Initially standardized by the cinema market, 4K resolution has quickly gained popularity, becoming the preferred choice for a suite of display applications.
Televisions, digital signage, visualization and simulation, entertainment or medical imaging, are some of the markets that have recognized the advantages of the high pixel density and detail offered by 4K resolution.
However, in the case of control room video walls intended for security and tracking, 4K resolution is not the best option. Let's know why.
Interest in 4K resolution in control rooms
There are two areas that have driven interest in 4K resolution in control rooms: content ingestion and desktop forensics. Advances in high-resolution capture and streaming equipment, such as 12MP cameras and high-bandwidth networking, have provided control room operators with the ability to view and manage high-resolution content. A high resolution allows you to perceive more details, something fundamental in certain applications.
Thus, 4K displays make it possible for the operator to execute a forensic analysis with which to clearly perceive details as detailed as the license plate of a car or the facial features of a person. In security environments, the advantages of that degree of detail are evident.
However, if we focus on the large format videowall typical of the control room, we will see that, in addition to being unnecessary, the 4K resolution actually limits the operator's ability to properly evaluate the content displayed.
4K resolution helps control room operators run desktop forensics, but in the case of large-format video walls, if you want to guarantee an optimal vision, HD resolution stands out as the best option.
4K videowalls: lost in detail
Sometimes, an excess of detail is too much. When displaying 4K content on a 4K video wall, certain aspects of the image look very small.
Contents such as fonts, marks on maps, SCADA images, dashboards, web pages and other types of objects that require a thorough viewing look so small that they are illegible, because the vision is conditioned by what the human eye interprets according to the distance and the type of content shown.
In 4K resolution, the optimal viewing is done from very close and on a small display, such as a desktop monitor of an operator console. However, when viewing content on a video wall, with the operators of the control room sitting at some distance from the display, certain types of images in 4K resolution are unreadable.
Something that is even more complicated if we take into account the usual practice of showing several sources throughout the videowall.
HD: The best option for control room video walls
With decades of experience leading the way in providing control room solutions, we know precisely which products work best in that type of environment.
There are times when specifying a videowall to a partner or a client you are surprised by our recommendation to opt for HD videowalls if you want a better and more readable viewing experience.
Most commercial-grade HD 1080P displays, such as LCD or LED mosaic video walls, offer more than enough resolution for today's control room environment. Apart from providing a better user experience, HD video walls are considerably cheaper than their 4K equivalents.
In addition, operators can continue to use their high-resolution cameras, as Christie's display products allow native 4K content to be scaled to fit HD displays appropriately.
In short: control rooms can continue to use a 4K workflow for detailed desktop analysis, when they need it, and benefit from a better viewing experience when interacting with the video wall. Of course, operators can group up to four HD sources in a single window of the video wall to display native 4K content.
*By Clayton Brito, Director for Latin America of Christie's Enterprise division.