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Tiling Video Wall Monitors

Tiling: Can or should you lose the Video Wall Controller?

The picture above is a 2 x 2 deployment of the RPT PopUp Portable Modular Video Wall System. This modular, expandable and extensible system allows users to safely dismantle, transport and redeploy small to very large video walls quickly, safely and accurately. The modules wheel through standard office doors and using passenger elevators. The 2 x 2 Entry level system above, in a corporate facility or local rental environment, might be a great application that avoids the cost and complexity of a video wall controller and gives users a simple single port input. Any bigger and you probably want the capabilities and expense of a Software Video Wall Controller.

In the chart above, the left column is a 4K resolution array of 2 x 2 landscape array of 1080P monitors (1920 wide x 1080 high). The third column, a 4 x 4 array of 1080P monitors is 8K displayable resolution which has 4 times as many addressable pixels as a 4K resolution.

You can also compare square footage of an array screen. Given same monitor size, a 3 x 3 array has resolution and screen area 225% of the 2 x 2. A 3 x 3 array of 49″ monitors is over 7 feet high (plus clearance from the floor) and over 10 feet wide.

Resolution Confusion

I recently 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.

What made this application possible without a video wall controller is the simplest possible full screen single input content, and a perfect match between the 4K input resolution and the 4K array resolution.

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 HDMI over Ethernet video wall controller like Userful or MonitorsAnywhere. The bigger the array, the more wires and configuration options are available. There are excellent reasons to use  Userful, Monitors Anywhere, or other video wall controllers, but tiling might be a good choice if your content is simple, your array small and 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. The Viewsonic 49″ and 55″ and Philips 49 and 55″  Monitors that we have qualified for RPT PopUp Video Walls have this functionality to display 4K on 2 x 2 tiled array of daisy-chained 1080P monitors. We suggest that you download the manuals and understand the limitations that may vary between manufacturers and models when 4K to 2×2 Tiling.

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.

Ask us for more information on RPT PopUp Portable Video Walls in 2 x 2 Arrays with tiling:

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Resolution moves upward constantly, and 8K video content is quickly becoming a reality.  When you need to render, or edit full 8K Video or other ultra high resolution digital signage presentations, how can you present or demo your content to a group in full 8K 7680 x 4320 or even higher resolution? Userful’s Software Video Wall Server can output full resolution 30 fps 8K video and even larger resolutions for highest quality static images.

There are very few good 8K display options: Dell has an incredible but small 31.5″ 8K Monitor that you could huddle a small group around. Several manufacturers offer large very expensive and hard to move single screen 8K TVs, or you could set up a significant and power hungry direct view LED wall and move way back to lose the pixelation effects of direct view LED.

Real world deployments of 8K video in the digital signage market will likely be either 2×2 arrays of 4K Monitors or 4×4 arrays of 1080P monitors. Using 4K monitors will limit the maximum size of the deployed video wall, while the 4×4 array of 55 inch thin bezel monitors will present as a larger 220″ diagonal 8K video wall, or if you want larger choose 65″ monitors. Another benefit of the 4×4 array is that it can be divided into more discrete zones in some end uses.

Obviously, these large scale video wall deployments are technically complex and expensive. They must deploy quickly and function perfectly. How do you test hardware and software to demo a concept and content for such a huge video wall? Content over the life of a large video wall is the key to success and return on investment: Does your ongoing content development process hardware and software functionally exactly match the real world deployment?

RPT’s CDS 8K Cart, an integrated wheeled cart 98″ diagonal portable 4×4 array of the digital signage quality 24″ NEC EX241UN Ultra Thin Bezel Monitors.  The CDS 8K Cart is best powered by an ultra high performance Userful Software Video Wall Server as a great answer that can grow with your future needs.

RPT’s CDS 8K Cart is  fully integrated and designed to be self-contained. It’s sized to roll through a standard 32″ commercial door from your development area to your boardroom, and plug into a standard outlet. Connected to your network, content playback can be managed from a tablet or laptop via Userful’s UCC.

At present, 8K input cards are not yet available, so 8K content to be played is transferred via Ethernet to the Server for playback. We’re confident that Userful will be among the first to support 8K input cards once they become available, and RPT’s Modular CDS system allows us to expand your CDS 8K Cart array to those higher resolutions in the future.

RPT’s CDS 8K Cart is outside the 2017 normal box, but it’s not just for 8K video projects:

Portable Control Room display: The RPT CDS 8K Cart’s Userful Server can be equipped with a 4K input card, or up to 16 HDMI or SDI inputs, any or all of which can be mapped to individual or grouped monitors within the RPT CDS array. Of course, Userful’s full range of source capabilities and video wall mapping is available.  Userful can support 100 monitors from one server, so a hypothetical mobile control room could even network daisy chain six RPT CDS 8K Carts (server on first cart) for a portable 96 monitor security or control system for events. For more on Userful’s Control Room capabilities see: Userful YouTube Control Room Video

The RPT CDS 8K Cart is an ideal digital signage content development platform: RPT’s CDS system is modular. The monitor array can be easily reconfigured into other layouts at any time. These include landscape, portrait, mixed and artistic arrays. One example: Userful’s Rise Vision CMS player allow you to configure any part of the 4×4 array into a Rise Vision Display. Userful can set up different Rise displays for Userful video wall groupings or single monitors and then display different presentations and schedules on each.

Multiple Array Content Development: If you need to demo, develop, present and co-ordinate high quality content for multiple arrays of different sizes and layouts, perhaps arrays in a single storefront or in different locations within a store. RPT can build smaller or larger CDS carts of any array configuration. Each additional CDS cart’s network switch would connect to the CDS 8K cart network switch with a single Ethernet cable. Once tested and deployed into the retail application, the single Userful server installation topology would be identical and the content resolution and user control functionally identical, only the size of the monitors changes. The RPT CDS 8K Cart’s Userful Software Video Wall server can control up to 100 screens in almost any combination of array layouts and input or CMS sources.

The future will have higher resolutions, bigger arrays, and more arrays per installation. RPT’s CDS 8K Cart is just one example of a unlimited number of RPT Content Development System configurations that we can build to help your video wall and content development sales grow into that future.

In a fast moving industry, we at RPT Motion Inc. look forward to helping you with your toughest challenges.

Contact RPT for more information:

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RPT Content Development System

RPT Motion Inc. CDS: Content Development System for Video Walls

Content Providers are a key market driver in the expanding video wall business.

Content attracts and engages target customers to ensure best possible return on the significant investment of video walls.

Concept stage:
In the concept stage of any project, your customer seeing real content on a real video wall is an important part of the decision process.

Video Wall Content providers need better tools to develop and demo concepts and layouts, as well as ways to test hardware, software and content in preparation for “going live” with zero surprises.

Lifetime Stage:
Once a video wall is deployed, especially a large or complex array layout, a constant stream of new content must be developed, adapted, produced, and debugged for the layout of each installed video wall.
Video Wall Content providers need better tools to more efficiently develop the highest quality reliable content.

RPT Modular Video Wall Content Development System (CDS):

RPT’s Content Development System (CDS) has been designed as a highly effective platform to conceptualize, develop, present, and test multi-monitor video walls.

RPT’s CDS is an ideal platform for Content Providers to prepare and test content that exactly matches the customer’s video wall.

What exactly is RPT’s Content Development System?

  • RPT’s CDS system is best described as a high quality 100% functionally identical Modular Video Wall Array on a much smaller scale (physical and cost) when compared to a full sized  installed video wall.
  • RPT’s CDS allows complete concept development, hardware and software integration and testing of complex video wall arrays in rectangular, mixed or artistic layouts.
  • Because of RPT’s CDS modular building block structure, the CDS system can be changed at any time to demo an almost unlimited range of array layouts and sizes.
  • Think of the RPT CDS as a perfect smaller scale model of video walls you sell and supply content for, exactly identical pixel counts, identical hardware functionality and identical layouts but on a smaller scale.
  • RPT’s CDS allows easy presentation and demo of exactly what a proposed video wall will look like with your content.
  • RPT’s CDS, like our full sized modular portable video walls, is built on a precision modular structural system that can be quickly reconfigured or expanded at any time to match virtually any layout of video wall that you need to sell or provide content for.
  • Once a concept, layout and content is tested on the RPT CDS, real world deployment is easy because the hardware and software remains identical, only the size of the monitors changes.
  • After full size deployment, the layout matching RPT CDS system is the perfect place to develop the stream of content that will be displayed in the real world. You can own one CDS  system and in a few hours reconfigure it to layout match any of the video walls you actively develop content for.

RPT CDS Monitor Block is the building block

The magic of the CDS system is a precision machined and assembled structural monitor block based on the superb NEC EX241UN 24″ monitor. Here’s a picture of 3 CDS Monitor Blocks ready to build into an array.

The CDS Monitor blocks quickly connect into rectangular arrays using a system of precision connectors that key into the CDS monitor blocks. Bezel alignment is controlled by precision assembly, and CDS Monitor blocks can be connected corner to corner or side to side, portrait to landscape with any stagger you might want.

Here’s a typical test stand structure in our perpetually messy demo shop:

This artistic display would take about 30 minutes of assembly time to build onto a CDS Cart and connect to a controller.

You can choose to use any video wall controller you want, but we have never found a better option than Userful’s Software Video Wall Server.  RPT’s CDS Monitor blocks are designed with an option for an integrated mount and ThinGlobal MiniPoint Ethernet Zero Client for Userful. That makes only two connections: a power cord and an Ethernet cable.

Our CDS wheeled carts can be built in to your needs in various sizes and usually include a RPT NetPDU module with a small 4U rack containing a Network Switch and a Power distribution. CDS Carts are modular and flexible. You can daisy chain CDS Carts with a single Ethernet cable Cart to cart.

Some RPT CDS Pictures

To help you visualize the power of RPT’s CDS system as well as the power of Userful’s Software Video Wall Controller, from a morning of testing the CDS system with four monitors in different layouts:

These are also a good example of the flexibility and power of Userful’s Software Video Wall Controller. Each new configuration took only a few minutes to set-up and align.

First layout sketch


Next layout Zig Zag test. Note that the entire artistic array is supported only on the left leg of the stand, so we can rotate it to see what different angles do with different content. This highlights the rigidity and accuracy of the RPT CDS Monitor Blocks.

Rotated down Zig-Zag, still only supported on left leg.

A 4 monitor CDS Arch layout for a customer considering a large walk through arch with two portrait on each side bridged by two landscape. Again, Userful is wonderful at quickly getting content on any configuration of any shape or size of video wall.

If you’d like more information on how RPT’s CDS Content Development System can help you speed the design, testing and deployment of  better video walls and content please contact us:

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