When using a stand-alone video wall, without a complex network infrastructure, your best option is one of Barco’s single video wall controllers. Applications range for small walls (e.g. consisting of 4 displays in a 2x2 configuration) to large walls with up to 64 displays in total. This type of controllers is common for video walls which operate stand-alone and are not part of a large network, for example in corporate lobbies or in simple digital signage applications.
When the video wall is integrated in a large networked visualization infrastructure, and should be able to display images coming from many different sources located in many different places around the world, these are the controllers you need.
The concept of networked visualization is very easy to understand. Simply connect a source (a road camera, a sensor, a computer, etc.) to the suited encoder to get the video, images or data into the secure IP-based system. The standard internet infrastructure will transport this information wherever you want, all over the world. At the destination side, a decoder makes sure the information is ready for use on any display. Service nodes can be added to the network for additional processing.
Such a networked system is essential in critical decision-making environments. Here, all stakeholders (including higher management, control room operators, remote experts and field workers) need to collaborate in the most efficient way possible. This includes sharing information between the control room, the breakout-rooms and to field workers. The control room often operates as a central intelligence hub, where all information is gathered, processed and distributed.
Barco’s TransForm N networked visualization system is the leading platform for information distribution to and between control rooms. The system is fully modular so it grows with your needs. Adding additional sources or destinations (single monitors or full video walls) to this infrastructure is just a matter of plugging in extra input or output nodes. This makes TransForm N a safe investment for the future. CMS, Barco’s control room management suite, enables the operators to display exactly the information they need on the video wall at any time. Using perspectives, which are predefined groups of information that logically go together, the users can quickly visualize the information they need to see at the moment. For example, in the control room of a power plant, there is a big difference between the information the operators need to monitor in normal operating mode, or in the case of an incident. Using perspectives allows the operators to switch swiftly between these different circumstances.
For more complex content, including 3D images, or when needing more artistic freedom to position the content (for example to display picture-in-picture windows or using transition effects), you need all the image processing power you can get. Barco’s leading image processing products, well-known for use in complex projector setups, are also perfect to drive video walls. This is especially interesting for applications that need to create a ‘wow’-effect, like in experience centers or large corporate lobbies. The freedom to create spectacular layouts, when needed even in real-time, lifts the video wall experience to a completely new level.
Windows or Linux?
An important parameter in selecting your video wall controller, is the operating system. Barco offers both Windows and a slightly adapted Linux version. Windows is commonly used when users have frequent interaction with the video wall interface. The familiar environment will allow them to get started with little or no training. Linux, on the other hand, offers additional security and is great for networked systems. Furthermore, these controllers are generally more economic as no Windows license needs to be paid.
Loop-through using DisplayPort
Using DisplayPort to connect to the video wall has a big advantage. It allows you to use a loop-through system, driving 4 Full HD screens with just one cable. This not only limits the number of cables used, but also minimizes installation time.