’t be released by just anyone.
Hard for me to believe and I won’t name names, but some big name six axis pull-out mounts for large monitors can be adjusted in combinations that twist and stress the frame of that expensive thin bezel monitor. Thin bezel monitors are expensive, and fragile. At RPT we insist that mounts never impart extra stress to the monitor no matter how they are adjusted.
Arrays of small monitors
Small monitors (VESA 100×100 and 200×200) present special challenges because there are few fully adjustable options for those smaller monitors. As a result, RPT has developed the RPT Wall Mount 3 Axis Artistic Drop on that handles rectangular and artistic layouts of small and medium monitors. We will soon release a full six axis version of the same mount, making perfect alignment of small monitor arrays easy.
Arrays of monitors should have tiny spaces between bezels. Commonly described as the thickness of a business card, approximately 0.025 Inches or 0.6mm is perfect. Not all monitor bezels are perfectly straight, so we set the design gap at 0.040 or 1 mm and ensure that there is a small gap everywhere along each edge. Gaps are essential to ensure that the weight whole stack of monitors isn’t pushing down on the top edge of the bottom monitor. A business car should slide down the gap without binding. Easy to adjust mounts make that perfect gap easy to set while harder to adjust mounts get the “good enough” in frustration and the result rarely is good enough.
Arrays should present as flat a face as possible. If the array is set back some distance and only viewed from relatively narrow front angles, this is far less important than other adjustments. If a person can walk past parallel to the face of the array, planar misalignment becomes much more obvious and just looks sloppy.
The cost differential between great mounts with enough adjustment and terrible mounts that can’t be aligned is a tiny fraction of what your video wall will cost. Don’t blame your installer if you choose the wrong mounts and they can’t install a perfect video wall, usually for cost reasons, and the results are less than optimal. On the other hand some installers don’t have the skills or attention to detail even with the best available mounts.
If you want more information on RPT Video Wall Mounting Systems or wish to discuss challenging video wall installations please contact us.
When we hear “Video Wall”, we usually think many big monitors and lots of money to spend. It doesn’t cost a huge amount of money to try digital signage or video walls. If you’ve got or can create content that can pass messages to your customers and drive some sales improvement a small investment can pay back quickly even in very simple implementations. A simple web page of daily or weekly specials isn’t that hard to generate as a start.
Video Walls can start as simple as one small monitor each, and expand to as many locations as you need. Most facilities with successful digital signage grow to many digital signs, each either single monitors or arrays of monitors.
It’s good practice to plan early for success and required future growth, because you don’t want to lock into hard to expand or manage structures for video wall hardware and software from the beginning.
Here’s a simple start: a standard RPT Motion simple rugged signpost mount, designed for wall mounting of one, two or more monitors back to back. Commonly used on ends of aisles or along sides of aisles to highlight and inform.
We’ll use an hypothetical small grocery store as an example, and start with a simple, attractive, rugged and affordable RPT Digital Signpost Mount with two 24″-39″ 1080P monitors of your choice, one on each side in either portrait or landscape. Place it somewhere with traffic, just above a tall head walking past.
There are many ways to drive two monitors at low cost. Example One would be a low end signage player, a Mini Windows 10 PC like an Intel NUC which can drive two monitors, connects to the Internet via WiFi. To keep it low cost, you can then use a free content management system like Rise Vision to prepare, schedule and manage what’s being displayed when and where. There is usually a fan and perhaps other moving parts if you use a hardrive instead of an SSD.
Additionally, there will be inevitable Windows updates and other PC management of the NUC Player, but really not a big deal as you’ve only got one tiny simple PC to add to your thinking. Any updates or maintenance will require a keyboard and a mouse to work, so you’ll need a ladder to connect and update as required.
Windows base players just can’t deal with separate screens, so to stay cheap you’d have to be a bit creative and accept some inconvenience with Rise Vision or other content managers to set up the back to back screens as one Windows desktop and then build your presentations accordingly. Probably just easier to bite the bullet and manage with one Intel NUC player per screen, they’re really not that expensive, just double the number of NUCs and power supplies and put one on each monitor.
The above solution works, is quick, simple, low cost, relatively reliable and also short sighted. It’s hard to manage and hard to grow.
Very few locations have just one aisle or location calling for digital signage, so now let’s deal with the future scenario of ten double sided end of aisle units highlighting specials in each aisle.
Now, you’ve got twenty monitors requiring a different content source for each, in effect twenty small single monitor video walls.
Suddenly you’ve got twenty mini PC’s with power supplies and fans to manage and maintain, hanging up in the air accessing your WiFi with twenty passwords that need changing if you change your router WiFi password. No WiFi connection, no content.
Twenty is a realistic number of screens for a small to medium grocery store with active marketing plans and content, a larger store could eventually swallow a hundred screens with each screen adding sales opportunities every minute of every day. A chain of stores, local, regional or national could have thousand of screens to manage.
You need a simple, reliable and fully scalable solution with a low cost of entry. The good news is that it’s ready for you.
Here’s an affordable reliable starting strategy with unlimited growth potential:
If your content is basically static images or web pages, a single low end Userful Software Video Wall Server, based on standard PC hardware that can cost less than an Intel NUC costs, and can easily feed content to nine 1080P screens via a single Gigabit Ethernet Switch. Two standard Gigabit Ethernet ports wired to each signpost is easy to do, not expensive, easy to manage and very reliable compared to WiFi.
Probably better to spend just a little more and start with the mid-range Userful Software Video Wall Server for better performance, growth potential to forty 1080P monitors and 4K input cards, guarantees the ability to smoothly add more input sources, and smooth video wherever needed for more active and creative promotions.
The Userful Video Wall Server can be located anywhere on the network in your building, so it can be securely locked in an office. The almost unlimited content sources and configurations can be managed by the browser based Userful UCC from any PC, tablet or smartphone on the network, so when those avocados on sale in aisle 7 sell out, it’s easy for the produce manager to bring up the next special sale for aisle 7. Userful’s API allows much more complex scheduling and control, if needed.
Each monitor would have a “no moving parts, and no maintenance” Zero Net Client, which is included in the cost of the USerful license, mounted to the rear of the monitor, drawing just a few watts of power from a monitor USB port or via POE. The Userful Server uses the Zero Client to decode from Ethernet to full 1080P HDMI at the monitor.
You can use your choice of Content Management systems or devise many local only or web strategies to schedule and manage your content and sources, including HDMi inputs if you want to distribute broadcast TV to some signs.
In the future, you might decide to add a few multi-monitor video walls around your store, and that’s no problem because Userful can handle up to 100 monitors per Userful Software Video Wall Server. Just install the monitors, connect Ethernet and add licenses.
Start small, but be smart early and success will come easier and at much lower cost.
Think ahead and plan for success by building unlimited video wall potential with RPT’s Video Wall mounting systems and Userful’s Software Video Wall Server from your first screen.
Contact us by this form to talk about one or many RPT Digital Signpost systems with Userful Server starter package that fits your needs now and can grow with you.
Artistic Video Wall layout example:
Video walls are evolving to be much more than a giant rectangular wall mounted screen. Artistic or Mosaic video walls draw more attention and are simpler than ever to implement and control. A great article on artistic video layout by Userful: https://www.userful.com/blog/integrate-digital-displays-into-your-space-balance-aesthetics-and-functionality
A key player in enabling artistic video walls is Userful. Userful’s Software Video Wall Server can drive up to 100 monitors from one PC hardware based appliance, and easily allows unlimited design freedom. Layouts with mixed monitor sizes and orientations (portrait and landscape) as well as complete freedom of rotation are simple to set up. Monitors positioning can be edge to edge, or purposely designed with layout gaps or overlays of any size in any direction. Static images, video and any digital input or content can be output to any layout of up to 100 monitors in one or many video walls.
Artistic video walls are often built with smaller (24″-40″) monitors, and monitor manufacturers have responded with ranges of smaller high quality narrow bezel monitors, often with close color matching and many other digital signage features. Two great small 1080P monitors for video walls are the NEC EX241UN and the Viewsonic VP2468.
The Viewsonic VP2468 is even available in a two-monitor pack without desk stand or extra parts, so it’s clearly been tagged for the multi-monitor market of video walls. The ultra thin bezels and high quality color matching monitor to monitor are other great features.
I’ll make no secret that my favorite small video wall monitor is the NEC EX241UN . It’s marketed as a high quality desktop 24″ monitor but it’s available in a wall mount pack that skips the desktop base. NEC delivered serious digital signage control option, including a super simple daisy chain for monitor adjustments, Serial and Ethernet control options and the ability to daisy chain up to 25 monitors rectangular grid layout. Of course daisy chained arrays lose resolution as they can only expand the input resolution of the display port. Connected to Userful, every pixel is addressable and full resolution 8k video can be presented.
See RPT’s CDS 8K Cart for more on large high resolution 8K video.
Monitors are easy, and Userful makes configuration and presentation of high resolution content easy, so that leaves properly mounting and wiring an artistic video wall as the major remaining challenge.
Monitor mounts, in their most common form, are generally designed to hold monitors straight and level. While some manufacturers have introduced add-ons allowing rotation, most of the solutions for artistic rotations of smaller monitors are in one way or another quite compromised.
RPT Motion has 36+ years of experience delivering precision mechanical motion sub-systems to industrial applications including flight simulation and other manufacturing. We have our own CNC machine shop using state of the art CAD/CAM and manufacturing. We build modular video wall structures, mostly free-standing and portable. We specialize in modular, quick assembly systems. It was natural that we decided to build a system of precision monitor mounts perfect for both rectangular and artistic video walls.
The key features we included are:
- Compact enough to hide behind rotated 24″ monitors
- Adjustable in horizontal and vertical axes
- 360 degree monitor rotation with rotation lock at final adjustment
- Lift off and replace the monitor without losing any adjustments
- Thin to minimize projection from wall
- Solid, precise and reliable for 24″-40″ monitors with VESA 75 x 75, 100 x 100, 100 x 200, up to 200 x 200 as well as custom.
We’ll admit that it probably doesn’t look like any other mount on the market. It can’t look like any other mount because there’s no other mount that does all those things, period.
RPT started with a clean sheet of digital and distilled it down to include every required function and feature.
RPT QVT-WD100 Artistic Video Wall Mount
How the monitor adapter drops on:
- Precision CNC machined from Aviation quality aluminum.
- Four 1/4″ mounting holes to wall with large surface to spread load.
- Thin 2.500″ depth wall surface to Monitor VESA pattern surface
- 2.5″ Horizontal adjustment via a simple slide and lock based on t-slotted extrusion.
- 2.5″ Vertical adjustment via a screw driven micro-adjustment
- 360 degree Rotation axis and rotation lock is nested into the drop-on slide and VESA interface
- VESA 75×75, 100×100, and 200×200 versions available, all at same depth
- The t-slotted horizontal slide is field re-configured in a few minutes using simple hand tools for left or right extension to allow best mount hide at any desired angle of rotation.
This unique combination of features allow you to design, quickly mount and perfectly align any simple or complex array of small and medium sized monitors that you can conceive.
Send RPT Motion Inc. your array ideas, either CAD layout or even a pencil sketch including monitor models, spacing or screen center locations and rotation angles and we will quote you with a mount rendering of the best RPT QVT-WD series mounts and locations.
When you purchase the RPT’s QVT-WD mounts, we’ll pre-configure them into the proper combination of left and right and send you a dimensioned CAD layout of monitor center points to use with our drilling template for super quick installation. Then mount the adapters and quickly adjust your video wall.
If you’re considering insatlling an artistic video wall, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to go deeper into some of the reasons we’re so enamored with Userful, which we consider to be the best video wall controller on the market. It happens to be a software video wall controller, so it evolves and advances continuously.
Once your RPT QVT-WD mounts are on the wall and the array is adjusted and aligned, pull off all the monitors. No fear you won’t lose any adjustment.
Userful uses a small Zero-Net Client for each monitor and they can be powered from a USB port, wall transformer or POE. You can mount the Zero Clients to the back of the monitors and connect to the monitor USB port and a short HDMI cable for 1080p video. Then as you drop each monitor back in place you need only connect an AC power cord and an Ethernet cable.
Userful’s Software Video Wall Server can be easily configured via Userful’s UCC app, via a browser connection the UCC allows you to define one or many simple, complex, or complex artistic video walls quickly. Userful features include alignment patterns to perfect adjust the image and compensate for bezels and distances between monitors. Userful allows you to easily define as many input sources as you need to display, and simply drag and drop the configured video wall icon onto the source you wish to view.
Finally, here’s a rear view of that first layout mounted with RPT’s QVT-WD Double mounts, 18 monitors mounted on nine mounts with full adjustment for each monitor and lift off and drop on monitors:
Please contact RPT for more information on RPT’s Artistic Video Wall Mounts or Userful
RPT Motion Inc. specializes in Modular Video Walls Structures
What exactly does “Modular” mean in the world of RPT video walls?
Basically it means that we engineer and manufacture our structural and video wall mounting systems in modules, building blocks that form a cohesive system of re-useable engineering to reduce costs, increase accuracy, speed delivery, increase confidence while allowing for very quick proposals and budgetary quotes followed by quick delivery.
Where to use RPT Modular Structures:
We generally like to start discussions by saying that if you have a structurally solid wall to mount your monitors on, then that’s a really simple problem and we’re probably not your best choice. There are many great options to mount and align your monitors. In fact we use them in many of our Modular Video Walls wherever they work well because they’re made in huge volumes and we can’t compete on the actual mounting and adjusting part of the video wall.
So at our core, RPT are the creative structural guys for video walls and large arrays. The big mount suppliers may offer custom fabricated structures, but it’s usually not their specialty or sweet spot, especially in low quantity arrays of one off or a few off.
We want you to contact us for the Digital Signage and Monitor Mounting applications that challenge you the most, the ones where you have few or no good ideas for except reaching for custom design and fabrication. Because our Modules are
Several descriptive words in explaining your array should trigger a discussion with us:
Freestanding: If your array must stand alone, bolted to the floor, or floor to ceiling posts, then we’re got many options and solutions, especially for large arrays.
Double or Multi Sided: If your array will have monitors on two or more sides, we got solutions, usually these are freestanding fixed arrays, but we can provide double sided portable arrays as well.
Portable: If your array needs to be deployed quickly and/or re-deployed many times, we’ve got great solutions.
Designed to travel Userful Modular Tradeshow Artistic Array Example:
Here’s a picture of the entire kit of RPT Modules for the RPT Modular Video Wall six monitor artistic display at Userful Booth #611 InfoComm 2017:
Here’s the frame assembled (15 minute assembly time) in our demo shop prior to shipping:
Here’s the original rendering of what we proposed:
The Userful InfoComm Booth as the array was being adjusted, an easy task with Userful:
There are 4 x 55″ ThinGlobal screens 2 x 2 with rows offset, a 39″ Vizio bottom right overlay on a rotatable VESA 100×100 Mount, and a 24″ Monitor Top left overlay on a rotatable VESA 75×75 mount. On site assembly of RPT Modular frame was less than 20 minutes, mounting and physical aligning of monitors took another 30 minutes, Userful Zero Client wiring and connection to server 30 minutes, Userful Array adjustment 20 minutes.
And playing 4K demo Content on six screens of three different manufacturers, sizes and rotations:
Modular is good for fixed installations too:
Modular construction is equally applicable to arrays that will be assembled once and left in one place for their life.
We’re seeing more requests for large freestanding interior arrays of monitors. Some of these are destined for interior outward facing video walls on widow walls. Having the wall inside the mall reduces cost by reducing monitor environmental challenges and also often simplifies permitting challenges.
Large arrays need perfect adjustment and a pull-out mounting system. RPT’s MWV-ConnexSys L6+ system integrates the excellent Chief ConnexSys Mount into the flexibility of RPT’s precision modular structural system.
Here’s an LG 47″ Digital Signage Monitor on an RPT MVW ConnexSys L6+ mount (closed) in our test area.
Here’s the same mount pulled out for wiring or service.
RPT’s Modular Structure allows rapid on-site assembly of large arrays, from a easy to move and assemble precision modules. This reduces handling issues in existing structures while increasing the finished quality of the array assembly.
Q: What do you put on the back of a large freestanding array?
A: Why not make it a back to back large array?
The RPT MVW ConnexSys L6+ can also be used back to back. They can move from concept to quote to install very quickly when compared to custom designed and fabricated options, because we’re assembling a custom structure with existing RPT modules and structure.
These arrays can be very large. Because we build on precision T-Slotted aluminum extrusions we can increase the size of components like the legs, and use all of our existing monitor mounting options. That allows us to build high stacks of monitor mounts that install one mount at a time without heavy lifting. The central leg modules connect two stacks, so we can build arrays as many monitors wide as you can imagine, afford or push content to.
I hope this explanation of what RPT’s Modular Video wall structures give you some ideas of our capabilities.
Bring us your ideas for big, small, complicated, portable, fixed, freestanding, or other ideas that need a structure for fast concept renderings, quotes, delivery, and deployment.