Although there are LCD panels designed specifically to be built into videowall configurations, installing the panels is not as intuitive as it might seem.
What’s more, an installation that appears initially successful can create unforeseen problems in the future, significantly reducing the lifespan of the LCD panels.
What differentiates a professional video-wall installation from an amateur job or one-off?
There are several characteristics that distinguish a professional video-wall installation:
- Adequate cooling
- Easy maintenance access and panel replacement
- Well-organized and labeled cables
- Professional-grade components
- Precise panel alignment
- Color uniformity and appropriate settings
- Power conditioning and sequencing
- Appropriate design
Each of the above can have far-ranging consequences over the course of a video wall’s lifespan. Getting any of them wrong puts your investment at risk and raises the total cost of ownership for an otherwise successful video wall.
A professional video-wall installation takes cooling into consideration. While different LCD panels can handle different variations of ambient temperature, all panels require their internal components, including power supply and circuit boards, to be kept sufficiently cool. If not, reliability can be compromised.
A professional video-wall installer will measure peak operating temperatures to ensure the wall isn’t running too hot. This is especially important if the video wall is expected to run on a 24 / 7 basis.
If a video wall runs too hot, problems may not surface until after the first or second year of operation. At this time, the LCD panels can unexpectedly start to fail with increasing frequency.
Easy maintenance access and panel replacement
The average video wall has a lifespan of 5-7 years. During this time, one or more LCD panels will likely need to be repaired or replaced.
The mounting apparatus of the video wall should accommodate easy access to the LCD panels, facilitating easy removal if necessary.
As with cooling, panel access usually goes unnoticed unless it is done incorrectly. And it probably won’t be apparent until panels begin to fail or require maintenance. Knowing what to expect ahead of time, and being able to anticipate issues before they become serious problems, distinguishes the professional video-wall installer from the amateur.
Well-organized and labeled cables
The larger and more complex the video wall, the more cables it needs. Some video walls require hundreds of cables each. Thus, it is crucial that all cables be professionally run and properly labeled.
You may not need to trace a cable now, but two years from now – when a LCD panel has gone out and you don’t know why – you will be extremely glad you can easily identify the cables connected to that panel.
Just as in the world of consumer electronics, the world of AV hardware is filled with a large variety of components with seemingly identical specs and capabilities – but built to drastically different standards.
The professional video-wall installer knows what hardware lasts vs. what doesn’t, and even what cables stand the test of time vs. what don’t. The amateur video-wall installer cannot differentiate quality components from shoddy ones.
Precise panel alignment
Panel alignment can be the most difficult aspect of a tiled video-wall installation. Manufacturing fault tolerances in the LCD panels are significant enough to make perfect alignment very difficult – even if the right mounting hardware is used.
Adjustments have to be anticipated before the installation begins. The professional video-wall installer knows the correct alignment techniques, has learned them through hours of practice and is prepared to utilize them during installation to ensure perfect alignment.
Color uniformity and appropriate settings
Color uniformity is a common issue with tiled video walls. This issue can be overcome, but it often requires the use of specialized calibration equipment. The professional video-wall installer will have such equipment and will know how to use it.
In addition to color uniformity, the following settings also need adjusting:
Running the video wall at the optimal settings is crucial to ensure lower temperatures while simultaneously producing a sharper image.
Power conditioning and sequencing
In order to last their full 5-7 years, large video walls require adequate power conditioning. Although today’s LCD panels are much more energy-efficient than previous display technologies, large LCD video walls nonetheless require large quantities of power.
The install location must not only have adequate power for the video wall, but it must also be able to deliver the power consistently. If the voltage fluctuates, becoming too high and/or too low, the power supplies to the LCD panels can wear out prematurely.
Proper power sequencing is crucial also to prevent large fluctuations in power draw when the video wall turns on and off. Such fluctuations can take a toll on the building’s overall power.
The professional video-wall installer is trained and competent in identifying power-supply issues that can affect the performance and longevity of your video wall.
The most important video-wall design considerations should take place before installation can begin.
The following issues need to be considered:
- Size and configuration
- Venue and application
- Viewing distance
- Type of content being viewed
- User interface
If these design issues are not taken into consideration, even a professional-grade videowall installation won’t produce successful results.
A professional video-wall installer is necessary to protect your investment of a LCD video wall. A do-it-yourself approach is likely to compromise the reliability, performance, and longevity of your video wall – perhaps even your safety. It’s a risk as foolish as it is avoidable. Hire a professional to install your video wall.