I have seen it done multiple ways (I have some AV project background). On the high end I was involved in large project where 60 water-cooled rear projection displays made up the video wall along with Crestron touch panels, Extron AV matrix switchers, and numerous architectural interfaces (AV inputs with line drivers) made up a $4 million video wall. On the low end I have personally hung 8 professional grade displays on a wall, used HDMI to single Cat5e transmitters (due to distance), and a pricey workstation. Obviously that was much less expensive but it is not particularly scalable and nowhere near as feature rich.
Many VMS also offer some level of support for a video wall. Milestone has one called SmartWall built in to Xprotect Corporate but it is pretty basic. I know Geovision and Avigilon have something as well but I have not used them.
If you're working on the high end projects... get an AV company involved. There is just too much programming and switching necessary unless you know what you are doing.
On the low end projects just be mindful of EDID and you should be ok. No one likes when the workstation reboots and the entire display wall rearranges itself. Something with better EDID management than Windows should ideally be between whatever is driving the video wall (workstation) and the displays.
Also on the low end, but a very fun idea, is to make use of OPS PCs to embed the workstation directly into the monitors. I've seen it done for digital signage but AFAIK no one has done it on surveillance yet.
AMD W600 graphics card gives 4k on each of 6 displays simultaneously, via Display Port connections.
Probably need a Client PC containing 8GB RAM, i7 CPU and 240GB SSD, linked to VMS servers.
4k screens are quite affordable now already. Good for displaying multiple HD cameras on a split screen.
The new Mac Pro also can do 3 x 4K display ports simultaneously.
Probably none f the video walls Rogier saw at ISE were sent video from a pc with multiple outputs. Usually they go behind a matrix switchers, a video wall processor, some of them panels have inbuilt software, and so on.
Panasonic makes a plug in pc that goes inside some of their displays allowing for video monitoring, etc. I personally have used IP Keyboard/Mouse software (Similar to KVM, but just KM). This lets you have multiple PCs/monitors and 1 keyboard and mouse to control. The slot PC also has multiple monitor outputs to drive 2 monitors from 1.
Very clean and elegant solution. It can pass the HDMi video through the slot bus, and also have HDMI/VGA outputs.
IP keyboard/mouse sharing software - freeware
One of the reason I'm mostly looking at these videowalls is due to two reasons:
- We need a workable solution for stations who have allot of HD camera's. So far we see two possible solutions. One being a few hefty workstations connected to a videowall controller with a videowall connected to it. Being LCD panel or LCD monitors.
The other one I'm quite considering is either monitors with mini PC's in them, or Intell NUC's attached behind the monitor. WHich handle only the single monitor it's attached to.
Since we run Milestone I can get them to use the Smart Wall function to manage the wall.
- We sometimes get the question if it's not possible to integrate the monitors on the desks since they are getting more and more. Here I really see a good use for a videowall controller. As one can add the video next to the SCADA they use and various other systems. Reducing the number of loose monitors on the desks.
At first I ignored the mini PC's as having way to few CPU power. However, I think that if you have a decent i5, it should be able to handle 9 streams. Which in most cases, is the highest number of streams you need on a single screen. I'm setting up a NUC now to test this theory.
Ok, so to give you some more info with my findings.
I have a NUC laying around here so I did somet tests with my Milestone client to see how it would respond. This particular NUC has an i3-4010U (Duo-core 1,7 Ghz). I could run 9 to 12 different streams before running to its max. Now do note, it was running on 90%-100%. Which isnt what one would want.
However, the NUC's are availible as i5 2,8 Ghz and they announced an i7 serie as well.
So it seems that NUC do seem like a workable solution for single monitors.
Then I did some study on the 'PC in a monitor'-cards. Apparently this is called OPS. Which stands for Open Pluggable Specification. It's a standard created for the Digital Signage market. From what I can gather, they're basicly NUC's in a standard form so you can slam them into a monitor so you have less connections.
It seems to be still quite new and I couldn't find products of them the large computer manufactuers (HP, Intell itself). However, it does seem that allot of monitor manufactuers have either prepped their new monitors to support it, and in some cases even sell their own OPS-modules.
Names I found so far are Panasonic, LG, NEC, AG Neovo.
Imho, I think OPS might have some sure value in the future. It does however seem a bit too new at the moment to start to use it. Since it's created with Digital Signage in mind.
I am curious on how you will use the video wall on Milestone once completed. Will you pop up video based on events that occur at the camera or on an integrator access control system? Or will it be used just for the guards to view whatever groups of cameras they want to see... Or both?