Video Wall for Digital Signage
Video Wall for Digital Signage is an array of two or more screens that each display a part of the content and together all the screens make up the full picture. There are several ways to set up a video wall, however, in this article we’ll look at some of the solutions out there and how to set up Play for video walls and menu boards in general.
You can find more information on menu boards and video walls in our blog post.
Hardware-based Video Wall
Keep in mind the solutions below are just a few of the solutions on the market.
AMD Eyefinity is part of AMD’s graphics card driver software suite (Catalyst Control Center). In order to use Eyefinity, you’ll need AMD graphics cards, so keep this in mind when choosing a player device for your video wall. This software merges screens into a single unit on a driver level so that Windows sees all screens as a single unit. You do not need a separate player when choosing the AMD Eyefinity solution.
See our article on how to set up AMD Eyefinity.
Similar to AMD Eyefinity, Nvidia Surround is software for combining several displays into a single virtual display, see how to set it up.
Matrox has been doing video wall solutions for several years and in recent years great products for smaller menu boards and video walls and at an affordable price. Matrox QuadHead2Go is one of their out-of-the-box controllers that works great when building menu boards and video walls, the QuadHead2Go supports 4 screens connected through HDMI and makes it easy to set up a 1×4 or 2×2 menu board and video wall. In addition, the QuadHead2Go is also available in a PCIe version controller. Using the QuadHead2Go or any other similar multi-monitor controller you will be needing a separate player.
Most large manufacturers, like Samsung, LG, etc. offer Daisy Chain in their professional product line. Daisy Chain means you can connect multiple screens through the screen’s HDMI ports. When connected you can set up almost any amount of screens into a super large video wall. Depending on the brand, model, specification, etc. these screens support anything from 4 to unlimited screens. If Daisy Chain is the preferred solution you don’t need an additional controller, but you will be needing a separate player.
Software-based Video Wall
The software-based Video Wall for Digital Signage is something we’ve been seeing on the market more recently, we have not had the chance to test out all the providers on the market.
Userfull and other providers providing software-based solutions are cloud-based. This means your video walls are centrally managed and all configuration is made online. As you can imagine it’s not really possible to eliminate all the hardware when working with video walls, you need something to connect the screens and the cloud. In most cases you install a piece of software on the screen or add a small HDMI to the Internet bridge – In both cases what you get is a communication bridge between the cloud and the screen.
Can I simply use Extend mode?
In our Windows / Mac / Linux application settings, you can resize the window to span across 2 screens, so it is also possible this way. However, depending on the display brand, graphics drivers, and operating system it can’t be guaranteed that the application will restore to the correct position after a restart (thus we urge you to test several times that the application always launches overall extended monitors). Therefore using Eyefinity is more reliable as it bypasses Window management and scaling altogether.
LED signs and totems
LED signs are the biggest and most amazing signs we find around the world. Cities like New York, Las Vegas, Tokyo, and much more go for huge investments in large-area screens. Just like any other screen a LED screen needs a player and software to handle the content.
Our software is very well suited if you’re running LED signs, in addition, our software offers several ways of arranging advertising content on your it.
Setting it up
In a world of LED signs, you will be working with pixel ratio and not aspect ratio or resolution. Our experience is that the best result is achieved if you design your content using the same pixel ratio as the LED screen. (Example: If your LED screen is 512 pixels wide and 218 pixels high, then you need a playlist with the same pixel ratio.
The process of adding a LED screen in Play is the same as any other screen except for a few things.
- You can’t publish a standard 16:9 playlist to a LED screen, so when you’re creating your playlist you need to open advanced and input your pixel ratio where is standard says 16:9. If the LED screen is 512 pixels wide and 218 pixels high, you input 512:218. You can read more on creating playlists with custom aspect ratios in our display zones guide.*
- You might need to adjust your screen edges to compensate for graphical translations. If the content is not centered on the LED screen open settings for the player and adjust the screen edges so that they fit perfectly. Depending on the setup you might need to input the pixel ratio in screen edges.
* Please note that this feature is only available for paid users.
It’s important, when you create content, that you keep all files as small as possible to minimize the resources running the hardware. So let’s say you want to add a background image with a 1920:1080 resolution on a 512:218 screen we do advise you to downscale the image, in this example, we would downscale according to the height of the screen and add 20% (512:288 +25% = 640:360).
Also keep in mind white is a no-go for larger areas of your content, you should always avoid white backgrounds and content with very light colors. The reason is that LEDs have a max. output when they are white and max. output is the same as high power consumption, high temperature, shortened lifespan, etc.
AMD Eyefinity is a way to do Video Wall for Digital Signage and is part of AMD’s graphics card driver software suite (Catalyst Control Center). In order to use Eyefinity, you’ll need AMD graphics cards, so keep this in mind when choosing a player device for your video wall. This software merge displays into a single unit on a driver level so that Windows sees all displays as a single unit.
Setting it up
If you haven’t already, install AMD Graphics Drivers.
In this guide we’ll create a simple 2×1 video wall, however, you can even use several AMD graphics cards. We’ll start out by connecting the displays to the computer, so this is how Windows detects them:
You can launch “AMD Catalyst Control Center” by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting the option from the context menu. On the left menu navigate to “Create Eyefinity Display Group”:
When you’re done, Windows should now see all your displays as a single unit:
Now that the display output of Windows is split into 2 sections by the graphics drivers, our application also treats it as a single display, so business as usual. In this case, we joined 2 displays horizontally, so when creating content, your playlist aspect ratio should match the virtual display. So instead of the usual 16:9 aspect ratio, you should create a playlist with a 32:9 aspect ratio (or use resolution 3840:1080 when creating a playlist). You can read more on creating playlists with custom aspect ratios in our display zones guide.
Does Nvidia have something similar?
Nvidia has similar functionality called Surround. We don’t have a guide on that, but we found an excellent guide on it.