Breaking Down DVLED part 5 – First Things First

Part 5: First Things First

Topic: The importance of proper site prep.

I remember working in the garage as a kid with my dad, and it seemed like 80% of the time we were cleaning up and 20% of the time we were actually working on a project. He would always say, “a clean workspace is a safe workspace!”

I didn’t really appreciate that wisdom then, but I do now.

Whether you are hanging and banging a 50-inch LCD display in a conference room or installing and commissioning a 220-inch LED video wall in an auditorium, the same wisdom applies in terms of making sure the site is ready, all the tools for the job are on hand, and the project punch list is ready to execute.

For dvLED displays, the site prep requirements are pretty rigid, and for good reason. I’m going to discuss a few universal requirements that you will run into on almost every dvLED project.

To begin, often times a tech will be scheduled to come onsite to assist with or even perform the installation. They are typically slated to be onsite for a limited window of time. It is the integrators responsibility to ensure that everything is ready for them to jump in and start working when they arrive to the site. Delays could be cause for extending the time required for the tech to be onsite. This usually leads to change orders. And we all know how much our customers dislike those!

Another important site requirement spec that you will undoubtedly run into are power and data requirements. Big walls require more power, and as such, this requires more outlets. AV integrators aren’t electricians, so it’s critical to have the proper spec requirements in advance to provide to the end user. Fortunately, many vendors, such as Absen and others, provide this information via written specs and technical drawings.

voltage-diagram

One of the most important considerations when installing a dvLED video wall is the actual wall surface that it is mounting to. Since dvLED walls are made up of multiple cabinets and modules and are, by nature, designed to be seamless, it is very important to ensure that there are no seams! This is why you will often see requirements for cabinet or marine grade plywood backing. At minimum, BC Sanded One-Side will be required to ensure that the X-axis is completely flat and true. Considering the cost of the video wall, the extra investment in some plywood is a small price to pay to ensure the wall is perfect.

Finally, you need a plan to dispose of all the waste that is left behind. A typical video wall might ship in four or five large wooden crates, with dozens of large cartons and packages enclosed. This can result in a literal mountain of trash. Have a plan to remove this from this site as you go. A cluttered work area is a hazardous work. So as a wise man once said, “a clean workspace is a safe workspace.” Thanks dad…

This concludes my five-part series on Breaking Down DVLED. I hope you have found these articles useful, and I encourage you all to reach out to me directly if you have dvLED projects on the horizon that I can assist you with.
Check out my other installments if you haven’t already:

Part 1: Got Spares?
Topic: The importance of having spares when purchasing / commissioning a DVLED video wall.

Part 2: Cabinets and Modules and Panels, Oh My!!!
Topic: The anatomy of a DVLED video wall.

Part 3: Perfect Pitch
Topic: The importance of selecting the right pixel pitch the first time

Part 4: The First Step in Installing a DVLED Video Wall is Admitting You Need Help
Topic: Commissioning Assistance and Why it’s Important.

Tom Keefe BDM

About the Author

Tom Keefe | CTS, DMC-D-4K, DSCE

Business Development Manager – Brand Specialist

Supported Manufacturers: Absen

The Multi-Use Video Wall

There was a time in the not so recent past, when the technology, design, and installation of video walls was financially out of reach of the average business. Not only was it a large financial investment, but there was typically a major time investment by the user to learn how to properly operate the system.

Some of you may have had an experience in the past (or possibly even recently) where you walked into a conference room containing a 2 x 2 video wall, a control panel on the table, and cables seemingly growing from somewhere within. The space that was meant to be a showpiece, ended up being a source of much frustration, as non-technical users struggled to share their presentations, or even turn on the displays. Meetings would start late as the presenter attempted to find the correct cable and press the correct series of buttons. Forget about using it to watch the big game during some after-work bonding.

As technology has improved, and costs have come down, video walls are no longer reserved for the uber rich corporations, pro sports team, or mega churches. Instead, they’ve become almost ubiquitous, appearing at your local fitness center, airport, house of worship, or even in the entrance of a tanning salon.

More than ever, video walls need to be easy to understand, and easy to manage. Because many of the smaller companies investing in a video wall have limited space, these video walls must also be multi-purpose. Instead of being set aside specifically for quarterly board member presentations, they are now used for an impromptu employee meeting, a hybrid sales meeting, employee entertainment, or showing off your latest project to a prospective client.

Since the popularity has continued to grow, more integrators are being asked to design and install large video wall systems. Previously, the integrator would need to be very familiar with ISF guidelines for calibration, and walls would need to be re-calibrated every few months. Now, such advancements like auto calibration, or pre-calibrated dvLED bundles, the barrier to entry is much smaller.

Let’s take a look at some current technology we can utilize to create an easy to use, easy to manage, video wall with multiple functions.

Display technology

Video walls are no longer limited to a number of ultra-thin bezel displays arranged in a matrix, with an expensive, multiple input processor behind it. Because of the decrease in pixel size, as well as cost, a fine pixel pitch dvLED display in either 16:9, 21:9, or 32:9 aspect ratio would offer an affordable, long lasting, and easy to manage solution. Popular display manufacturers like LG have “all in one” packages that include the mount, cabinets, controller, dvLED modules and even sound. The installation has been simplified, and the modules come pre calibrated so they look great out of the box.

dvLED video wall

There are a number of benefits of using a dvLED display including no bezels, 100,000 half-life, and a controller with multiple inputs. The best thing, many models can be controlled with the same remote control that you use on the 55” display in your breakroom.

The next step is to determine the Main Use of this display, and what additional technology is necessary.

Main Usage: Presentation

A presentation is the type of application typically found in a boardroom. A manufacturer whose name has become synonymous with wireless presentations is Barco. Since the introduction of the Barco Clickshare, wireless presentations have become the norm, and many manufactures have followed suit, chasing the Clickshare success.

The Barco product allows users to walk into any Clickshare enabled space, and quickly and wirelessly present content from any device, including a cell phone or tablet. For more details, I suggest contacting your Exertis Almo rep, or one of our Barco BDMs.

But what about when the room isn’t being used for presentations? With the Clickshare device, you have additional flexibility, including digital signage. With a few quick steps, you can use the Clickshare to display digital signage presentation when not in wireless presentation mode. Keep people informed, inspired, and impressed (borrowed that from Barco).

digital signage

Now, adding some entertainment to the mix is a simple as sharing content from your personal device via the wireless system, or using a Barco model with HDMI inputs to add in your cable or satellite (you could also use a secondary input on the video wall).

Main Usage: Digital Signage

There are quite a few video walls installed whose only purpose will continue to be digital signage. These tend to be located in public spaces such as airports, stadiums, or Times Square. For less public applications, there may be times when the owners of these large displays would like to utilize them for other purposes, like a sales meetings, or entertainment. Digital signage software companies, like Enplug, understood the need and took action. Using a BrightSign player, which is built for digital signage, and the Enplug CMS, the owner not only gets a reliable, easy to manage digital media player, but they add in the flexibility to show live TV (using an HDMI input on the XT1145), share content from a mobile device (streaming through the Enplug software), or even control the various other AV products in the room via RS232.

Main usage: UC (Zoom Room / Teams Room)

Teams or Zoom rooms continue to gain popularity as the workforce continues to be divided between on-site and at home employees. These rooms allow for collaboration between people in various locations. Previously these rooms were used exclusively for these applications, which obviously limits their usefulness. Zoom and Microsoft recognized the value of adding additional flexibility and have added digital signage functionality to their platform.

Unfortunately, for live TV, or other entertainment features, the user would need to utilize the additional inputs, or smart features of their display.

There are many other uses for video walls, and odd aspect ratios, or mosaic type walls still require expertise. However, I hope that I’ve provided some insight on how current technology has made creating a flexible, easy to manage, and easy to operate video wall a project that any AV integrator can tackle. If you wish to learn more about video walls, digital signage, or other technology that Exertis Almo partners with, please visit the Exertis Almo website, and navigate to the page on our many BDMs. Let us work with you on finding the right technology for your next project.

Todd Heberlein
About the Author

Todd Heberlein | CTS, DMC-D-4K, DSCE

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Digital Signage Services, Technical (National), BrightSign

Episode 4, Hot Takes with Maz & Wheelz

This Video Series was recorded by Exertis Almo's Business Development Managers: 
Dan Mazurkiewicz, DSCE, and Liz Wheeler, DSCE.

“Hot Takes” with Maz & Wheelz – a video series of conversations about LED technology.

Episode 4 of “Hot Takes” with Maz & Wheelz! This episode with Exertis Almo’s Business Development Managers, Daniel Mazurkiewicz and Liz Wheeler, with ‘hot takes’ from guest Jonathan Brawn, Principal at Brawn Consulting, on Samsung’s WMB Series – Flip Pro All-in-One Digital Flipchart Collaborative Display.

Watch to listen in on their conversation!

Did you find this video helpful? Connect with us and #TeamExertisAlmo over on LinkedIn.

Find more episodes on the Exertis Almo YouTube Channel.

Liz Wheeler

Liz Wheeler | DSCE

Business Development Manager

 

Supported Manufacturers: Samsung Pro (NE, SE, MW)

Dan Mazurkiewicz

Dan Mazurkiewicz | DSCE

Business Development Manager

 

Supported Manufacturers: Samsung Pro (SW, West, NW)

Breaking Down DVLED part 4 – The 1st Step in Installing a DVLED Video Wall is admitting you need help

Part 4: The First Step in Installing a DVLED Video Wall is Admitting You Need Help

Topic: Commissioning Assistance and Why it’s Important.

asking for helpI’m one of those people who always says “no” to any extras when I make a big purchase. I sometimes feel bad for the finance guy at the car dealership, because I know from the onset that he isn’t going to sell me on a single extra service or add-on. It’s a painful ten minutes of me smiling and saying, “That sounds great! No thank you.” If there was a poster child for the adage, “Men never ask for directions,” I’d be it. To be honest, I just feel like I’m capable and I can figure things out for myself. Admittedly, this approach has rendered mixed results at best…

misaligned digital signage contentThis brings me to the topic of this edition of Breaking Down DVLED, The First Step in Installing a DVLED Video Wall is Admitting you Need Help!

If you have been selling DVLED for any length of time, you will be sure to have noticed that vendors are often rigid with their installation requirements. Some require the integrator to complete a certification course, usually onsite and over the course of a couple of days, in order to sell their product. Some even require that their service technicians commission the entire project. At minimum, most vendors require that one of their service technicians or a certified individual be onsite to assist and oversee the installation. This is generally an additional paid service, but there are some instances where the service is included. Finally, a few vendors will waive the requirement to have a branded or certified technician onsite, but will require that an add-on insurance-type fee be paid to cover any damage during installation by the integrator.

To many integrators, all the above can seem unpalatable. My goal here is to educate you on why this type of hands-on service is not only necessary, but more importantly, a critical component to ensuring the project is completed in the most cost-efficient manner. It really just boils down to the concept of, “Time is Money.”

time-is-money

First, let’s clarify what onsite service includes. In most cases, there are two types of service offered for DVLED installation, “guided” and “full service.” Full service is self-explanatory, a full crew handles all aspects of the installation and commissioning of the wall. Service like this can be obtained by working with Exertis Almo Services or, in limited cases, the vendor. Guided, onsite installation support, like what is offered by brands such as Absen and others, consists of a single technician coming onsite to lead the integration. This individual will typically be hands-on in all aspects of the labor side, and perform any necessary programing, setup, and training for the integrators team and the end user. This service guarantees that the job will be completed on-time, and that any potential snags are dealt with expediently. Having a branded technician assist with the installation also provides liability protection to the integrator in the event of any mishaps or product damage that occurs during the project under the umbrella of warranty coverage.

So how does this relate to “Time is Money?” In almost all cases, when having a designated vendor technician onsite, you do not have to expend any of your own human capital on line-items, such as labor or programming. Additionally, an onsite vendor tech will cut hours if not days from the installation time, and the end-user will have a great experience in terms of product training and support from the vendor. This reflects positively on the integrator, thereby promoting repeat business. Finally, a vendor technician will ensure that everything is tested before leaving the job to avoid any unnecessary returns to the jobsite to address anything that was potentially missed during the installation process.

All these benefits, taken together, equate to a world-class level of service, a better customer experience, and fewer headaches—that always cost money—down the road. It is important to remember that a DVLED wall has exponentially more components than a traditional LCD wall and it is far easier to damage LED modules than a prebuilt LCD display. DVLED is also a relatively new technology and most integrators have not yet established the learning curve benefits that come with repeated commissioning. By having a trained and qualified vendor onsite, the integrators team essentially receives free, hands-on training that can be applied to future projects.

installation team

In summary, whether you are a consummate skeptic like me and always say “no” to offers for additional assistance or are simply someone who is confident in their abilities based on experience, the benefits of accepting qualified help for DVLED installations is not only necessary, but essential to maximizing your bottom line.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for my next installment of Breaking Down DVLED:

Part 5: First Things First
Topic: The importance of proper site prep and conducting a proper site survey

Check out my other installments if you haven’t already:

Part 1: Got Spares?
Topic: The importance of having spares when purchasing / commissioning a DVLED video wall.

Part 2: Cabinets and Modules and Panels, Oh My!!!
Topic: The anatomy of a DVLED video wall.

Part 3: Perfect Pitch
Topic: The importance of selecting the right pixel pitch the first time

Tom Keefe BDM

About the Author

Tom Keefe

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Absen

All About DVLED Mounts with Peerless-AV’s Megan Zeller

Exertis Almo’s Pro AV Podcast with Peerless-AV

In this episode of Exertis Almo’s Pro AV Podcast, we sat down with Megan Zeller, Sr Director Business Development at Peerless-AV, to discuss the company’s history, bespoke mount production, and what you need to know about installing mounts for digital signage…including Direct View LED,  like this stunning dvLED video wall in Las Vegas.

Contact Exertis Almo for product info, inventory availability, or to start a quote.

Enjoy this video content? Check out the Exertis Almo YouTube channel for more.

Breaking Down DVLED part 3 – Perfect Pitch

Part 3: Perfect Pitch

Topic: The importance of selecting the right pixel pitch the first time.

During my college years, I worked on a deck building crew during the summers. My boss was a battle-hardened old carpenter who often muttered, “Measure twice and cut once. We didn’t bring the board stretcher today.” This adage is as true in commissioning AV systems as it is in carpentry.

Let’s be honest, Indoor DVLED walls are expensive. And they should be!!! The visual experience is second to none, and it’s not close. Companies are concerned with getting their brand image and messaging across clearly and impactfully, and DVLED walls deliver. Assuming, of course, that the right product is selected.

If a client is dropping six figures on a DVLED display, it is critical that the integrator gets it right the first time. Putting up video walls is labor intensive enough. The notion of ever having to take a wall down because the customer was dissatisfied with the end result would be disastrous. And really, when it comes to DVLED, the only conceivable reason a client would be disappointed would be due to selecting a pixel pitch that was too large for the application.

customer communication

In the world of LCD displays or modern-day TV’s, most end users are primarily concerned with size and resolution. For example, a high definition (1080p) image will look the same—relatively speaking—regardless of image size, on a conventional LCD display from any reasonable viewing distance. The pixel density is so…um…dense…that any perceived “pixelization” will be negligible to the average human eye.

My friends, this is not so with DVLED. If you remember from my previous blog, Cabinets and Modules and Panels, Oh My, I described how DVLED pixels can be thought of as a grid of dots that make up an image. Think, Paint by Numbers. The more dots you jam into the same relative space, the clearer the image. Additionally, the closer you are to the display, the easier it will be to see the grid-lines. So, this would lead to reason that in order to produce a good DVLED image, you need the right amount of dots, in the right amount of physical space, that are viewed from the right distance.

pixel pitch vs resolution

Thus, I present to you the most important spec of all, when selecting a DVLED wall, the Pixel Pitch. Expressed in numerical values such as 0.7, 0.9, 1.2, 1.5, 1.9. 2.5, 3.7, 4.0 and so on, the pixel pitch indicates the center-to-center distance in millimeters of one pixel to the next. The smaller the number, the closer together the pixels are.

Now, I know we all love using handy math equations and standards in the AV industry, but unfortunately, selecting the right pixel pitch is a bit of an art. The most popular and generally accepted “standard” that is thrown around is Distance / 10. This means that to select the right pixel pitch, you need to take the distance in feet of the closest viewer and divide by 10. The quotient (aka. answer), should get you in the neighborhood of what an appropriate pixel pitch selection would be. For example, if the closest viewer is 10ft away from the display then the appropriate pixel pitch would be 1.0. Similarly, if the closest viewer was 25ft away the best pixel pitch would be 2.5.

viewing distance

Beyond this simple calculation, we need to go a little bit further and consider other factors like intended use, the type of content and the specific needs of the audience or viewer. In cases like retail or entertainment, where full motion video and large print will be the primary content and the average viewing distance and viewing range are very wide, pixelization is probably less of an issue. In an executive board room of a financial firm that will be using the wall to display smaller text, numbers and data or in critical medical imaging scenarios, it would be wise to opt for a pixel pitch that is perhaps a little smaller than the standard quotient.

Finally, let’s talk about cost. The smaller or “finer” the pixel pitch, the higher the cost. This means that a 220-inch video wall with a 2.5 pixel pitch could very easily end up costing more than twice that of a 3.7 pixel pitch of the same size. Similarly, depending on the type and quality of LED’s being used, a P1.0 could easily be two, three or even four times the cost of a P2.5 wall of the same relative size.

I’ve been around this game for a while, and I know we operate in a competitive landscape. It is sometimes tempting or even necessary to fit the solution into the budget. However, with DVLED walls, the repercussions of selecting a pixel pitch that is too large to fit into a customer’s budget could be dire. So, take heed. Or better yet, call me, and make sure you select the right pixel pitch the first time.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for my next installment of Breaking Down DVLED:

Part 4: The First Step in Installing a DVLED Video Wall is Admitting you Need Help
Topic: Commissioning Assistance and why it’s important

Part 5: First Things First
Topic: The importance of proper site prep and conducting a proper site survey

Check out my other installments if you haven’t already:

Part 1: Got Spares?
Topic: The importance of having spares when purchasing / commissioning a DVLED video wall.

Part 2: Cabinets and Modules and Panels, Oh My!!!
Topic: The anatomy of a DVLED video wall.

Tom Keefe BDM

About the Author

Tom Keefe

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Absen

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