FAQs: Userful Network Video Wall™
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Q: What is a Video Wall?
A Video Wall is a way of outputting synchronized high-resolution graphics content to an arrangement of displays simultaneously. Typically this is achieved via a "video wall server" or "video wall controller". Video walls are commonly used in advertising, films, museums, broadcasting. It enables the arrangement of displays to function as a single large display. With Userful Network Video Wall a single host PC is able to output to one or more video walls over the network.
Q: What host PCs are compatible with Userful Network Video Wall?
Please visit Host PCs section under Hardware Guide for a complete list of certified host PCs.
Q: How do I license the Video Wall?
You can try out the solution for free via a free trial license from Userful or by purchasing a trial kit with our 30-day money back guarantee. For continued use, a full software license is required. For more information, visit Manage Licensing.
Q: How many displays I can use at the same time?
With Userful Network Video Wall basic solution you can set up to 9 displays, however with professional solution you can set up as many as 25 displays.
Q: Why does Userful recommend only Intel® 4th generation “Haswell” based host PC for the video wall?
Userful Network Video Wall is highly optimized for both the Intel CPU and GPU hardware, this is how we are able to achieve this level of advanced performance. While it is technically possible to run the video wall on older generation CPUs or brands other than Intel, the performance will not be acceptable. At present, only Intel® 4th generation CPUs will support hardware accelerated playback of 4096 x 4096 (4k) content and HTML 6K content. Intel® 2nd and 3rd generations can only decode up to 2k content without the aide of the CPU. Thus, if you play 4k content on 2nd or 3rd generation, it will not work efficiently. That's why we strongly recommend using Intel® 4th generation for the video wall solution.
Q: Can I install Userful Network Video Wall on my Windows PC?
Userful Network Video Wall is designed as a video wall "appliance" that is 100% browser managed. Though the solution is built on Linux, you don't need any Linux expertise to install or manage the solution. Though it cannot be installed on top of Windows, if you want to test out Userful Network Video Wall on a PC currently running Windows, you can install it to a separate partition of your hard drive and dual-boot between Windows and Linux.
Q: Do I need to hire any expert to setup my video wall?
No, not at all. You don't need any professional installer to setup video wall. Check out our Setup video for a quick walk-through.
Q: What is Control Center?
The Control Center is a browser based management portal used to configure video wall and monitor displays. It features:
- Station Mapping
- Configuring Video Wall
- Network Management
- Display settings
- Station access control
- New package installation and updates
- License management and access to support
How do I configure my video wall?
Q: Is Userful’s integrated Color Calibration compatible with displays?
Color Calibration is achieved by our software by adjusting color values directly at the zero-client chipset level (rather than adjusting settings within the display itself). This design ensures compatibility across a broad range of displays as well as having the further advantage of being able to calibrate color on video walls comprised of a heterogeneous mix of different displays. To learn more about Color Calibration, visit Configure Video Wall.
Q: How do I map content to the video wall?
After creating and calibrating your video wall using the graphical interactive video wall tool, your video wall will appear in the station mapping screen. This station mapping screen provides the ability to map multiple displays to "roles" / "session containers" via an intuitive drag and drop interface. Different types of Session Containers available for setting video wall are:
- Linux Desktop
- Signage Player
- Web Browser and Kiosks
- Cloud Desktop
- Remote Desktop Client
- Rise Vision Player
- Network Streamer
- HDMI Capture
Q: What kind of content can I play on a video wall?
Userful Network Video Wall is one of the most versatile video wall solutions in the market. It supports a broad range of both static and interactive content including:
- Live TV from your cable box, satellite receiver, DVD player, antenna, etc.
- Websites and web pages
- Tickers and crawls using RSS or text feeds
- Calendars, clocks, and other widgets (you can create these right from EasyStart)
Q: BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro Capture Card is required for HDMI Capture Session Container. Do I need to update its firmware?
Yes. To update firmware, simply type in the following command on the terminal as root user and reboot the system:
BlackmagicFirmwareUpdater update 0
where "0" represents the Capture card number.
Q: Can I use multiple HDMI capture cards on host PC?
Currently, we support only one HDMI capture Card. However, this limit will likely increase in future releases.
Q: Can I mirror my laptop on video wall in a conference room?
Yes. However, if you are switching between different laptops throughout the day, this is not a recommended use case, (since the HDMI capture settings may need to be changed as you switch from one laptop to another).
Q: My media player does not have an HDMI out, how can I run it on video wall?
While the vast majority of modern media players support HDMI out, Blackmagic Design does support alternative capture methods. Please look through their lineup of cards and contact us about your needs and we may be able to advise on the best approach. Obviously, it is also possible with some Content Management Systems to integrate the player software directly onto the Userful system, thus eliminating the need for an external player device.
Q: How can I connect (and output from) an external media player to the video wall?
Using HDMI Capture session container. Install a capture card and connect any non-HDCP source to the HDMI capture card.
Q: How can I connect my Xbox/PS4 to the video wall?
Install a supported HDMI video capture card and configure the HDMI Capture session container with the correct settings, then map your video wall to the corresponding session container.
Q: Is Userful's Network Streamer a RTSP client or Server?
Currently Userful Network Video Wall acts only as an RTSP client (not as a RTSP server). If you want to output content from your RTSP server (e.g., from a webcam or internet streaming service) to your video wall, Network Streamer container can do that. Simply setup the session container and then drag your video wall to map it to the network streaming session.
Q: Does your solution handle real time camera data streams and resolutions?
We support Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)streams as well as several other streaming protocols and we have tested 1080p RTSP camera streams. We are happy to work with you if you require a specific streaming format, or resolution.
Q: How can I run IPTV on video wall?
We support Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) and other network streaming protocols. In the near future we will also support Netflix and other IPTV formats. Please contact us with details of your project and the specific IPTV protocol you want to output.
Q: What types of integrated signage players can we run on the server (without any external media players or HDMI capture card)?
Currently, we support any browser-based content management solution, including Rise Vision and Signage Live. We are adding additional Content Management Systems all the time. If you have a specific Content Management System you would like to work with please let us know.
Q: Does Userful Network Video Wall supports native Samsung TV's network input instead of a zero-client device?
This is something we're going to look to support in future. Currently, network zero-client is required for each display.
Q: Does Userful Network Video Wall support content that is shot with multiple 4K cameras or offline content processed to 8K x 4K or even 12K/16K x 4K resolution?
The theoretical maximum resolution of Userful Network Video Wall is 16,000x16,000 pixels, however this only works for static "slide show" style images. It is possible to play videos at resolutions larger than 4096x4096 however once you get beyond this the frame-rate depends on the bitrate content and the power of the server as well as the encoding methods used. Intel® 4th generation's built in GPU decoder supports a maximum canvas of 4096 x 4096, so decoding anything larger than this will take away CPU power. Obviously, as next generation CPUs/GPUs come out our architecture will automatically support larger resolutions afforded by the latest hardware, which is a major advantage vs competing technologies that have a fixed output resolution and cannot be affordably upgraded as new servers become available.
Q: Can I run Virtual Desktop and use video wall solution as the Windows driver to display large virtual desktop across four displays?
Userful's Video Wall solution is Linux distribution. We do have a built in Virtual Machine functionality. Theoretically, you can display Windows 7 or Windows 8 Desktop across video wall using a Virtual Machine, however the performance is poor and this approach is not recommended. Instead, you can use a BlackMagic Design HDMI capture card on host PC and mirror Windows on video wall using HDMI Capture session container. This is the best way to get a high performance Windows-based video wall.
Q: What video compression format (H.264/H.265) does your solution send from a host PC to zero-clients?
The encoding is done by our software and is optimized to preserve image quality and network bandwidth while maintaining synchronization. Each zero-client device receives Motion JPEG (MJPEG) stream because using H.264/H.265 would introduce encoding and latency challenges that would not be acceptable for most use-cases; similarly uncompressed video would be far too demanding on the network and the endpoint.
Q:If I have an existing display management system (RS232 or Ethernet) how will it interact with Userful Network Video Wall?
The display connects to the zero-client device via either the HDMI or VGA port of your display. Hence, you could still use an Ethernet or RS232 control function using an external control and monitoring system to display for monitoring, settings, etc., and in the case of a smart display there is nothing that needs to be installed on the TV/Display itself.
Q: When you split 4K content to multiple displays, what filtering and processing are you doing on the scaled image before you send it out?
Both CPU and GPU are utilized to dynamically perform any scaling, rotation, cropping required for each of the individual segments of the video wall.
Q: Does your solution support 3D Games?
There are several ways to run 3D Games:
- Web-based Games that use WebGL can simply be run in a Chrome session container (be sure to enable the GPU-assisted acceleration)
- Native Linux 3D games (running in a Linux Login session container)
- HDMI capture using an external PC as the source
Q: Can I output multiple content sources on a single video-wall screen at the same time?
Yes. However, currently this functionality is only available via the "Linux Login" and "Cloud Desktop" session containers. These basically give you access to a Windows desktop environment and a full Window Manager where you can resize and move multiple windows around the screen. Alternatively, you can also use an external source (such as a Windows PC) and capture split and output the real time video feed via HDMI capture feature.
Q: Does your solution handle blending to send overlapping images to adjacent projectors?
We can adjust overlap via adjusting for a " negative bezel" thus creating an overlap region, but currently we don't support blending (as in reducing the intensity in the overlapping region to correct for the double or quadruple light).
Q: What if I have a problem? How can I troubleshoot my system?
The Control Center can help you solve any problems you may have. Selecting Help and Support > Troubleshoot a Problem from the Control Center navigation tree opens a page with links to relevant documentation that will be most helpful in solving a problem; if a problem cannot be solved using Userful's documentation, the fastest and best way to receive technical assistance from Userful's support team is to submit a problem report directly to Userful Customer Support through the Control Center.
Q: Can I control my video wall via mobile/laptop?
Yes, Once you are on the same network you can easily control it through Control Center. Please visit accessing Control Center section for instructions on how to access Control Center and administer video wall.
Q: How can I output audio from the video wall, or attach input devices to the video wall?
Top left station of the video wall is the designated zero-client device for both audio output and the device to which you would attach any USB input device you want attached to the video wall.
Q: One of the displays in video wall is blank, how do I reset that display?
Each video wall is controlled by the display on the top left corner of the video wall. Hence any action taken to this top left corner display will have the same effect on the video wall as it would on an independent display (e.g., Restarting or rebooting this display will restart that video wall). There are several ways to restart a display (or the top left corner of a video wall):
- Click the “Apply” button within the Station Mapping screen
- If there is a keyboard connected to the display type "Ctrl+Alt+Backspace”
- Open Control Center > Network Stations and click "Reset" button for top-left station
- Power-cycle the zero client device