Videoconferencing Logistics: Display Screen Considerations

Even if users have a high-definition video camera for the videoconferencing sessions, consideration must also be given to the display screens that the images are displayed on. While some may think that having a larger screen, such as a large television instead of smaller computer monitor, would create the best picture, the “bigger is better” philosophy may not always be true for the videoconferencing images. Ultimately, even the best video camera may not display well if the screen (e.g., full-size monitor, laptop, tablet, smartphone) isn’t optimal.

Desired Features

Display Screen Resolution and Size

To match a high-definition video camera, the provider should seek high- definition display screens that can provide 720p resolution or higher. As newer televisions, computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones are being released with higher-definition screens (e.g., 4K and higher possibilities), if one purchased such a product within the last few years, it is likely high definition, will complement the high-definition camera, and will suit the videoconferencing needs. However, if one is considering using an older display screen that is not high definition, or is considering pairing a high- definition display screen with a standard or lower-definition video camera, issues could arise. For example, lower-resolution video and a bigger display screen could increase the fuzziness of what is being displayed (Figure 8.1). In simplified terms, this is taking a video image that is meant to be a smaller resolution and thus size (i.e., less pixels) and attempting to stretch the image to fit a much larger screen than it was never designed to fit on. Unfortunately, as the video image is stretched to fit, new pixels aren’t added to fill in the gaps in data, thus making the picture appear very blurry, which can have an observable negative impact on the video image. Think of this as trying to take a 2.5" x 3.5" wallet-sized photograph and stretching it onto a full-sized 20" x 24" painter’s canvas. Everything would be stretched and look distorted, and thus, vastly inferior to the original. Contrastingly, having a high-resolution video image on a lower-resolution display screen can also decrease the quality of the image (Figure 8.2). In this situation, a larger video image that has a high resolution and thus larger size (i.e., more pixels), is attempting to be squished down to fit a smaller screen. In the attempt to make the higher-definition data fit the lower-resolution display screen, the image is being squeezed into a smaller size that it was never meant to be viewed in. Think of this as trying to take an advertisement on the size of a building and squeezing it dowm to a pocket-sized photo. In the squeezing, the data begins to compress, losing the clarity and detail of the images, and thus decreasing how it looks on the display screen.

Low-resolution video image and larger display screen - increased fuzziness as the image is stretched to a larger display

Figure 8.1 Low-resolution video image and larger display screen - increased fuzziness as the image is stretched to a larger display.

High-resolution video image and smaller display screens - decreased clarity and detail as the image is reduced to fit a smaller display

Figure 8.2 High-resolution video image and smaller display screens - decreased clarity and detail as the image is reduced to fit a smaller display.

Summary Points

  • • Display screens should have at least 720p video resolution for the video image, providers should seek complementing high-definition display screens.
  • • Displaying lower-resolution images on larger or high-definition display screens can stretch the image to a size not originally intended, creating distortion.
  • • Displaying higher-resolution images on a small or lower-definition display screens can squeeze the image to a size not originally intended, creating distortion.
 
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