Video walls deliver the wow factor and imbue commercial office space with that modern look associated with cutting-edge companies. Video walls display content in a way that is unique and captures the attention of target audiences.
However, the high cost (or at least the perception of a high cost), typically associated with such display technology has prevented many businesses from building their dream video wall.
You can absolutely still create such displays on a budget without breaking the bank, though. This article will provide you with a general overview of what a video wall for a commercial enterprise might cost, from a very simple video wall to a much more elaborate setup. This will help you narrow down the size, style, and price range that fits your needs and budget.
The overall costs of a video wall depend largely on size, processor, type of display technology and quality of video mounts, as well as ancillary costs like installation, making video walls one of the most customizable pieces of technology you can install.
Now, one more note before I start breaking down options and prices. When I talk about video walls, I’m not referring to buying four TVs from a big box store and hanging them together. TVs are problematic as video walls for a number of reasons. Their bezels are usually larger and have logos, they’re usually not bright enough to serve as commercial displays, and they can’t meet the demand of 24/7 usage. You’ll hear me discuss LCDs and LEDs, but when I do, I’ll be referring to monitors, not TVs. It’s an important distinction.
Okay, let’s get started.
While blended front projections and rear projection cubes are viable options for video walls, LED and LCDs are the most common display technology used for video walls.
Generally, LEDs are more expensive than LCDs (for models that deliver the same image quality), making the latter the budget-friendly choice. The major tradeoff is the LCD’s bezel lines for the line-free LED array.
When viewed from a distance, LED displays deliver a large seamless image presentation that’s ideal for stage presentation screens, corporate branding, and digital signage use cases. Using the correct pixel pitch makes LED display deliver a picture-perfect image that’s free of bezels or lines; however, they are not great for close viewing, though that is improving.
For simple video walls, a basic 2×2 high-quality LCD unit can cost as little as $4800, while larger, more elaborate setups with more advanced features (touchscreen capabilities) can go as high as $30,000.
You also need to consider the cost of mounting hardware and installation. A 2×2 mounting kit costs around $650, freestanding mounting kits go for $2,500 while complex sliding rails for very large displays can cost as much as $100,000. There are cost-effective options for enterprises on a budget as well as elaborate setups for companies who want to pull out all the stops.
A 1.2mm pixel pitch LED video wall costs approximately $2K sq./ft. This figure translates into $200K for a video wall with 160” x 90” outside dimensions. This includes the mounts, panels and installation costs without taking into account the cost of infrastructure, installation and programming and other ancillary costs (like tax and shipping).
While LEDs are more expensive than LCDs, they lend themselves to more customization in terms of size and shape, with the added benefit of being bezel-less.
It’s best not to scrimp on mounts. You should choose a mount that is sufficiently rigid to prevent sagging and able to provide alignment adjustments in all axes when needed. Most importantly, use mounts that permit front serviceability of individual panels. This prevents the need to remove other panels to service just one failed panel, thus reducing the cost of maintenance and repairs.
There is also a new motorized video wall mount that allows monitors to be serviced without even touching them. I’ll discuss this more in a future post.
Video processors handle video rotation, layering, or windowing of content and other custom effects. Depending on the content to be displayed and how it will be displayed, video processors can easily become the most expensive component of the video wall. The cost depends largely on the number of simultaneous layers displayed on the wall at a given time and the number of physical inputs and outputs required. Processors can range from $15k to $80K, depending on complexity.
For very simple video walls, you can purchase processors that cost far less. However, you should always go for good quality processors since low-quality ones may produce slow videos that will ruin the effect of your displays.
Now, some video wall monitors actually have tiling built in, so basic functionality already exists within the displays themselves. So if what you are displaying is very simple and straightforward, you may not even need a processor.
Also, custom content needs to be created (or scaled to fit) for video walls that don’t come in standard resolutions like 1080P, 2K,4K, etc. You might want to avoid such non-standard walls since it can be quite expensive to create such custom content. Instead, try to use a video wall layout that maintains standard aspect ratios. For LED walls, this means a 16:10, 16:9, or other cinema aspect ratios while LCD arrays should come in 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and other standard array sizes.
*You can use software alternatives to convert existing content to desired aspect ratios rather than using video wall processor hardware.
With the wide range in prices of video wall components, processors, mounts and other ancillary fees, companies can afford to build a video wall, no matter their budget constraints. While DIY installation costs can help reduce costs, it isn’t advisable. You should always look for reliable, high-quality vendors and installation experts to help you create the ideal video wall for your business.