By Mary Peterson
Visual displays and digital signage have come a long way and have experienced immense growth within the global video wall market in the last few years. That said, why is this trend starting to evolve so rapidly now? Many of the constraints businesses have experienced with video wall displays—like overcoming daylight glare and creating more customized shapes—are becoming issues of the past. Today, sign companies can offer their clients endless video wall capabilities thanks to the latest features of liquid crystal display (LCD) and light-emitting diode (LED) displays. These screens deliver a more immersive, realistic experience with added flexibility.
That said, video walls are not only successful because the technology fits. Getting the desired outcome of high-quality visuals through LCD and LED video walls requires strategic design, planning, and execution, which is illustrated through a number of instances discussed below. These examples explain how sign companies can use these different technologies to help businesses overcome challenges, as well as demonstrate the direction video walls are headed.
Two ways to build a video wall
The two most commonly used technologies for creating video walls are LCD and LED—two very different technologies that sometimes get confused.
The current generation of LCD video displays use LED lighting to illuminate a thin liquid crystal layer from behind or around the edges. The latest generation of indoor LED displays is also commonly referred to as ‘direct-view.’ This is due to the viewers’ ability to look directly at the tiny LEDs creating the visual. This differs from LCD, as these screens simply use LED technology as a hidden light source.
MicroLED technology, the latest innovation in LED displays, transfers micrometre-scale LEDs into modules. The result resembles wall tiles comprised of mass-transferred clusters of almost microscopic lights. Mounted together as a uniform canvas and plugged in, they create a visual experience similar to what one would get with premium quantum dot light-emitting diode (QLED) TVs.
LCD video walls
LCD video walls deliver high-definition visuals with some showcasing up to 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) technology. One of the key features separating these displays from LED technology is the ability to have visuals look great from any distance or direction, including wide-viewing angles. Touch interactivity is another feature made possible, as it is easy to introduce by adding overlays or sensor frames around the perimeter of the display.
LCD video walls are often built by piecing individual displays together in a larger rectangle shape using a variety of clusters. In recent years, some new inventive shapes and clusters have adapted ideas such as herringbone patterns, or used unusual square LCDs to mix and match with more conventional rectangular displays.
What truly differentiate LCD from LED displays are the frames (bezels) around the edge, which hold the screens in place. Previously, LCD video walls had very noticeable gridlines because of thicker bezels, which resulted in interrupted visuals as they were disturbed by these large seams.
Today, with advances in display technology, the industry is seeing far thinner bezels. The effect is
the seams between the displays almost entirely disappear. LCD screens with ultra-narrow bezels typically carry a premium price. Costs decrease, however, as the bezels get thicker.