Every Display Technology is incomplete without a Videowall Controller especially for Large Screen applications like Control & Monitoring, Surveillance, Broadcast and Network Operating Centers. Videowall Controllers are interface between Input Sources and Displays. These equipment are required when there is content from different sources and variety to be viewed simultaneously for 24×7 applications.
A typical Controller is a Windows Based server with PCI Express slots for multiple Cards installation as per Control Room requirement. For Example for a Critical Control Room with 8 or 12 Displays Videowall (4×2 or 4×3 Matrix) there are Graphic cards installed in the Windows Controller Chassis. The Graphic cards are available of Single, Dual Or Quad outputs with each Output upto Full HD or 4K Resolution support @ 30Fps or 60 Fps. These are not ordinary Graphic Cards, They are meant for 24×7 Applications with very High end Graphic Support with MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of 50,000 Hours. Some of the Brands who specialize in these Kinds of High End Cards are Datapath, Nvidia, Matrox who are Manufacturers for these cards and are most preferred choice for Graphic output for any Control Room applications. Another aspect of Windows Controller is Input Cards, which are available in many varieties of single, dual, quad inputs supporting input source content up to Full HD and 4K Resolutions at different FPS and Hertz. Again these are not ordinary input cards, they are built for applications like Control Room, Medical imaging, Mega Events, and many more critical applications. The input cards support sources like HDMI / DVI/ DP / SDI / IP Inputs etc. These cards are installed along with Graphic Cards in the same chassis. If the Inputs and Outputs requirement is high and if it cannot be accommodated in single Chassis than expansion slots of 9 slots or 11 slots can be linked to the main chassis on which we get additional slots to install the Graphic or Input sources. This expansion slots are also known as back plane and can be connected with main chassis with H link & S link cables. The major manufacturers for Input cards are Datapath, Magewell, Yuan, Aver media etc. a lot of Research & development is required to identify a seamless functional Videowall Controller in which all different components are from different Manufacturers and are required to be in sync to achieved desired results. Another most important factor which enables the controller to manage multiple content on large Videowall is the Wall Management Software which is installed on the Windows based Controller and is required to be compatible with Input Card Hardware to provide a seamless capture solution. Generally these softwares are 3rd party software. The software enables all Hardware inputs capture and viewing simultaneously as well as it allows to place any source on any display in any size and create and save layouts for the same. These layouts can be recalled from any third party control device like Crestron, Extron, AMX, Kramer etc. apart from Hardware inputs, web url courses can also be created in Wall Management Software and remote desktop can be captured with VNC Based protocol. IP Streaming can also be done vy creating source with IP Address of Camera. Also a ticker text can be placed on the Videowall. These software can help to create layouts with multiple sources and schedule these layouts as required on the calendar. There are many other functionalities like Authentication, Role based access to users on Videowall, Event Loggers, Recording of Videowall Content, Access from remote PC on Web based interface, Live Preview of Videowall Screen are the most common functions across different Wall Management Software available Globally. Other than Windows Controller we have another Videowall Solution which is known as Hardware based or Embedded Controller. This type of Hardware does not have a Operating System or Hard drive. These Controllers are pure hardware system structure, which processes images with the use of fast internal bus and FPGA. They have only Input and Output modules and Wall Management Software for Control to be placed in any control PC. The advantages of this system is that it does not have Vulnerabilities of a Windows Based system and cannot be prone to virus attacks ensuring zero down time during any critical operation. Another important factor is that it has high scalability and can take over 100 Inputs and Outputs per system as the Chassis are available in 4U, 7U, 10U, 16U sizes. It can take inputs like HDMI/ DVI/ SDI/ IP Inputs upto Full HD and 4K Resolution. These hardware is also very cost effective in comparison with windows based system and most reliable for 24 x 7 application as it has zero down time. The software available with Embedded Controller covers almost all functionality of Windows based Wall Management Software. Only capture of remote desktop and Web Url sources cannot be captured as it is only possible with an operating system. Another factor which is superior against windows system is that Embedded Controller works seamlessly with any Display Technology like LCD Videowall, Active LED Videowall and Rear Projection Cubes or Projection Display.