With so much video content available to homeowners these days, one of the toughest decisions you may have to make is choosing what to watch. If you’ve invested in a media streaming device, there’s a bounty of programming available, as well as the standard DVD, cable or satellite TV programming and more. Video distribution systems can minimize the head scratching over what to watch by giving multiple TVs access to the same suite of video gear. This means you can watch golf in one room while your kids play video games in another and your spouse enjoys a movie in another area. Everybody gets what they want, but the arrangement certainly fails and fostering family togetherness. Enter video tiling systems, like the SmartView Video Tiling system from Savant. Connected to your home audio/video system, it can divide a large projection screen, or TV screen, into several individual windows, or tiles. For most people, installing one screen and a projector will be less labor intensive–and probably less expensive—then investing in multiple high-res displays and the appropriate mounting hardware for each.
Plus, with a system like the SmartView, you’ll be able to adjust the size, shape, and configuration of your video tiles on the fly. With pinch and zoom action on a tablet or touchscreen, you can alter the size of the screen tiles, move them around, and pick between one and eight or nine views, depending on the system. The configuration of the video wall can transform fluidly from one arrangement to another, based on your viewing preferences.
If you do invest in a system like this–they start at $4,000 just for the tiling processor–be sure that the home systems installation company that installs it (yes, professional installation is required), designs a mode of control that is easy to use. Maneuvering multiple streams of video into multiple viewing tiles could get confusing after all, so intuitive control is essential. Thankfully, systems like the SmartView include customizable software that a professional can use to create a navigation menu that makes the process simple and straightforward. A menu that’s commonly utilized by professional home systems integrators would display on an iPad or touchscreen a graphical replica of the actual video wall. Just touch a particular screen on the menu and drag the icon of the video component you’d like for it to display and that content appears on the matching video tile on the screen. The remaining screens are set up in a similar manner. The menu also allows you to choose the audio you’d like to hear–be it from the largest screen in the middle or from one of the smaller windows on the side.
Thanks to technology, our at-home entertainment options are virtually endless. You can stream video from the Internet, watch traditional cable and satellite programming, play video games, surf the Web, scope out surveillance video, and project family photos and digital art onto any screen in your home. Why not take full advantage of the remarkable selection by having a video wall installed? No longer will you be forced to choose one program over another or to surf incessantly through the channels to catch everything that’s important to you. You’ll be able to access a wide assortment of entertainment and watch it all at the same time from the comfort of the family room couch.