Video Wall Controller: PC/Server and the Network for an easy-to-use, affordable solution
Many organizations seeking high performance video walls turn to proprietary servers or controllers. All too often the results are disappointing: a high price tag for a complicated solution that is difficult to manage and isn’t able to grow with the customer’s needs.
Userful is Different
Userful is a software driven solution with an easy to use drag and drop user interface for everything you need to do. By using an off the shelf PC/Server plus the network instead of expensive, proprietary hardware, Userful saves money.
Userful is not just a video wall solution but a Visual Networking Platform used to drive and manage a both the video walls and the networked displays used for operational productivity, business communication, collaboration and customer engagement.
How it Works
Userful's software takes an off-the-shelf PC/Server and turns it into a high-end video wall controller. It includes all the key features to quickly and easily control and display multiple content sources on the video wall in a flexible way. Manage and control the solution through the cloud or for sites with no internet connection, using the Local Area Network (LAN).
All the high-end features needed for control and command center video wall applications at the best price point.
To determine the right video wall for your use-case, refer to our free eBook:
"Any source, anywhere on any display at any time"
Userful has all the features of traditional video wall controllers and more.
But it’s more flexible, more scalable, more affordable, and a whole lot easier to set up and use.
A single standard PC/Server and the network make it easy to deploy and support 100+ displays and 8k video source resolution.
Userful uses a standard off the shelf PC. The software ensures Userful gets the maximum performance out of the computer’s processing power allowing unparalleled scalability in number of displays and source resolution.
Userful supports zones, multi-window and picture-in-picture giving ultimate flexibility in how a system displays simultaneous content on different portions of a video wall.
Zones, Multi-window, Picture-in-picture
Zones are individual displays or groups of displays, Multi-window allows customers to break up content within the bezels of a display or across the bezels of a display and picture in picture allows display of one source as the background and multiple sources in windows on top of that background.
Schedule preset changes through the cloud, and centrally manage content across multisite deployments.
Scheduling and central content management
Userful’s cloud management includes a scheduling tool that allows customers to schedule changes to presets which means you can change the content on the video wall and the lay out of the video wall at designated times. You can also centrally manage content: upload sources once and use many times across different deployments.
Content from any source: network, hard drive, HDMI capture, desktop streaming, multiple browser sessions and more.
Unlimited content sources
Userful offers maximum flexibility on content sources. Display a desktop over the network or by connecting it to HDMI, display multiple browser sessions directly from the PC itself, work with one of the Content Management Systems integrated into Userful or play video up to 8k resolution directly from the PC itself.
Userful control center is a drag and drop easy way to configure, control and manage one or many video walls.
Easy to Use Interface
Userful’s software is focused on ease of use and ensuring that anyone can quickly and easily learn to manage, monitor and interact with a video wall.
Dual controllers for fail-safe operation with zero downtime.
Deploy a second backup PC/Server and in the unlikely event of a hardware failure, the second PC will automatically take over from the primary PC/Server.
Save multiple preset configurations (different content sources, different zones etc) and then invoke presets using a schedule, Userful’s API a smartphone or mouse click.
Use presets for maximum control and flexibility
Presets allow users to create multiple configurations of their video wall with different sources on different windows and then save those presets for later use. Note that a preset can control the sources and configurations of multiple video walls simultaneously. Any displays connected to a single PC can be controlled through just one preset. Presets can be easily invoked from a smartphone, desktop or can be scheduled. They can also be triggered using Userful’s API.
Architectural approach and locked down software ensure complete security.
Leveraging all the security advantages of Userful’s architectural approach, including the ability to set PC/Server in secure location, Userful’s fully locked down software ensures security and peace of mind.
Manage, control and monitor your video wall deployments locally with no internet connection needed or from anywhere in the world over the cloud.
With Userful’s cloud management, users can interact with the video wall remotely, monitor it through a webcam from anywhere in the world. Admins can schedule content changes, upload content and interact with the video wall in real time. Note that an internet connection is not required to run Userful, but does allow for remote access and interactivity.
A Video Wall Controller for your Needs
Ease of use for end users and upfront cost savings make Userful unique in the market and highly attractive for our customers.
Marketing Manager at Matrix Communications
The system is intuitive and easy to set up. The cost is remarkably affordable for just about anybody.
Project Manager at ASI
What I like about Userful is that not only did it fulfill all our requirements but it did so at a great price.
SD of Innovation and New Tech
Results from Our 2018 Survey
Userful Is Easy-To-Use and Affordable
In a 2018 survey 85% of Userful customers say it's "easy to manage" or "very easy to manage" when compared to other solutions they have used.
In a 2018 survey, 58% of Userful customer say Userful was 1/2 the cost or less than other display management solutions they considered for their project.
Common Questions about the Userful Video Wall Controller
What is a video wall controller?
A video wall controller takes the content from an input source, splits it into different sections, and sends each section to its corresponding screen. They also have management interfaces for easier administration and configuration of display content. For example, the Userful video wall solution includes an intuitive browser-based management console that allows users to perform more advanced tasks, such as bezel correction, display pixel-alignment, and color calibration, as well as providing a platform to design unique artistic, mosaic-style displays.
Is there a difference between a display controller and processor?
Yes. In the traditional sense, a video wall processor refers to the device (typically a PC/Server) that supports the various inputs and outputs, as well as content processing power (such as video scaling). Video wall controllers, on the other hand, provide a management interface for video walls. Nowadays, there are many solutions that integrate both the processor and the controller in the same device, that is why the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
What advantages do video wall controllers have over tile matrix switcher/scalers, or LED /LCD video walls?
What components, besides a video wall controller, do I need to deploy a video wall?
That would depend on the solution. Some traditional solutions require that you buy video wall processor, an external PC/server (for the management interface), a matrix switcher, a matrix scaler (one for each display) and displays; as well as additional cabling and accessories. There are also LED / LCD display based video walls that integrate the matrix scaler.
Userful’s solution, on the other hand, centralizes the video wall controller, processor, switcher and scaler within a standard PC. Instead of scalers on each display, Userful uses long-lasting zero client devices (with no processing power or movable parts), as well as the existing network infrastructure, simplifying the entire system altogether, without sacrificing content quality.
Do LCD / LED displays also have video wall controllers?
No, There are some display-based video wall solutions that use internal scalers and also include video wall controller capabilities, but they require an external connected PC to manage the controlling features. They aren’t as flexible as other approaches to a video wall controller such as Userful’s—they support only one content source, and you would need to alter their physical connections in order to support multiple content sources.
I am a system integrator, and my customers applications vary from control rooms, to retail, to sports and entertainment venues, etc; Is a video wall controller solution capable of addressing any of these use cases?
In short, yes, a video wall controller will give you the power, control and flexibility to support a wide range of applications, basically a one-solution-fits-all!
For example, Userful’s video wall allows you to accommodate many use cases, such as control and command centers, sports and entertainment venues, retail environments, and more, into a single solution. It supports different types of content sources (i.e. live TV, HTML5, network stream, live feeds from cameras, etc.) simultaneously on the displays via preset zones, made up of one or many displays. Also supports synchronized content across all displays (both video walls and independent screens), and allow users to easily switch content from a connected handheld device. Also, being a network-delivered video wall solution provide the flexibility to spread video walls and digital signage throughout a room or building (a very useful feature in a retail environment, as well as in sports, and entertainment venues)
If I need more than one display setup, can I do it with a single video wall controller?
Yes. For example, Userful’s software leverages a standard PC to allow you to implement a mix of independent digital signage displays and multiple video walls from a single video controller. By delivering the content via Ethernet, the displays can be strategically located across an entire location within the local network, and its advance features allows you to manage the content dynamically, from multi-zone video walls to mirrored content across all video walls and displays, all within the same browser-based configuration console.
If I want to show multiple content at the same time on my display, can I do that with a video wall controller?
Yes. Video wall controllers offer the flexibility and advanced features to do this, with some solutions offering more than others . Userful, for example, allows multiple simultaneous content sources to be shown on the video wall in different sections, or preset zones made up of one or many displays. They may also integrates a variety of Content Management Systems (CMS) that provide a configuration and scheduling platform, where the user can design the layout to be shown, with different content sources on display.
And what about if I want to show the same thing on all my displays?
Screen mirroring, or signage replication—where you can show exactly the same content at exactly the same time on video walls or digital signage displays—is a common feature among video wall controllers. Userful takes this feature a step further by allowing to mirror content in any mix of independent digital signage displays and video walls.
If I want to change what is showing on my setup, how can I do it with a video wall controller?
Usually, video wall controllers require an external control PC to access the management tools and switch the video wall content, this works well if you don’t need your video wall experience to be very dynamic. Also, you can use CMS and scheduling applications, where you predetermine the content flow and it will automatically switch it for you.
Userful’s solution gives the user the flexibility and control to seamlessly switch content from any connected device (i.e. smartphones, or tablets) with the touch of a button, remotely manage video walls and change content remotely from any browser, with easy drag’n’drop capabilities for quicker, more intuitive content mapping; as well as providing CMS integration to allow content scheduling and customized layouts on the video walls.
Once I have my video wall controller, what can I do with it?
That would depend on the solution, as each has their strengths and limitations. Userful, for example, provides a platform for a wide range of applications, and its management interfaces empowers you as a user. Some of the things you can do are:
- Create both traditional, landscape or portrait, grid-video walls, and design creative, state-of-the-art, mosaic-style video wall for museums, hotel lobbies, retail stores, or even entertainment venues
- Deploy a video wall at a command center with multiple simultaneous source content—Live camera feed, interactive HTML5 web content, full screen desktop environment, etc.
- Have it at a sports bar, where you can have many individual signage displays, as well as many video walls. A solution as flexible as Userful, let’s you have the same exact content in synch (i.e. a game or TV show) on some displays, and then have other content simultaneously on other displays, with the ability to switch and manage what’s shown from a web browser.
If video wall controllers are better, why aren’t all solutions running on video wall controllers?
Traditionally video wall controllers used to be way more expensive, and they usually required proprietary hardware and software, which were complex to setup and maintain. However, there are now video wall controllers such as Userful that have eliminated all of these traditional problems. Userful leverages the power of a PC and existing network infrastructure to significantly reduce the costs, simplify the setup and maintenance, and improve the scalability of a video wall system, while still delivering high-quality (up to 8k resolution), professional video walls.
There is a good article by Userful’s CTO, Tim Griffin, where he provides some insight on when do you need a video wall controller for your project. You can find it here.
If you want to learn more about the Userful video wall, make sure to visit userful.com/videowall, and sign up for more great resources. If you are interested in trying out the solution, give us a call at +1 (403) 289-2177, or send us an email to email@example.com and we’ll be happy to assist you.