Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? What I’ve learned about dvLED.

One thing that keeps me interested in my career is that our industry is ever-evolving as technologies are introduced and evolve over time. After 17 years of working in the world of Pro AV distribution, I never stop learning new things. Most recently, I was tasked with learning about dvLED to help support our sales team and customers on projects. While I still have a lot to learn, here are some key takeaways that I can share based on what I have learned thus far.

Pixel Pitch & Viewing Distance

The term pixel pitch was new to me, but it is one of the key factors to think about when designing a dvLED display project. Simply put, pixel pitch is the measurement, in mm, between the individual LEDs or pixels, measured from the center of one LED to the center of the LED adjacent to it. Naturally, as the pixel pitch value decreases, the resolution in a fixed size cabinet increases and allows for a closer optimal minimum viewing distance.

For this reason, it is important that you discuss with the client where the closest viewer will be in relation to the display so that you can choose a pixel pitch that is appropriate for the specific application, remembering that as pixel pitch decreases, the equipment cost increases. As a general rule of thumb that has been shared with me, you can multiply the pixel pitch by 10 to give you the approximate closest viewing distance in feet. For example, the recommended minimum viewing distance for a 2.5-pixel pitch wall would be 25 feet.


If you are like me, then often when you think about display resolution for common applications it is typically 1080p (1920×1080), WUXGA (1920×1200), or 4K (3840×2160), understanding that there are many others, but these are most common. With flat panel displays and projectors, the image size can vary while the resolution remains constant. For example, a 4K display can be 55” in diagonal, 98” in diagonal, or several other sizes, but the resolution will always be 4K. With projection, a native WUXGA projector, whether displaying a 110” diagonal image, a 216” diagonal image, or any size for that matter, the resolution will always be 1920×1200. 

This is not the case with dvLED, as the individual LEDs (or “pixels”) mounted on the surface of the module are a fixed size, so that when the size of a dvLED display changes, so does the resolution. To illustrate this, let’s look at a dvLED panel that is 16:9, 27.5” in diagonal with a pixel pitch of 1.58. The resolution of this panel is 384×216. If you require a 1920×1080 display, you will need 25 panels in a 5×5 array making a 137.5” diagonal display, while if you require a 4K 3840×2160 display, you will need 100 panels in a 10×10 array making a 275” diagonal display, requiring four times the real estate!

Structural Considerations

In many cases, dvLED displays will either be wall-mounted or flown, although sometimes they can be ground stacked with the appropriate stacking hardware. Depending upon the size of the display, they can get quite heavy. For example, a recent 165” diagonal display (6×6 array) I quoted weighed just shy of 500lbs, and a 275” display (10×10 array) weighed over 1300 lbs. It is absolutely crucial that the structure or wall on which you are mounting the dvLED or the structure from which you are rigging can support the load. 

Additionally, in order for a successful installation, the dvLED cabinets need to be perfectly aligned along the x, y, and z axes so there are no visible seams between the individual panels that make up the display. Since most walls will have some imperfections and not be perfectly flat, you will be faced with either using shims or exploring mounting hardware that provides post-installation adjustment of all three axes.

Power and Data

Unlike a traditional flat panel or projector, the display does not have a single power cord with dvLED. Instead, depending upon the size and resolution of the display, multiple AC circuits are required. If we go back to the 165” 6×6 array I referenced earlier, this display required six dedicated 110v/10A outlets. In this case, each AC circuit is powering six panels with a main connection to the first, then daisy-chaining with power jumpers to the next five.

In addition to power, every dvLED display requires multiple data connections between the display and the dvLED controller/processor using data cabling, such as Cat6. The number of data runs will vary based on the overall resolution of the display, but you can expect that the manufacturer will advise you during the proposal stage on the required cabling and power requirements for the specific project.

I am seeing more and more projects come across my desk that involve dvLED, and there has been dramatic growth in overall product sales in the category over this last year. There is no reason to believe that these trends will not continue, and I look forward to continuing my education on the subject.

For more information, visit https://www.exertisalmo.com/products/direct-view-led-displays, and get in touch with your Exertis Almo regional service development manager today.

My Take on Samsung’s The Frame… The Most Beautiful TV You’ve Never Seen

Last week I was at CEDIA expo in San Diego and I got a firsthand look at the 2017 product of the year, The Frame.   Does it live up the hype? You bet it does.   Don’t worry if you missed it.  You can check it out for yourself at the www.e4avtour.com.

What impressed me was how difficult it was to tell which was The Frame and which was a work of art, even when standing inches away.

Here’s a video of me talking about some of my favorite features:

Samsung Art Tripod Stand

I have seen sleek wall mounted TVs, but never one that blends into wall décor like this.  The “No Gap” wall mount lives up to its name.  The mount actually counter sinks into the back of the display allowing it to sit flush against the wall.

Also on display at the booth was the art tripod stand with an ultra-thin fiber wire that runs to the one connect box that can be housed up to 15 meters away from the frame.

Samsung Booth at CEDIA

The Samsung Booth at CEDIA was so crowded with visitors all day it was nearly impossible to get this shot of the actual booth display.

It is truly no wonder that Samsung won the CEDIA 2017 New Product of the Year Award.

So where does this fit into the Pro AV market when it was obviously designed with the consumer in mind?  Think corporate lobbies, or the CEO’s boardroom, where many times interior designers are looking for less TV and more art.

Even better, to help integrators who are using these consumer products in Pro applications, there is this new portal for you!

The portal is ever evolving, but for now it is a one stop shop for custom installers with all the information that used to be scattered over main websites and portals.

Here’s a video of me explaining the portal:

San Diego Convention Center

Fish Market Restaurant

The San Diego Convention center was amazing!  You could walk just a couple blocks to the water.  As a new fan of seafood, I was not disappointed in my dinner at the Fish Market restaurant.  Right on the water and situated next to an air craft carrier, it was absolutely breath taking.

Jonathan Brawn of Brawn Consulting couldn’t have been nicer.  He knew the area and recommended the restaurant for dinner and filled us in on the history of the area.

The icing on the cake was a fireworks display launched from the bow of the USS Midway.

Thank you Samsung, for having me at CEDIA!

Share with us in the comments… In what Pro AV applications do you see The Frame?

Refined Southern Fare with a Story Only Digital Signage Can Tell

As a nod to The Kentucky Derby, a few classic cocktails were in order to celebrate New York’s Always Dreaming, the colt who was “ready to run” at Churchill Downs on Saturday and bolted over the finish line in first place despite the mucky track and acclaimed list of contenders.  A classic Mint Julep and craft Vodka Martinishaken not stirred-  a real James Bond way to start off the evening and we’re off to the races!

The restaurant business has evolved in the last decade with more importance than ever being placed on the quality of ingredients.  Daily Specials that used to offer what restaurants needed to closeout now feature dishes with seasonal ingredients and other buzz words like sustainably-sourced, organic, locally grown and gluten free.  Beyond great food, careful consideration goes into meticulous details that create the guest experience that will ultimately leave a lasting impression, for better or worse.  Kitchens have transitioned from being as far away from the dining room as possible to becoming a major element of restaurant design where the bustle of meal preparations actually contribute to the restaurant’s vibe. At Restaurant IRON, downtown Pensacola, FL in the heart of Palafox Street, their cozy kitchen isn’t just visible from the dining room…  For guests who want a closer look at the action, limited seating is available at the chef’s counter- a dining area overlooking the kitchen where guests become fully immersed in the experience to the point you almost feel part of the delicate dance between Executive Chef, Alex McPhail and his skillful team.

Although the décor is sleek and contemporary with an industrial flair, it was interesting that audio visual technology was minimal throughout the space.  Other than only a couple small (consumer grade) speakers for ecclectic background music and a hint of bass just enough to remind you this was a swanky place, this was a dining experience where the music didn’t overpower or obstruct your dinner conversation, a trend we’ve seen in recent years that many establishments have used to create atmosphere, or so they call it.  It was nice for a change to actually be able to hear well enough to have conversations with the parties next to us as we sat at the chef’s counter.

In fact if you listened closely with a little lip-reading to fill in the gaps, you could even catch a glimpse of the orders being called out to the kitchen staff by the chef.  To someone with years working in restaurants, it brought back such nostalgic feelings as it often does.  There’s nothing like watching a well-run staff (and kitchen in this case) in the high of the dinner service rush – these days from the other side of the table as a guest in great company enjoying the fine dining experience.

With roots in New Orleans, Bar Manager, Campbell Esquerre’s move to Pensacola has hit the mark with IRON’s craft cocktail inspired bar.  But between the kitchen and bar, let me tell you this place has stories to tell!  What if traditionally-printed dinner and drink menus were supplemented by the latest digital signage technology to up the ante inside the restaurant?  Statistics show digital signage drives revenues and there are plenty of creative ways a fine dining restaurant (whether in a standalone location or as part of a hotel property) can use technology to add visual interest to tell the story of the restaurants’ delectable food and intriguing libations and can also be used as an architectural or artistic design element known as techoratingNeed a few ideas? 

  • Content on making one-of-a-kind aged whiskey in miniature sized oak barrels right in the restaurant combined with footage on crafting one of IRON’s Smoked Manhattan cocktails by the restaurants’ bar manager (who happens to be a regular competitor at regional bar tending competitions).
  • Images from the local farmer’s market where some of the produce is sourced in keeping with the restaurants’ theme of local vegetables and herbs.
  • Footage of new seasonal menu items being artfully plated by the executive chef or pastry chef.

Chances are that many folks already get the concept that could be mimicked in digital signage but they’re using it in places outside the restaurant to help drive traffic to them from social media sources like Facebook or Instagram or other advertising media.  Almo resellers can help the hospitality industry take that message inside to drive revenues and boost profits during the guests’ stay while they’re ‘in the heat of the guest experience’ as we say.  The above pictured Samsung hospitality and pro units provide several different size options and the UD22B can even be used in a unique video wall configuration to create visual interest in an artistic way and can show one image/source across the entire array or multiple sources on each panel providing countless options for featuring food or restaurant shots, video content or promotional items like the gift card feature (right image).


What makes a hospitality business successful?  Long-standing places get their reputation by word of mouth, (we’ll save REVIEWS for another blog) but the bottom line is that the hospitality business is based on repeat customers, without them their days are numbered; whether it means they close their doors, are sold to new ownership or undergo a re-branding.  The best thing a reseller can do to help a hospitality client increase revenues using digital signage is to get to know their business, their mission, what makes their business unique, what they’re already doing for self-promotion and what their objectives are for adding a digital solution inside their space… but if this seems like too much to remember, don’t worry we’re here to help.

Our visit to Restaurant IRON was exceptional.  From the Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps and James Bond Martinis straight through to the Nutella Pie with salted pretzel crust and everything in between, the IRON team has passion and that’s an energy guests can see and feel.  In a quote by Campbell Esquerre when he expressed his mission was to “ensure the best possible service all while making new friends and repeat customers” it is obvious these guys are practicing what they preach and we will surely be back!

Digital Signage + Almo Pro A/V = Success in 2017!


Life wouldn’t be fun without change.  And 2016 was certainly full of exciting changes and new developments in the Pro AV Industry.  Technology has “Moved Beyond Limits” with exciting products like Dual view flat  O L E D Signage, O L E D Curved signage, Ultra Stretch Signage for widescreen dynamic digital content, borderless design video walls sporting 0.9 mm even panel bezels, content management offerings and WEBOS; all in one hardware and software platform to run and install software in a simplified solution.

LG OLED Signage
LG OLED Curved Signage
LG Ultra Stretch Signage

The future of digital signage has arrived. As we move into 2017, companies are evaluating their business. The industry’s new solutions present constant opportunities for growth, as well as the need for training and support to attack the occasional challenges in selecting the proper Pro AV solutions. www.digitalsignagetoday.com

For some organizations, the challenge of advancement lies in more fully using the new products that they discover. Budgeting and operational approaches can differ from the opportunities that lie ahead, which sometimes inhibits the innovation to be widely accepted and tested. Being innovative therefore entails defining approaches that are new to the organization, but also, advancing the ways that allow the benefits of these to be more fully realized.

The Outlook for Digital Signage in 2017 is MORE, MORE, MORE!

According to www.lynnbunn.com the proposition for 2017 is simple.  More digital signage equals more revenue – for end users that apply it, and the resellers that sell it.

2017 will be viewed as the “year of the enabled customer.” Companies that have used digital signage and supporting product lines will increase use.  The analysts predict current users will go bigger, as they begin to make a larger investment and expand their use.


As the largest professional audio visual distributor, Almo Pro A/V, is ready to provide not only the products in demand, but the support and specialized teams to help you build out solutions for your customers.
Included in those solutions is what I like to refer to as ALMO’s “Three Cs” of digital signage:
  • 1. ALMO CONTENT – Brings you and your clients an award winning team of high caliber designers, who understand the requirements of design for digital signage.
  • 2. ALMO CONNECT – Providing direction, suggestion and solutions for assisting your customers with installations through all the major carriers is the US.
  • 3. ALMO CONTROL – a team of specialists will assist with configuration and programming of control systems.


The Award-Winning Almo E4 AV Tour will hit the road again in the spring of 2017.   If you missed our 2016 tour, check this out!  It will provide you a great summary of our 2016 successes, accomplishments, and collaboration with our customers, as well as the trends in the world of Pro AV.

Interested?  You should be because Almo has an exciting line up for 2017

Mark your calendars for our first two E4 2017 Events in Chicago on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 and in San Jose on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Watch the video! ——->

For more information and to register, click on the link:  www.almoproav.com/education/list/e4avtour

5 Things You Didn’t Know ViewSonic Carries

When most people in the Pro AV industry hear ViewSonic, they typically think small cost effective projectors or flat panels.  What many people don’t realize is that besides the large flat panels, touch screens, laser projectors, etc., ViewSonic also offers products that provide a full solution for your Pro AV project.  For that reason, I’d like to introduce you to…

The top 5 things you didn’t know ViewSonic carries:



1. ePoster

Ok, technically this might fall under the “display” heading, but it’s definitely different than the average display.  This free-standing digital ePoster is perfect for retail applications, movie theaters, and trade shows.  With a built-in media player, optional touch interface, slim design and various inputs, it’s as versatile as it is attractive.


2. Media Players


A few display companies carry media players that work with their displays, but ViewSonic goes above and beyond with their choices.  They range from the easy to use, SMIL based  NMP642-W with HDMI input, to the Intel i7 based NMP712-N, so no matter what digital signage application you have, ViewSonic has the media player to fit your needs.



3. Thin Clients / Zero clients

With both thin and zero client options available, ViewSonic offers solutions that both the CIO and CFO will love.  With both options, dealers are able to deliver more to their clients than just what’s in the boardroom.


4. Wireless solutionspreview-full-SolsticePOD

The Solstice POD (NMP250-WL and NMP250-WU) offers a turnkey solution that easily connects a display or projector and enables multiple users to simultaneously share content from a rang of devices (laptops, tablets, or smartphones).preview-full-viewsync_3


The ViewSync 3 Wireless Presentation Gateway enable instant streaming of 1080p content from multiple devices to a single projector or display.


5. Peripherals and Accessories

Projects aren’t complete without some essentials, including mounts, cables, HDBaseT transmitters and receivers, and even cable management.   Dealers spend time looking to various manufacturers to provide those solutions, when ViewSonic offers them all.   So next time you’re looking for a manufacturer that you can lean on to provide the full solution, look no further than ViewSonic.

Building Customer Connections Through Technology Show and Tell

As a product manager in Pro AV Sales, or any type of sales, really, it’s critical to be able to connect with your customers.  While establishing a relationship using only the telephone is not impossible, I’ve discovered that connections and rapport can be made more quickly and become much stronger in-person.  A great way to personally connect with partners and resellers in the Pro AV world is through technology training and product roadshows.  It’s a great way to say, “check this new gadget out” and “thank you for your business!”

At Almo PRO AV we bring the future of AV to you via our E4 AV Tour.  These one-day events, held in different cities across the country offer product exhibit halls, educational classes for CTS renewal units, demonstrations, and one-on-one engagement with our Almo Pro AV Business Development Managers and their respective manufacturers.

For me… it’s all about LG!


At our most recent E4 AV Tour stop in Boson, Commercial Integrator Magazine named LG a leading manufacturer with “Standout Products” for its OLED technology, suggested to be “one of the most eye-catching displays on the exhibit floor.”

IMG_0723 IMG_0724

LG’s 4K dual-sided OLED straight displays are available now.  The curved models are coming late this month.

At the end of September, Almo sponsored an invitation-only reseller event at the LG Business Innovation Center in Lincolnshire, IL.  Approximately 25 resellers attended this event and enjoyed in-person training on LG’s exclusive OLED, IPS technology and a private tour of the facility.  Product demonstrations showcased a full assortment of LG products, including LG Stretch, 4k, OLED dual side and curved models, video walls and the soon to be released 98” display.  Steve Stacy, Almo’s VP of Sales for the Midwest and Northwest Regions delivered a summary presentation on Almo’s Value Add services such as Content Management, Installation and Connectivity.

25 19

Our events provide hand-on technical training as a component of social learning and partner collaboration.  I look forward to building new partnerships and strengthening the existing ones in a comfortable, friendly setting that opens lines of communication.

Looking ahead, the Almo E4 AV Tour makes its final stop in 2016 on Tuesday Dallas in the Lone Star State.  As we wind down the year we’re continuing to plan new and exciting ways to bring our partners and resellers emerging technologies.

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