So you want to watch NHL, NBA, and NFL sports but they are all on at the same time. When scheduling conundrums for live TV present themselves, there is nothing better than having a multi-screen video wall so that you can watch everything simultaneously. We talked with multi-screen maven Modern Home Systems in San Diego for the skinny on how the average Joe might accomplish such a room in their own home. Here’s what we learned.
1) Multi-Screen Walls Are Rad
For one, a multi-screen wall will let each member of the family watch what they please, not to mention allow the sports fans in the home to catch all the broadcast games at once. “We typically install multi-screen arrays in family rooms so each member of the family can watch what they please. This feature of course is great for sports bars as well,” says Otto Benson, Modern Home Systems president. We’ve seen multi-screen applications that are used in the home office of, say, a stockbroker who needs to keep his eye on the ticker or financial news, but who also wants to watch his favorite morning programs. Of course, there is also the added wow factor in your home theater and the oohs and ahhs to be had from admiring friends and neighbors.
2) You Can Get Multi-Screen Many Ways
A multi-screen array can be accomplished a few different ways depending on your preferences and budget. The traditional method is to install one big screen with smaller ones flanking it. For example, a projection screen in the middle and 32″ or 42″ screens surrounding it (like the one shown above).
If you like the look and feel of a video wall but don’t want multiple TV screens–processing is the answer. For example, Savant’s Video Tiling feature (pictured below) allows you to have several different tiles with different video sources on one larger screen. Savant is introducing a highly capable control and automation solution for $1000 this spring. The Video Tiling technology requires significant video processing capabilities to deliver up to nine HD programs on a single HD display, all easily controlled using an iPad app. Savant’s Video Tiling solutions start at roughly $12,000 in required hardware, and these customizable systems range upward from that price point, depending on features and functionality.
If you are going for more of a “man-cave” or media room feel, check out Runco’s WindowWall, which lets you choose as many video screens as you want. “This feature also allows you to run different video sources at once or turn the entire wall into one big picture,” says Benson.
3) Video-Gaming on Multi-Screen Wall Not a Given
While there seems to be a demand for multiple screens in the video game world to accommodate multiple gamers, to accomplish such a feat using multiple screens means you need several gaming consoles. “Multi-screens can translate to gaming only if there are multiple devices connected to the various screens or to the tiling feature,” says Benson.
4) Multi-Screen Arrays Aren’t Just for the Rich (Anymore)
“The multi-screen process has come a long way, and that’s where video tiling has become a big hit. Instead of having to purchase multiple TV screens which can be a bit pricey, you can purchase one large TV and integrate the Savant system and program it with video tiling,” says Benson. Budgets for creating a multi-screen wall, no matter what platform you’re using, are scalable depending on what you, the homeowner, are trying to accomplish. For example, you may want only three video feeds at smaller sizes, which is going to be way cheaper than the five separate TVs in a traditional video wall.
5) Controlling a Multi-Screen Wall Is Simple
Back in the day, when systems like these were reserved only for high-end sports clubs or homes, controlling what content goes on what screen could be complex for the user. “Control panels will all vary depending on the system you integrate it with,” says Benson, who prefers Savant’s Apple-based control, which lets homeowners use an ecosystem (iPhone, iPad or iMac) they are already familiar with to to control their audio/video, lighting, shades, HVAC, and more.
So whether you are a sports fan, like to watch all the daytime soaps at once, or need to watch multiple feeds for work, a multi-screen array is the way to go. The multi-screen phenomenon is not going away and is only becoming less difficult to accomplish, more affordable, and easier to operate. Contact your local CEDIA installer to get one of these bad boys in your own home or give Modern Home Systems a call.