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February 27, 2022

8K+ Videowalls to Benefit from Nanolumens-Megapixel VR Partnership

We saw a recent press release describing a partnership between LED videowall provider Nanolumens and video processing company Megapixel VR. What intrigued us was their claim of support for very large, 8K+ videowall canvases with high-quality processing able to support multiple HDR formats and a full 8K video pipeline. So, we reached out to the companies to learn more.

It turns out this partnership is much more than a marketing relationship. One of the key elements of the Megapixel VR capabilities is their PX1 processor. This element sits in the Nanolumen’s LED tile providing the horsepower to enable high-quality images. These tiles in turn connect to the Megapixel Helios processor via an IP network. The diagram below provides an overview of the system architecture with multiple input sources able to be connected to the LED video wall.

Note that the Helios processor can support eight 10 Gbps fiberoptic outputs. The diagram shows how one of these outputs is connected to a network switch that supports 1 Gbps or 2.5 Gbps IP lines that can run to the LED tiles (up to 100 meters). The shown configuration is capable or supporting a single 8K signal at 60 fps, 10-bit 4:2:2. Should larger canvases be needed, additional switches or an upgraded switch can be substituted.

If this architecture looks more elegant than other system designs for 8K video walls, it is. Alternative solutions will typically have a “canvas manager” processor that has four 4K/60p output ports. That means four video wall controllers are needed to drive the 8K LED videowall over 1 Gbps CAT cable. A Nanolumens/Megapixel VR solution can dramatically reduce the rack space (12RU to 1 RU) and cable runs (sixty-four 1 Gbps to eight 2.5 Gbps) needed for an 8K video wall.

The input formats for the Helios processor are shown below suggesting 8K content can be received over DisplayPort, SDI and optional SMPTE 2110 or SDVoE interfaces. The bit depths, frame rates and HDR support are impressive too.

In each tile is the PX1 processor that can have up to four 1 Gbps or 2.5 Gbps IP input connections. Video processing is done at each tile to perform tone mapping and advanced color management with 16-bit color capabilities. It also supports sensor inputs and stores calibration data for each tile. Up to 200K processed pixels per tile are possible.

Where are solutions like this finding application? Virtual production, broadcast and large commercial digital canvases are the main areas along with mission critical applications like control rooms and government facilities. These latter applications are increasingly requiring compliance with two standards: TAA and NDAA 889. TAA requires the LED solution provider to assure that the display was U.S. made or in a trade-partner approved country. NDAA 899 requires that there are no components from prohibited Chinese companies in the LED product. The Nanolumens/Megapixel solution meets both of these needs.  

According to the companies, perhaps 80% of the incoming content is 4K resolution, but 20% is now at 8K resolution. That’s a lot higher than we would have thought, suggesting 8K content is rapidly becoming more important in these application areas.

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