Large scale video wall technology is widely seen today in commercial applications in practically every vertical market. The most common deployments are corporate facilities, transportation centers, retail, higher education and sports venues, to name a few. Continued advances in the technology have now begun to make it attractive to consumers with professional requirements. Direct view LED technology, such as the new Planar® DirectLight® LED Video Wall System, is one example. This video wall solution, already in place in a number of commercial applications, was installed in a residence in Northern California.
Preferred alternative to conventional projection solutions
Used as a media wall and a work of digital art, the Planar DirectLight LED video wall was chosen to occupy a large dining and entertainment space in favor of a screen and projection system that was considered initially. The homeowner had seen a Planar DirectLight LED video wall and recognized it was a better solution for the owner's residential needs. This decision was echoed by the owner's systems integration partner, Sound Vision (Sacramento, California), with company president and owner, Paul Bernauer, noting that, "given the many factors of the space, no other solution but Planar DirectLight would be nearly as effective."
The space Bernauer and Sound Vision had to work with in the residence is approximately 60x40 square feet in total, with two walls containing large window expanses. "We weren't in a position to actively control all the ambient lighting, so we had to have a solution that was designed to perform well in high-bright conditions. The Planar DirectLight met this requirement with its deep black LED resin design, 900 to 1,200-nit (adjustable) brightness, and ultra fine 1.6mm pitch. Bernauer adds, "The homeowner is very happy with the visual performance and says it produces stunning images even when running at less than 50% brightness."
An ultra-bright, seamless digital "canvas"
To match the available mounting wall space, the chosen video wall measured 21 ft (6.4m) wide by 11 ft (3.3m) high. It is comprised of 192 Planar DirectLight LED Modules, each with a 1.6mm pixel pitch. This size, configuration and pitch meant that content, including 4K video, could be viewed at varying distances – even up close – without the viewer noticing any pixilation. What the viewer also enjoys is a virtually seamless screen. Bernauer says this is clearly remarkable given the video wall's size. It owes to an innovative physical mounting mechanism – called Planar® EasyAlign™ – and to the Planar DirectLight Control Software. Planar EasyAlign features magnets that attach each LED module to the mounting structure; these provide adjustability to achieve a completely flat surface and consistency between LED modules. "The DirectLight Control Software takes things a step farther, enabling the precise matching of the brightness of each module edge such that any inconsistent spaces, or seams, between modules virtually disappear," Bernauer says.
Additional benefits of Planar EasyAlign include front access to every LED module, a necessity since the entire video wall is installed directly to a concrete surface without a separate structure. Another, is minimal depth—which measures just over four inches—and contributes to the video walls' artistic look and feel. Third is Planar DirectLight's distributed architecture, whereby components such as the video walls' 22 power supply modules can be remotely located. "This was important to the homeowner because it would keep the video wall running cool and quietly, thus enhancing the desired ambience," Bernauer says.
Support for high resolution, 4K content
To the owner, this seamless "canvas" is important since content plans include a library of ultra-high definition, 4K videos – some several hours in length – that depict iconic scenes such as a Parisian sunrise or a sunset over Bora Bora. These videos define the Planar DirectLight video wall as a "dynamic piece of art that creates a beautiful backdrop for the space. Other displayed content is just as stunning, including Blu-ray movies, satellite television programming and slide shows comprised of high resolution still images. Sound Vision's Bernauer selected Planar's Clarity™ Visual Control Station™ (VCS™), which provides video processing and content management, allows images to be spread across the entire video wall, or scaled down to occupy portions of the video wall as the homeowner desires.
"In the end, it is our mutual impression that there isn't a better technology than Planar DirectLight to create the feeling and the ambience envisioned for this type of space," Bernauer says.