Video Wall Design Methods
Cisco Vision Director supports the following different video wall design methods, depending on your media player model:
■TV-based tile matrix
■DMP-to-DMP content synchronization ( SV-4K and DMP-2K only)
■Zone-based video wall synchronization ( SV-4K and DMP-2K only)
Note : While TV-based tile matrix video walls can be used for the SV-4K, the best practice for full HD resolution is to use either DMP-to-DMP content synchronization or zone-based video wall synchronization methods.
TV-Based Tile Matrix
All media players support TV-based tile matrix video walls.
A TV-based tile matrix video wall requires the use of TVs that have built-in tile matrix capabilities, where video input from one player is stretched across all displays. Due to this stretching, the resolution is proportionately reduced.
The tile matrix functionality is configured using RS-232 commands that specify the overall "x" and "y" dimensions of the matrix, as well as each TV’s position in the video wall.
DMP-to-DMP Content Synchronization (SV-4K and DMP-2K only)
The DMP-to-DMP Content Synchronization feature for the SV-4K and DMP-2K media player synchronizes content rendering of playlist items on the displays.
This synchronization includes transitioning from one item to the next (such as for still images), and more accurate playback and rendering of local video content. For local video, this serves as the foundation for implementing video ribbon boards and video walls. This requires cabling of a single media player per display.
Note : Widgets, external URLs, and multicast video tuning synchronization are outside the scope of this feature.
Cisco Vision Director Release 4.0 and later supports enhanced content synchronization methods for the SV-4K and DMP-2K only, with close synchronization of playlist item transition using the Precision Time Protocol (PTP).
Zone-Based Video Wall Synchronization (SV-4K and DMP-2K only)
Zone-based video wall synchronization is an alternative form of synchronization available for SV-4K and DMP-2K devices participating in a video wall.
The primary benefit of this form of synchronization is that if any SV-4K and DMP-2K device that is not the leader in the video wall reboots, it will "catch up" to play whatever content item that the rest of the video wall is currently playing. This form of synchronization is recommended for dedicated video walls that are running video content longer than 15 minutes.
If an SV-4K and DMP-2K device reboots in a video wall that is not using zone-based video wall synchronization (using normal DMP-to-DMP synchronization), the tradeoff is that the rebooting device synchronizes with the rest of the video wall at the next content item in the playlist, or at replay of a single-item playlist.
Summary of Video Wall Synchronization Methods for the SV-4K and DMP-2K
Table 1 provides a comparison of the configuration guidelines and behavior for device reboot in an SV-4K and DMP-2K video wall for the two content synchronization methods.
Note : Both content synchronization methods use single device cabling per TV display. See Dynamic Video Wall Sizing.
Constant Bit Rate (CBR) is recommended for best performance.
Table 1 SV-4K and DMP-2K Video Wall Synchronization Summary 10
Multicast Config Required
Video Wall Reboot Behavior
Sync at next content item in the playlist.
Video content syncs with current item being played by the device leader.
Still images sync at next content item in the playlist.
Note : If the leader reboots, all
SV-4K and DMP-2K s will display black and resync when the leader has completed its reboot.
Dynamic Video Wall Sizing
New in this release is Sync Manager which synchronizes local videos across multiple DMPS. This is not for multicast streaming. To set this feature, you’ll need to set the Use as Video Wall to “true.” See Figure 1. This tells the system to treat the DMPS in a zone or group to be part of a video wall or not. This means now you *can* change a video wall size from one state to another.
Two good reasons to use Sync Manager:
1. When Sync Manager is “ON,” the system enables a “leader” DMP which maintains very tight synchronization between all the DMPs in the video wall. The leader DMP controls precisely where all DMPs play content, regardless of failure.
2. If one of the DMPs has to reboot or gets restarted, without Sync Manager enabled, that DMP would restart the video file and start replaying the content from the beginning, not being able to jump to the exact location of the other DMPs, which would throw-off the continuity of the video wall.
Figure 1 Enable Dynamic Video Wall Sizing
Daisy-Chained TV Displays for TV-Based Tile Matrix Video Walls
This cabling method is supported by all media players and uses the native tile matrix capabilities of the TV displays in the video wall.
In this cabling method, the TV displays in the video wall group are connected together using the DVI In/Out ports. One media player is connected to a single TV in the group using HDMI and RS-232 connections.
Figure 2 shows an example of a 2x2 tile matrix configuration with 4 displays daisy-chained in a group with control of the group by a single SV-4K media player. In this example, notice that all displays are using 1920x1080 format.
IMPORTANT: For the 2x1 portion of the video wall, the DMP crops a 1920x1080 canvas to the 960x1080 signal resolution rather than shrinks it. Therefore, you must specify the correct template to match your signal resolution and your content must match the template. For more information, see Understanding Content and TV Resolution.
Figure 2 Daisy-Chained 2x2 Tile Matrix Example with the SV-4K
DMP Connection Per TV Display in a Video Wall
For display of synchronized local content (video or images) in your video wall, this method is only supported by the SV-4K and DMP-2K media player.
In this cabling method for local video synchronization, a single media player is connected to each TV display in the video wall using the HDMI Out and RS-232 connections ( Figure 3). It can be used for video walls playing local video that do not rely on the tile matrix capabilities of the TV.
With this architecture, you can develop content at 3840x2160 resolution. Then, divide your video into four 1920x1080 pieces for synchronized playback. This method will use the maximum resolution for each display giving you the highest possible quality for your presentation.
Figure 3 Video Wall with Single SV-4K Per TV Display
This cabling method also is required for zone-based synchronization using the SV-4K and DMP-2K, which is recommended to achieve enhanced functionality for dedicated video walls running videos with a duration greater than 15 minutes.
Video Wall Design Examples
This section provides examples of some of the more common and currently deployed video wall designs in Cisco Vision venues.
TIP: Be sure to consult with the video wall experts from the Cisco Creative Services team for any of your video wall ideas, including non-standard configurations. This team can help you with ideas, best practices, and wiring diagrams to ensure a successful deployment.
2x3 TV-Based Tile Matrix Video Wall Example
Figure 4 shows a video wall commonly used in a concourse area, with a larger game feed for groups of patrons to watch, along with rotating sponsor content displayed beside the game.
Figure 4 2x3 Video Wall Content Example
A 2x3 video wall is the most common video wall that Cisco recommends because in the left 2x2 group of displays, the game feed maintains the proper 16:9 aspect ratio of the HD game feed.
The right 2x1 group of displays can work independently from the game feed and show sponsor, social, or other content throughout the game. The user also can change the type of content that plays during the game. For example, during half-time or period break, when there is no game feed, the user can switch the 2x2 to play full screen sponsor content, while changing the 2x1 to show upcoming events or team branded content so that there are not any sponsor conflicts.
Figure 5 shows the cabling for the 2x3 video wall example, where two Cisco DMPs are used to break the wall into different display areas.
The first DMP provides the 2x2 game feed and the second DMP provides the 2x1 sponsor ads.
Note : This cabling design is not the recommended design for the SV-4K and DMP-2K media player. Instead, a single player per display is preferred for video walls. For more information, see the DMP Connection Per TV Display in a Video Wall. In addition, use of any resolution other than 1920x1080 is not technically supported on the SV-4K and DMP-2K (although it might work).
Figure 5 2x3 Video Wall Cabling Example Using TV Tile Matrix Functionality
These dedicated DMPs provide the video signal for the group of TVs that the DMP is connected to through the daisy-chain. Depending on the screen manufacturer, the RS-232 connections can also be daisy-chained if this feature is available.
When operating in tile matrix mode, the TVs are fed the same video signal. Based on the TV’s tile matrix configuration, the TV knows to first scale input video to the size of the configured x,y dimensions, and then to display its “piece” of the overall display based on its configured position within the matrix.
Note : If you want to show multiple types of content, such as four different channels on each of the screens, connect a DMP behind each TV.
Other Video Wall Configurations
While the 2x3 video wall is the most commonly used video wall configuration, using the information and concepts for the Figure 5, you can create any number of different video wall configurations.
IMPORTANT: These video wall examples require a different number of DMPs and cabling than the 2x3 video wall.
Figure 6 4x4 Video Wall Example
Figure 7 3x5 Video Wall Example
Figure 8 2x7 Video Wall Example
Restrictions for Video Walls
Before you create video walls with the SV-4K and DMP-2K, consider the following restrictions:
■In Release 4.1 and earlier releases, multicast video is not supported for a multi-screen video wall. For example, the SV-4K and DMP-2K cannot stretch multicast content across four displays to convey a single image.
Note : Support for multicast video scaling in a video wall with the SV-4K and DMP-2K is introduced in Release 5.0.
■All screens in the video wall should use 1920x1080 format.
■Widgets, external URLs, and multicast video tuning synchronization are not supported by the DMP-to-DMP content synchronization feature for the SV-4K and DMP-2K media player.
■When using zone-based content synchronization for video walls, one device controls synchronization. If that device stops showing video, then all displays in the video wall stop showing content.
How to Configure Video Walls with the SV-4K and DMP-2K Media Player
This section includes the following topics:
■ Prerequisites for Video Walls
■ Workflow Summary to Configure SV-4K and DMP-2K Video Walls
■ Configuring Zone-Based Video Wall Synchronization for the SV-4K and DMP-2K
Prerequisites for Video Walls
Before you deploy video walls and create the content for them, be sure that the following conditions are met:
■Beginning in Release 5.0, scaling of multicast video is supported for a video wall in both portrait and landscape orientation. See Content Scaling.
■Generally speaking, stretching a piece of content across multiple screens is not supported.
–Local video or image content to be played in an SV-4K or DMP-2K video wall first must be created in the overall format of the video wall to be supported, and then edited into separate 1920x1080 files that contain the segment of content to be shown on each display.
–For example, in a 2x2 SV-4K video wall (4 screens), the original content should be in 3840x2160 format (that is, 2 times 1920x1080). Then, it should be broken into four individual files of 1920x1080 format to show the appropriate portion of the content for the 4-screen display.
■For SV-4K or DMP-2K content synchronization:
–Each SV-4K or DMP-2K media player must be in its own group.
–For each region, the playlists must have the same number of items, type of item, and duration of each item, or have no playlist at all in the region (empty).
Table 2 shows an example of playlist content for a 2x2 SV-4K video wall with a mix of local video and image content. Notice that all first items in each of the four playlists are of the same type (PNGs), with the same duration, but the content itself is not the same. Likewise, the second item in each playlist is video content with the same duration, but different files.
Table 2 2x2 Video Wall Playlist Example for the SV-4K
–Trim local video item duration to boundaries in seconds and not fractions of seconds.
IMPORTANT : If your imported video content duration is in fractions of seconds, then the Content screen shows the actual item duration for the video. However, the system actually rounds that content duration for the playlist to even time boundaries (in seconds). Also, if you manually change the item duration within the Cisco Vision Director UI, the content playback will be truncated.
■For SV-4K or DMP-2K zone-based video wall synchronization:
–Each media player must be in its own group.
–Collectively, the groups that are part of the video wall are placed in a zone.
–The "Use as Video Wall" checkbox is selected when you create the zone for the SV-4K or DMP-2K groups.
Workflow Summary to Configure SV-4K and DMP-2K Video Walls
Table 3 provides a summary of the tasks and guidelines for you to complete when configuring a video wall using SV-4K or DMP-2K media players.
Table 3 SV-4K and DMP-2K Video Wall Task Workflow
Configuring Zone-Based Video Wall Synchronization for the SV-4K and DMP-2K
Zone-based video wall synchronization provides enhanced recovery for video walls if an SV-4K or DMP-2K reboots during the running of a playlist. It is intended for dedicated video walls running video content of longer duration (> 15 minutes).
Enabling System Support for Zone-Based Video Wall Synchronization for the SV-4K and DMP-2K
User Role: Administrator
To enable system support for zone-based video wall synchronization:
1. Change the setting for zone-based video wall synchronization to true:
a. From the Management Dashboard, go to SV Director Configuration > System Configuration > Global DMP Settings > SV-DMP Common Settings.
b. In the Configuration Property box, locate the Zone Based Video Wall Synchronization property.
c. In the value box, type true.
d. Click Apply.
2. To verify the multicast configuration for zone-based video wall synchronization:
a. From the Management Dashboard, go to Dynamic Signage Director Configuration > System Configuration > Global DMP Settings > Networking.
b. Verify that the default values for the following properties are compatible with your network, and change as required:
Content sync multicast address—22.214.171.124
Content sync multicast port—50001
Configuring Groups and Zones for Zone-Based Video Wall Synchronization for the SV-4K and DMP-2K
User Role: Administrator / Content Manager
To configure zone-based video wall synchronization for the SV-4K and DMP-2K :
1. Go to Event Management > Control Panel > Setup > Zones & Groups> Groups.
2. Create a new group for each media player that is part of the video wall.
3. Add only one SV-4K or DMP-2K location per group.
4. Create a new zone and select the Use as Video Wall checkbox.
5. Add all SV-4K or DMP-2K groups in the video wall to the zone.
Note : Synchronization applies only to video and still images. Synchronization cannot be guaranteed for other content such as tickers, external URLs, or widgets.