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A Buyer's Guide to Video Walls

Considering a video wall purchase? As video walls market growth accelerates, you now have more options, with more features, than ever before. From flexible screen sizes to cost effective solutions for different budgets, to new and upgraded technology, the list of important considerations is seemingly endless. 

This buyer’s guide is designed to help you navigate the video wall landscape, evaluate your needs, and reach the right decision. 

The first choice you need to make is whether or not a video wall is right for you. That’s why our buyer’s guide starts with an overview of video walls and the market as it stands today, to help you decide whether the product suits your unique needs. 

If you already know that you want a video wall, feel free to skip to “What to look for when buying video walls”. 

Regardless of how you use it, by the end of this guide, you’ll be confident that you’ve reached the right video wall purchase decision.

Table of Contents

I. The growing demand for video walls

      A. Why now is the time to consider video walls

II. Uses of video walls

      A. Retail

      B. DOOH

      C. Control rooms

III. What to look for when buying video walls

IV. How to measure the value of video walls

V. Your use case checklist

The growing demand for video walls

The video wall market is growing - and fast. 

Major video wall technologies have seen a 47 percent year-on-year growth across the visual display sector, with many markets - such as those with DOOH, large venues, and commercial spaces - naming them the most impressive display solution to date. 

By 2020, the entire video wall market is estimated to be worth $17.9 billion

For more information on the rise of video walls in China, download our free eBook - The Big Business Opportunity in the China Video Wall Market.

Why now is the time to consider video walls

While the growing market size of video walls demands attention on its own, the significance of your individual investment in the technology also requires more context. 

In the case of video wall market penetration, growth coincides with another appealing factor - decreasing costs. As video walls become increasingly mainstream, available products improve with each round of mass production. Now, new screen size options, performance features, greater reliability, and increased versatility are more affordable than ever for the video wall consumer. 

 

graph depicting the rate of price decline for video wall screens

But as seen above, the downward pricing pressure exerted by video wall market growth is decelerating. Video wall costs will no longer drop as dramatically year over year as they did after the technology was first introduced. As the average sales price (ASP) of video walls stabilizes to a predictable lower range, the following trends make this the perfect time to invest:

1. Video wall costs are unlikely to drop as significantly in the near-term future as they have in the recent past

2. Video wall market penetration and profitability is being driven more by product improvements than production cost reductions

3. As video walls continue to broaden their customer base, each new specific application reveals new value-add possibilities for the technology

With video walls more accessible, more effective, and more widely adopted now than ever before, the cost-to-benefit of the technology - in a general sense - is at a market apex.

Of course, your needs are anything but general. They’re incredibly specific to you and your business. To find out if a video wall is right for you, let’s take a look at a few major use cases. 

Uses of video walls

Ultimately, the return you can expect on a video wall investment will depend on the use you have in mind. That’s why we want to discuss the potential benefits of video walls for different potential users. 

Feel free to skip ahead to the section in this chapter that applies most directly to your needs: 

  • Retail: for in-store or B2C uses that grab attention, surprise, entertain, and educate

  • Digital Out-of-Home (or “DOOH” for short): for event and public space managers interested in creating immersive experiences and driving additional revenue

  • Control Room: for communications, security, or other real-time command center applications that emphasize immediacy, clarity, and performance

Retail

A video wall commands attention in any space; they are eye-catching, which makes them a great tool for improving the overall retail customer experience. The “wow factor” and social media shareability associated with larger installations works especially well in major cities and flagship stores. 

Every retail video wall display option can enhance the shopping experience, showcase high-value products, introduce captivating advertising for current product lines, tease upcoming launches to generate excitement, and further customer affinity for entire brands through customizable interactions.

  “We definitely seeing more investments in interactive signage and video walls. People today are very visual and digest information via visual ‘sound bites’.” 

-Melissa Gonzales, Chief Pop-Up Architect at The Lion’esque Group

 

Graphic comparing video wall screen type usage within the retail sector

If you want digital signage to make a real impact in retail, consider video walls. 

Compared to smaller display panels or TVs, video walls offer large-scale visual immersion in a custom space, with options for both landscape and portrait (or combination) displays. The color-rich 4k experience catches the consumer’s eye, and opens up endless visual and creative opportunities in retail.

For more information about the benefits of digital signage in the retail sector, download our free eBook focused on the industry. 

Digital Out of Home

As the DOOH market expands, technologies constantly improve to keep up with demand. 

From live outdoor events such as festivals and charity marathons to airports and tourist hotspots, outdoor video walls offer a seamless display experience that can capture the attention of hundreds - and potentially thousands - of people in one go.

Graphic comparing video wall screen type usage within the public space sector

Outdoor video walls ensure on-site messaging stands out, and their prominent placement earns the notice of sponsors and advertisers alike. 

Not only does a DOOH video wall deliver highly contextually relevant messaging and images to the right people in the right location, but you can also introduce video. A recent UK-based study revealed that motion DOOH ads are 2.5 times more impactful, with effectiveness across each stage of a brand’s customer journey funnel (awareness, consideration, action). And when DOOH involved a social media component, advertisers saw an average increase of 23% in brand awareness, emotional response, brand consideration, and brand action.

“When it comes to video walls in outdoor spaces, there is nothing more impactful. They offer unparalleled performance and uniformity in black and color depth, panel to panel matching and refresh rate. What I would bear in mind for DOOH however is that video walls are made up of several panels – so if even one has an issue, it’s a problem. Video wall panels are also very fragile and include large installation requirements, which must be factored into any purchasing decision.”

-Bruce R. Elliott, Director of Sales, Samsung 

Control room

Choosing a display solution for a command center or control room is a critical decision, with reliability and performance at a premium. Undisturbed visual clarity at all times should also pair with custom functionality that supports interface, display performance, and dependable multi-screen integration.

 

graphic comparing video wall screen type usage within the control room sector

Control rooms are often found in security, legal, and military-related industries where rapid responses and decision-making are necessary. In comparison to other solutions - single monitors, TV screens/panels - video walls provide consistency and seamless picture quality when reliability is crucial. 

Due to the high-detail, high-priority nature of data gathering, distributing, and monitoring in control and command rooms, dependability, scale, and resolution are key factors to keep in mind when choosing a video wall. 

What to look for when buying video walls

Your video wall purchase decision is about more than the cost or return on investment, although these factors are essential. It’s also about making sure that the solution best fits your use case. The goal is to find the most appropriately seamless visual experience for your audience and objectives.

We’re here to help you ask the right questions and, ultimately, find the right answers.

Screen size and number of panels

Before you buy your video wall, you’ll have to establish the scale of the screen you want. The answer to this will greatly affect which video wall you choose (and how many panels you’ll need).

Your decision will depend on how and where your video wall will be used. It will also be determined by the space you have available. 

You should also consider what you will be displaying on the screens and how the native image size will look on varying screen sizes. 

A combination of all these factors will help you decide the size and number of panels you need.

Before you make your purchase, you need to ask:

  • What size would be best for the unique requirements of my business or industry? And what orientation (i.e. portrait or landscape)? 

  • What products available would work best in the space I’m working with, and would a custom installation or solution be even more effective? 

  • Do I need professional assistance in designing my video wall or customizing my display? 

Panel quality and visual performance

 It’s reasonable to assume that if you want a video wall, you want one that is high quality and performs well. We all know that we want our video wall to look good, but what does that actually mean? 

When buying a video wall, you want to look for high resolution, high definition panels with contrast ratios of 3,000 or above, wide color gamut, and high brightness. 

A higher contrast ratio is particularly important if you need viewers of your video wall to see details, such as shadows, dark backgrounds and fine text. This is particularly important if your video wall is in bright ambient light conditions as, here, the lack of contrast becomes even more pronounced and its inability to show deep blacks leads to the images looking washed-out. 

Alt tag: low versus high contrast ratio comparison of two video wall displays

Another criteria to look out for is the technology display type. 

 Most video walls will be liquid crystal displays (LCDs) which can offer high total resolution due to their high pixel density, high brightness options, broad color gamuts, wide viewing angles (up to 178 degrees), and are moving towards extreme narrow bezel models. LCDs are ideal for showing detailed images. 

 Another option is light emitting diode displays (LEDs). LED panels do not provide as high of a resolution and pixel pitch as LCDs so you’ll only want to use LED when the video walls are being viewed from further away. Intense brightness (from 800 nit for indoor to 4,000 nit for outdoor) is a feature of LEDs which makes them great for outdoors with direct light emission, but the downside is that they are unsuitable for dark rooms. When viewed from the side, they can also appear less bright and with greater color variability to LCDs. However, they still offer wider angles than digital light processing technology (DLPs) - the final option for video walls.

DLP video walls offer relatively high total resolutions and a range of aspect ratio, but they are not as bright as LCDs or direct view LEDs. They are not suitable for high ambient light rooms or outdoors, but they do provide broad color gamuts and superior fidelity. 

 Before you make your purchase, you need to ask:

  • Where will my video wall be, and how will this affect my needs in terms of pixel pitch, contrast ratio, color balance and black intensity, etc.?

  • Which would be best between LCD, LED or DNP display options for my own needs? 

  • Does the market currently offer the best quality and performance for your requirements? 

 Bezel size

Bezels are the edges of individual panels that can be seen as black lines or gaps between the panels. The smaller the size of these, the less disrupted your images will be. 

Minimal bezel sizes reduce the visual disruption caused by black grid-lines in large video wall images, mitigating potential display issues such as aesthetic value and practical usage.

Available bezel sizes for your video wall depend on the technology behind the individual panels that make up your overall display. LCD panels are increasingly available in extreme narrow bezel (ENB) formats, which reduces bezel width (bezel-to-bezel) to 1.7mm from a standard 3.5mm. LED panels can already produce bezel-less displays. And although DLP panels require a bezel, these can be as narrow is 0-0.5 mm for nearly seamless viewing.

Before you make your purchase, you need to ask:

  • Will my ideal display option meet or exceed customer expectations?

  • Is an ENB seamless experience my priority, or would I prefer to be economical and use the still effective ultra narrow bezel?  

Environment and temperature suitability

Your video wall’s performance can be affected by environmental elements such as light, heat, moisture, and air quality. Efficient and enduring video walls must be able to tolerate long hours of use, high temperatures, ambient dust and humidity - wherever they are used. 

Make sure you’ve evaluated the factors in play at your video wall installation site, so you’ll know which additional environmental protection features may be necessary.

For example, ambient light can affect the native contrast ratio of displays. In high ambient light, your display needs a high contrast ratio, at least 3000:1, and an anti-glare solution to minimize direct reflections of nearby light. High contrast ratios maintain image vividness with deeper blacks that come through even near sunlight. 

Generally speaking, LEDs have a long and useful life, and can withstand outdoor conditions well with weather resistance to a range of temperatures and humidity levels. Samsung LCD panels also offer consistent color expression, increased longevity, and performance in elevated temperatures. 

Before you make your purchase, you need to ask:

  • Will my video wall be inside or outside?

  • Will its environmental temperature be regulated?

  • Does my chosen video wall need to withstand temperature extremes (hot/cold) and/or wet weather? 

  • How might the panels be affected by pollution, dust or high altitude? 

Budget

Video walls are a cost-effective way of deploying a large scale digital display solution. 

In comparison to alternative options, such as costly LED tiles, video walls offer unbeatable value for large screens. 

A quality video wall investment will save you money in the long run, even if the upfront costs are slightly higher. But be careful not to fall for an attractive offer price. Low-quality video wall installations can carry future maintenance and replacement costs that easily exceed any initial savings. 

Power consumption efficiency is another factor to calculate into the lifetime value of your purchase. Samsung PID video walls offer low energy consumption due to an innovative backlight design which presents a long term saving.

 Before you make your purchase, you need to ask:

  • How does the price of a video wall compare to other options?

  • What are the most important factors for me that are worth paying more for?

 Reliability and warranties

In order to get the most out of your video wall, you’ll need a display that is purpose-built for 24/7 heavy usage. We also recommend that you buy from a manufacturer that provides a warranty of at least 2 years. 

For longevity and reliability, look for panels with vertical alignment technology and high isotropic transition (TNI) liquid crystals. For the best value product, you’ll want a video wall that is resistant to heat, moisture, and dust, and protects against black mura. Samsung Display PID video wall displays come with a backlight unit that has a minimum guarantee of 45,000 lifetime hours. Samsung offers even longer guarantees on their LCD ENB panels, with an operational warranty of over 100,000 hours. 

Another area to take into account is service. Due to the investment cost of a large scale video wall, professional design and installation is recommended to ensure dependability. Evaluate your supplier’s installation service before you purchase.

“Video walls require a professional solution designer and installer who will take into account a number of factors; including video wall parameters (i.e. screen size, brightness tuning, bezel gap) and third party equipment (mounts, cables, switchers and/or video wall controllers). Otherwise even simple mistakes can produce a poor overall result.”

- Nikolay Savchenko, Commercial Director, AMS  

 Before you make your purchase, you need to ask:

  • How reliable is the product or brand?

  • How long are the warranties associated with my preferred choice of video wall? 

  • Am I confident that my video wall will be installed professionally? 

How to measure the value of video walls

One perceived difficulty associated with this technology is the task of measuring a video wall’s impact on the bottom line. However, it’s now possible to measure the return on investment (ROI) of digital signage - including video walls. 

Over the long term, an investment in professional-grade digital signage has proven to reduce overall costs for businesses, despite the initial upfront cost. Factors such as greater system and technology integration, overall reliability, and design flexibility/image quality are often forgotten, but are worth bearing in mind when judging the overall value and ROI of video walls. 

One way to measure returns is to consider the total expenditures that a video wall will replace, such as printing and staffing costs, time and money required for signage changes, and material purchase requirements. 

Additional factors such as built-in cameras and real-time technology provide potential for dynamic or personalized content, with data pulled from cameras - such as gender, age, attention and dwell time - providing rich data that can improve content relevance and maximize ROI over the long term. 

This is particularly useful for those in the retail sector. For more information on opportunities in this industry and how to measure the ROI, visit our recently published free eBook report featuring expert commentary and unique consumer research. 

Video walls provide ROI for businesses across a variety of key industries. The more informed you are on the factors that determine which video wall is best for your business - from budget and maintenance, application, and positioning, to size and performance - the more likely you are to invest wisely.

Your use case checklist

We hope that you’re able to find the video wall that fits your needs. 

Once you can confidently answer the below questions, you’ll be ready to take your next step and purchase a display.

If you’re interested in buying a video wall, contact us for further information on these display solutions and how we can tailor these to your requirements. 

To find out more about Samsung PID’s video wall panels, visit here.