The multi-projector era has arrived! Yesterday the VESA standards organization voted to support the Multiple Projector Common Data Interchange (MPCDI) standard. This is the same organization that developed a majority of the video standards in use today including DisplayPort. Mersive and a host of other companies operating in the multi-projector space (i.e. AMD, Barco, Christie, Disney) came together more than a year ago with the goal of standardizing how multi-projector walls can be deployed and used.
The central goal of the standard was to allow companies like Mersive who are able to automatically compute how to blend a group of projectors into a single seamless image to connect that data to the variety of systems that implement the actual warp/blend at system runtime. This way graphics card companies like NVIDIA and AMD, image correction and control hardware companies like Jupiter, and even projector manufactures can load and implement multi-projector alignment solutions without having to integrate with us each time. Mersive spent a lot of time helping to define the standard (we wrote and made publicly available the first reference implementation that can be downloaded from VESA because we believe that standardization will allow our partners to develop new products that support the rapidly growing multi-projector display trend. A level playing field encourages competition and innovation – always good things – especially if you believe you have the world’s most flexible and accurate technology for actually computing the standardized data.
This is just another indicator that the multi-projector era has begun. Although multi-projector systems have had their day in high-end, niche markets in the past (i.e. simulation), the multi-megapixel sound barrier can now easily be broken by tying multiple projectors together with intelligent automatic alignment software into a bundled product. We’ve already launched a product that is the embodiment of this trend, which allows customers to buy, use and install a massive high-resolution wall as simply as a flat-panel (WX). Most of the conversations I’m having with our partners make it clear that hardware manufacturers and the AV resellers are aware that this approach is an important trend. It was a pleasure working with the standards team (and special thanks for the Disney Imagineering folks who bent my ear about the need until we did something about it together).
If you’re an AV reseller and haven’t seen the new generation of multi-projector displays being developed using auto-calibration software – you should. I’d argue, that if you wait long enough, you’ll see them appear in many of your customers’ spaces regardless.