The Raspberry Pi is arguably the best Linux minicomputer on the market, and it is useful for a variety of applications. One of these applications for Raspberry Pis is using the device to support a Raspberry Pi video wall. A video wall displays - you guessed it - video content for commercial promotion and advertising, personal DIY projects, educational purposes, and more. Below we detail how you and your team can use this device for your video wall needs.
Why is the RaspPi an excellent solution for a video wall controller?
There are a couple of reasons this computer-on-a-chip is a great device for a video wall controller. First, the device is cheap. The latest model of the device, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, can be purchased for around US $30 on its own. However, with all the required accessories, each device will end up costing about US $100. Still, this price tag is much cheaper than a stand-alone PC. The savings associated with a Raspberry Pi when compared to a stand-alone PC are significant for deployments with multiple screens. Another important source for cost savings is the Raspberry Pi’s low power draw. The device only draws 3 watts of electricity. This number is quite impressive considering the Raspberry Pi can display full 1080p HD content. This low energy draw makes the electricity costs of a Raspberry Pi video deployment very low. This low cost can result in thousands of dollars in savings when compared to the electricity costs of other media players.
Another important feature of a Raspberry Pi video wall controller is the availability of digital signage management software. After setting up your Raspberry Pi video wall displays, you will need to manage your video content. Management tasks include uploading and storing video assets, compiling videos into playlists, and scheduling video content. Fortunately, there are useful open source and professional, paid software solutions to assist with digital sign content management. Professional digital signage software is useful for video wall deployments with multiple screens. The software is helpful in this scenario as users can change content directly from their computer. With this software, users do not have to travel to each Raspberry Pi video wall controller.
How can I get started with a Raspberry Pi video wall?
To get started with your Raspberry Pi video wall, you will need both hardware and software. For hardware, we recommend the latest model of the Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. While you can use other models, the latest device will provide optimal performance for your video display. Next, you will need an official Raspberry Pi power source. This proper power supply will ensure you do not run into several common issues associated with the minicomputer. You will also need an HDMI cable to connect your Raspberry Pi media player to your display. Additionally, you will need a microSD card to store the required video wall software for your Raspberry Pi and your video wall content.
The Screenly Box 0 comes with all of these components bundled together. We designed the Screenly Box 0 for customers who are just getting started with their Raspberry Pi video wall deployment. The Screenly Box 0 simplifies the purchasing experience as it allows users to purchase all they need to get started in a single product. However, while you can connect to WiFi with most Raspberry Pis, we recommend you connect to the internet via ethernet cable. Connecting via ethernet will help you avoid any wireless connectivity issues. If you do not already have an ethernet cable, be sure to purchase one separately. The Screenly Box 0 does not include an ethernet cable.
For software, you can use free digital signage management software such as Screenly OSE (Open Source Edition). You can also use a paid, professional software solution such as Screenly’s paid version (referred to simply as “Screenly”). As mentioned, Screenly has a variety of useful features that users will not find in Screenly OSE. These features include the ability to manage the content of multiple screens from a central interface. Learn more about the differences between Screenly OSE and Screenly in our Screenly OSE vs. Screenly (Paid Version) article.
For a Raspberry Pi video wall tutorial, check out the videos below on how to get started with Screenly. The first video below details how users can flash Screenly software onto their microSD card.
This second video, found below, details how users can add video content to their Screenly accounts. The video also details how users can schedule when their content plays on their Raspberry Pi video wall.
I want my video wall to display the same video and fragment it across multiple screens. How do I do that with the Raspberry Pi?
Users may want to make a larger display by splitting the same video across multiple screens. This requirement is more challenging than showing a video on a single screen. However, users can still fulfill this requirement with the Raspberry Pi. To create a 2x2 video wall with 1080p HD resolution, users will need to purchase a Gefen HD Video Wall Controller. This comes at a whopping US $1,300, however this controller works well with a single Raspberry Pi running either Screenly or Screenly OSE software. Other video wall software solutions require a network switch and ethernet connections to multiple Raspberry Pis. With the Gefen HD Video Wall Controller, users can build a video wall with just a single Raspberry Pi and HDMI connections. You can read more on this set up on our previous blog post on Raspberry Pi video walls.
Going forward with a Raspberry Pi video wall
We hope this article provided a useful overview of how to deploy a video wall with the Raspberry Pi. Whether your business needs a video wall with a single screen or a video wall that displays a single video that is split across multiple screens, the Raspberry Pi can handle your needs. If you have any questions on how Screenly can be used in your deployment, reach out to Screenly support.
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