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Clarity Matrix Video Wall a Tool for Delivering Advanced Training to the Growing Ranks of AV Professionals

The Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D. Center for Professional Development is a centerpiece on the campus of InfoComm International in Fairfax, Virginia. The center was established to provide audio visual training, certification and standards programs, with the goal of continuously improving the standing and performance of the AV industry. In support of that goal, the center recently upgraded its key classroom space, including implementation of advanced video wall technology from Planar Systems.

A living laboratory of advanced technology

"We provide AV designers, integrators and installers with a living laboratory that offers real-world exposure to the very latest technology," says Bill Thomas, Staff Instructor at InfoComm. "The Planar video wall is an example of that technology and it's a tool that, by virtue of its design, enables us to train more people more effectively, than would otherwise be possible."
The Planar video wall – a six-wide-by-three-high (6 x 3) tiled array of 55-inch Clarity™ Matrix LCD displays (MX55HD) – has a slim profile that allows it to be integrated into the front wall of the classroom space. The video wall was selected over other LCD-based video wall solutions and rear projection systems – such as had been installed and performed less effectively in the classroom where there is a high level of ambient light.

Video wall's slim profile was a driving factor

"The Clarity Matrix has a total installed depth of less than four inches, which is about half the depth of other video walls, says Will Seifert, AV Technology Manager at Corbett Technology Solutions, Inc. (CTSI), who led the installation. "This slim profile was a driving factor in the selection of Clarity Matrix since it afforded the space that was needed to handle the growing number of students. It is a key reason Clarity Matrix was the best fit for the project needs," Seifert adds.

Clarity Matrix delivered other important benefits; in particular, as a result of its off-board electronics design, a Planar innovation that enables certain Clarity Matrix components to be remotely located. The first benefit was heat dissipation. Allowing controller, power supplies and similar equipment to be housed away from the video wall reduces the likelihood of heat-induced problems, which preserves the life of the displays and precludes the need for active cooling on the video wall itself.

Features for energy monitoring, easy servicing, content management

Furthermore, remote location facilitates easy power monitoring. "From the rack room, InfoComm technicians can readily keep tabs on the video wall's power consumption, ensuring that it consistently performs within the published InfoComm/ANSI AV Systems Energy Management standards," Seifert continues. "This also made Clarity Matrix more attractive since it was unnecessary to purchase and install additional equipment dedicated to power monitoring."

The Clarity Matrix video wall was installed with Planar's EasyAxis™ Mounting System, another Planar innovation that assures quick and precise mounting of a tiled video wall, including a large one such as InfoComm's. The EasyAxis Mounting System was engineered specifically for Clarity Matrix, so panels can be mounted and aligned easily, cabling can be easily routed to the off-board rack room, and individual panels can be accessed for servicing, without the entire video wall having to be taken down. "As an integrator, we like the EasyAxis Mounting System because it was engineered for Clarity Matrix. So we just assemble it right out of the box and it works," Seifert says. "We don't have to spend hours designing a custom mount or making an off-the-shelf mount work. It minimizes our time and is one less variable to have to worry about, so there are a lot of plusses to it from our perspective."

Content management is easy with Clarity Matrix. Planar designed the system with pre-sets for a variety of screen layouts. "For example, there is a pre-set for comparing and contrasting side-by-side images on three-by-three screen arrays, he adds. "This is all done using the Clarity Matrix's internal processing so no outside video wall processing equipment is required."

High image quality ensures easy viewing of intricate content

Finally, both Thomas and Seifert give the Clarity Matrix high marks for its image quality. They say its contrast ratio (3,500:1) is especially important because it allows content on the video wall to be easily seen from throughout the classroom under virtually any lighting condition. "The students can see even the smallest and most intricate content, we can show them how and why digital video wall technology compares to older-generation projection systems, and we can give them first-hand experience in installing, integrating and using these types of systems," Thomas says.