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How to Determine the Best Display Solution for Your Meeting Space, Part One

How to Determine the Best Display Solution for Your Meeting Space, Part One

Who doesn’t want to make their meetings as effective and productive as possible? Aside from the physical attributes of the space, the key to effective communication and collaboration is the participants’ ability to actively engage with the content being shared. Content needs to be clearly visible from every angle with displayed text legible from every seat in the room so determining the proper display size, type and placement is essential in creating an engaging, collaborative environment.

As we’ve often shared, addressing technologies early in the planning phase will allow for the most flexibility in design options and provide the best possible outcome…and this space is no exception. Determining the ideal display for the space will require conversations to discover the requirements and goals. Working with the designer and stakeholders to factor in furniture, calculations of the room’s dimensions, viewing distances and angles can be made. The types of content, the room’s ambient light, physical mounting options, control system and project budget will be factored in as well. 

Viewing Distance Drives Display Type

The distance of the furthest participant is a key factor in determining display type.  There are various methods to determine proper viewing distance and screen size. Our industry association for commercial applications, AVIXA (Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, formerly Infocomm), offers the specification “ANSI/INFOCOMM V202.01:2016, Display Image Size for 2D Content in Audiovisual System”. This standard uses multiple calculations that factor content, viewer positions from multiple locations, image size, font size, ambient light, off-axis viewing, the human eye’s range of sight at various angles, and more. These standards apply not only to presentation spaces, but to more complex applications such as auditoriums, training venues and Security Operations Centers (SOC) as well.

Calculating for Content

Have you been in meetings where you couldn’t read what was projected onto the screen? Was the image too small for the content being displayed or were you seated so close to a huge screen that you couldn’t see the entire image? For huddle spaces and small-to-medium conference rooms, calculations using a multiplier factor can provide a close estimation of the appropriate display size that can help guide the design. Screen size and distance calculations are greatly impacted by the content being presented, however, because the type of content dictates the multipliers (or factors) used in the calculation.

For corporate environments where presentations including PowerPoint, Excel, Word or Webpages will be shared, a large image will enhance user engagement by allowing participants to read the content more clearly and comfortably. To calculate for this scenario, use a multiplier of 6 times the display’s image height (based on 1920 x 1080P resolution) to determine the furthest seating position. If data-rich content such as CAD drawings, Word or Excel documents or Web pages are to be shared, a factor of 4 should be used for added clarity. In boardrooms and conference rooms using video conferencing (Skype, Videxio, WebEx, etc.) a multiplier of 4 is also recommended since it is a mixed-use application with multiple windows within the display image.

Video viewing is more lenient respective to screen size and distance. Smaller screen sizes or longer viewer distances are acceptable. The multiplier used for general video is 8 times the display’s image height. For example, if using a 55″ Monitor (27″ high screen height), the maximum seating distance would be 216″ (8 X 27 = 216), or 18’.  Again, this is for video viewing and not necessarily a comfortable distance for viewing text-based content. In a mixed-content environment, such as a conference room, the text-content calculation should be used. Sound like a lot of math? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Another alternative offering great flexibility without compromising design is installing both a flatpanel display as well as a recessed projection screen. This “best of both worlds” scenario offers a larger image when required. 

The Viewing Angle

Viewing angles are an important consideration, especially with rooms that are wide or where multiple displays may be needed. For ideal viewing, participants should be within 45 degrees from the center of the screen with the top of the screen positioned within 30 degrees above eye level. AVIXA’s standard is more precise, but this general guideline will help set the expectation of screen size and positioning for the application.

Aspect Ratio

Widescreen aspect ratios of 16:9 and 16:10 are common, with 16:9 becoming more prevalent. Newer Laptops standardized on 16:9, but most new displays and projectors can properly scale a 16:10 image to 16:9 and visa-versa. Again, don’t worry, any incompatibilities in native resolution can be addressed by the system designer.

Providing the right size screen that maximizes your content will keep your participants engaged and allow for a successful, productive meeting. Do you have a meeting space that could benefit from a more engaging video solution? Call us for a complimentary on-site assessment and let’s get calculating!