2023. 10. 24.

Barco UniSee II: the apple of the users’ eyes

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A video wall is designed to be viewed. And although this is quite a redundant statement, that can only be responded by ‘du-uh!’, it holds more levels than you might think. It should be visible from all viewing angles, at any lighting conditions, and for long periods of time. Add these requirements to the general ergonomics aspects of professional equipment, and you get an idea of the challenges Barco’s design team faced when creating Barco UniSee II.

User ergonomics is high up on the agenda of organizations. It’s not only important for the staff to work efficiently – they also need to be able to do this in a safe and healthy environment. This prevents sickness and adds to staff retention. For Barco UniSee II, we incorporated both the latest developments in user ergonomics and the highest quality equipment, resulting in a video wall that everybody loves to watch.

Visible from any angle

In many environments people look straight at the screen, or from a very limited angle. When stretching this angle, the image often loses a lot of its color and brightness accuracy. Unlike a single person’s desktop monitor or a movie theater, the viewing angle range of a video wall needs to be ultra-wide. This might be due to the size of larger video walls or the location of operators in a control room. Viewing angles of up to 60° are not unusual. Under such angles, standard LCD displays loose contrast and color fidelity, which is an issue when critical decisions need to be made based on unclear content.

That is why Barco UniSee II uses a high-end compensation polarizer that improves the end user viewing ergonomics, providing better horizontal, vertical, and diagonal viewing angles. These polarizers are an integral part of the LCD panel and counter the typical loss of image quality under viewing angles. All details are preserved, meaning these high viewing angles are even possible in critical environments like control rooms.

NOTE: the typical viewing angles for LCD displays mentioned in spec sheets is 178°, both horizontal and vertical. Not only for Barco displays, but also for competition. But to be honest, this kind of spec is quite outdated and meaningless. It just says that “something can still be seen": the 178° spec is defined on a disappointing contrast ration of 10:1. Much more relevant is the image performance in viewing angles up to 60°. For angles of 60°, we have increased the contrast by a factor larger than 5 compared to standard LCD displays. This is the true power of Barco UniSee II.

Tired of eye fatigue?

Eye fatigue (also known as eyestrain) is a very common problem in control room environments. When watching screens continuously and intensely for a long time, the eyes tire, causing a string of problems including blurred or double vision, sore and watery eyes, headache, increased sensitivity to light, concentrating difficulties, etc. All conditions that are very unwanted when dealing with critical applications. 

Although operators should take the measures dictated by common sense (take regular breaks, rest their eyes, etc.), there are also some technical aspects that can influence eye fatigue. The flickering of the screen, caused by the frequency of the backlight, is known to be heavy on the eyes. For Barco UniSee II, we let the backlights run at a very high speed. This highly reduces the perceived flickering, thus adding to the viewing ergonomic.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

In the past, control rooms were dark and gloomy environments. Light was banned to not interfere with the screens, equipment was producing heat, and noisy fans did their best to prevent overheating of the hardware. Fortunately, these days are behind us. And Barco UniSee II makes sure this horror will never return. 

The high brightness levels of 800 nit (with peak mode up to 1300 nit) ensures the screen is perfectly visible in bright ambient environments. Additionally, the display produces a lot less heat than conventional LCD because of the use of mini-LEDs. This not only makes sure the room does not become too hot, but also eliminates the need for cooling fans – ensuring silent operation. 

This is the third article in our Barco UniSee II series. Missed the first two? Then read the ones on color perfection and uniformity.