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Casinos Up the Resolution

LAS VEGAS—When the operators of the boutique Silverton Casino in Las Vegas wanted to upgrade their Sports Book, they used Christie Velvet LED tiles to build an eye-popping video wall, luring high-rollers from the luxury resorts on the Vegas Strip.

From high-resolution video walls to network-distributed open content management, manufacturers are changing the way video is seen in today’s display-obsessed world. Video walls are now bigger, have higher resolution and more striking eye candy than ever. They are also versatile, cost-effective and deliver mission-critical video on a 24/7 basis. (Story continues below image.)

Christie Digital Velvet displays spread across the room at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas.

Video is critical in high-stakes operations like casinos and gambling centers. Competition for gamblers is fierce in this Sports Books mecca, niche betting operations located inside the Vegas casinos which attract some of the most free-spending bettors: avid sports fans. Sports Books are known to take any action and are now offering bets on the 2015 World Series and next year’s winner of the Super Bowl. However, the center of any operation is the video wall, which must have enough visual kaboom to dazzle even the most crusty and wage-weary bettor.

The Velvet tiles are a product of Christie Digital Systems USA, a global visual technologies company. The modular format of Christie Velvet—the tiles can be built to almost any size—allows the display to be windowed, providing multiple, simultaneous feeds across the entire wall. The 7.5 x 53-foot video wall erected at Silverton will turn heads, said Russell Thomas, Christie senior product manager.

Russell Thomas, senior product manager for Christie Digital Systems

Based on LED illumination, Christie Velvet is a low-energy, long-life platform that produces 281 trillion colors, a full-field contrast ratio of 3,000:1 and brightness levels up to 1,000 nits. Content displayed on Christie Velvet enables an enhanced viewing experience, Thomas said.

“Bigger is certainly a trend,” Thomas said. “We are much more exposed to video than we were 10 years ago. Where we used to have static signage, now people want to see more video. That (expectation) drives the need for higher quality displays.

“And, all of that is driving the improvements in the quality of the images,” Thomas said.

The company also offers the Christie Phoenix open content management system to seamlessly display all its systems in one visual operating space. The system is especially useful in emergency response control centers and was recently installed at the Port Fourchon Emergency Operations Center. A major seaport, Port Fourchon is Louisiana’s southernmost port, located south of New Orleans on a spit of land that juts deeply into Gulf of Mexico.

Phoenix can move programs around the screen, having particular items pop up within seconds and simultaneously display multiple applications at-a-glance, without the need to go in and out of applications or for closing and reopening streams.

Matrox Graphics produces flexible products that are a good fit for control rooms, presentation environments or digital signage applications.

“There’s been an increased demand for video walls that display content from a variety of sources,” said Helgi Sigurdsson, product manager for the Montreal-based company. “This has driven the need for more flexible video wall solutions.”

Signage video walls are also increasing in popularity for use in corporate and government lobbies and other areas, Sigurdsson said. External sources are not always required on these types of video walls—often a signage player with a high-quality, multi-display graphics card such as the six-output Matrox C680 is all that is needed to play content that is stored locally, Sigurdsson said.

However, in cases where customers want to display more than one source, or easily switch between sources and local file-based content, a PC-based video wall controller with a Matrox Mura MPX capture and display board may be the right solution, Sigurdsson said.

Presentation theaters and meeting rooms are additional locations where corporations and governments of all levels are installing multi-display surfaces to present video and information from a variety sources, according to Sigurdsson.

“System integration can be challenging when dealing with multiple components, however Mura’s minimalist, single-slot input/output board design,” Sigurdsson said, “reduces video wall controller build complexity so integrators can turn around projects on a much shorter deadline.”

Aurora Multimedia, based in Morganville, N.J., just introduced a new IP streaming transceiver that can be used as a video wall processor, said Paul Harris, company CEO. The IPX-TC1 is the first 4K/2K transceiver with zero compression and latency, and the same unit can be user-defined as either a transmitter or receiver. It also boasts an option slot adding other IP capabilities, such as USB 2.0 over IP or Dante audio, for a more complete, distributed system.

“The product is aimed at the single unit, do-all-type box,” Harris said. “It can take the place of a HDBaseT matrix, be a video wall processor, do seamless switching or control remote devices. Its applications are only limited by what we program into it and the size of the IP infrastructure.”

The IPX-TC1 recently won an ISE Best of Show Award, given by NewBay Media, which also publishes this magazine. The award recognizes new and outstanding products exhibited at the recent ISE West Show 2015 held in Las Vegas.

Apantac, headquartered in Portland, Ore., manufactures a series of low-cost 4K conversion solutions that are targeted at video wall applications. They are part of Apantac’s Crescent line of signal processing solutions.

The Micro-4K four 3G-SDI inputs are down-converted to both HDMI and SDI simultaneously, with outputs up to 1080p. It allows UHD (or 4K) sources to be viewed on inexpensive LCD monitors or routed in the existing 3G infrastructure, making this a good fix for 4K broadcast and mobile production.

The Micro-4K allows users to select one SDI embedded stereo audio pair and embed it on the SDI and HDMI outputs. It is also available as a stereo analog audio output. The device has proven popular in the market, selling out its first run soon after it was introduced, company officials said.

For high-tech video walls that use UHD sources, Alameda, Calif.-based RGB Spectrum offers MediaWall V, a true UHD video wall processor that provides 4K resolution, single-wire connectivity and fully scalable windows. MediaWall V and its sister device OmniWall support multiple walls with a single processor, and they can support video wall configurations from two monitors up to arrays that span more than 100 monitors.

The devices deliver real-time processing from all video/graphics inputs with no dropped frames or image artifacts; they enable seamless visualization across a video wall/screen array with support for edge-blending (with screens/projectors) and bezel compensation (with video wall displays), as well as full video synchronization.

MediaWall V and OmniWall have been deployed in a range of government and security applications as well as in more traditional AV installs, such as in museums, boardrooms, university auditoriums and classrooms. Operators find the RGB Spectrum devices easy to use, according to the company.

For example, the built-in set-up and configuration GUI supports both local and remote access, “drag and drop” window positioning and scaling, wall layout presets and input selection. In addition, the newly introduced View Controller adds a graphically-enhanced user interface with live thumbnails to simplify system operation. The processor can also be controlled by a variety of third-party devices.

RGB Spectrum’s MediaWall 4500 processor is the heart of Houston TranStar’s video wall, which provides transportation and emergency management services for the greater Houston region. The massive TranStar wall is able to simultaneously display traffic cameras, maps, satellite images and various feeds from state and federal agencies.

tvOne CorioMaster video wall processor

tvONE, headquartered in Erlanger, Ky., specializes in video, audio and multimedia processing equipment, and just introduced a new line of standalone video wall processors. The C3-540 CorioMaster and C3-510 CorioMaster Mini offer an efficient approach to building video display arrays.

A new resolution editor allows each output to be set up for custom, user-defined resolutions. With the editor, CorioMaster can be used as a video wall processing solution for a range of LED and custom display products.

In addition, the editor allows for custom resolutions to be created and uploaded into the unit to be used as input or output resolutions. New resolutions can be created through the unit’s API commands for each output or created by using the updated CorioDiscover app.


The NEC P462 display is designed for monitor wall systems.

A video wall would be nothing without a display system, and NEC Display Solutions of America provides professional-grade, industrial-strength LCD displays intended for 24/7 operation. They include additional thermal protection, internal temperature sensors with self-diagnostics and fan-based technology to prevent overheating.

The 46-inch NEC P462 display offers 1080p HD resolution for smooth video and crisp imagery. With TileMatrix technology, users can build a video wall up to 100 displays and still monitor the network from a remote location. The P462 can be quickly configured for a range of digital signage and video wall applications.

In addition to NEC and Christie, several companies have commercial-grade displays for monitor walls including Plura, Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, JVC and Planar. This seems obvious, but you should use identical displays from the same manufacturer when configuring a video wall.

Another alternative is to use a single large high-resolution display and spread images across this one display. For example, some of the above manufacturers build 98-inch 4K displays, including at least a couple with built-in multidisplay capability.

The Planar UltraRes 98-inch display can connect to eight different sources and display four at a time, each in full HD resolution. Two such monitors side-by-side creates an impressive view, with considerable built-in display flexibility.

Your choices for building a video wall have never been better, less expensive and more flexible. Depending on your needs, you can provide an amazing wow-factor in venues ranging from a building lobby to a stadium.