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Multi-Head Output from Laptop

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Brent Critchfield
Multi-Head Output from Laptop
on Aug 15, 2008 at 7:53:01 pm

I need to run independent PowerPoint shows on multiple screens. I'm looking to do this with the least number of computers possible. I've seen the Matrox DualHead2Go and TripleHead2Go - they will do what I need, but does anybody know of a similar product with more outputs? Say an EightHead2Go?

Thanks,

Brent
Brentwood Video Productions
Brentwood, California


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Michael Sippel
Re: Multi-Head Output from Laptop
on Aug 18, 2008 at 7:02:02 am

Hi Brent,

As always in this business the devil is in the details. I don't have all the details but I'll take a shot at giving advice anyway.

You want to run independent PowerPoint shows on multiple screens. You wish there was an EightHead2Go so I assume you have 8 independent PowerPoint streams that should each play on one of 8 screens. I'm also assuming each of the 8 presentations will have the same number of cues, and you would like to control all 8 with a single press of the spacebar, so they all advance simultaneously and end simultaneously. In this scenario you need 8, maybe 9 computers - one for each screen and maybe one for control.

If that is the case maybe Keyshowx will work for you: http://www.keywebx.com/keyshowx.html

If you want to span 8 screens with a single image that's a different story.

If what you want to end up with is something different than this then we need more info.

I don't think the Matrox Triple or Dual Head2Go Digital devices will do what you want them to do, whether you are sending 8 discrete PowerPoints to 8 screens or sending one gigantic image to span 8 screens. In a live show scenario the Matrox boxes are used to take a single very wide image and break it down into chunks that can be handled via DVI by something like a Spyder.

I'm a graphics guy specializing in widescreen/multiple screen live events. I just finished a show where I used my Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital boxes to send 2560x768 PowerPoint to a Spyder. In this example, the Matrox took the 2560x768 extended desktop of my laptop and split it. It sent two 1280x768 images, one on output 1 and one on output 3, to the Spyder via DVI. Spyder then took those inputs to drive two stacks of projectors whose images were butted up to form a single wide screen display projected on a 60' wide screen. The Matrox boxes worked great - the output was flawless. But they won't drive 8 independent PowerPoints to 8 screens and they won't span a single image across 8 screens.

As a side note, and because I'm a graphics guy, I have to say Apple Keynote is far superior to Microsoft PowerPoint as a high res graphics delivery platform. I got smooth dissolves, glitchless motion and perfect Quicktime video out of Keynote at this resolution and up to 3840x1200, while in PowerPoint I had to scale back the transitions to simple wipes that didn't suck. We went with PowerPoint anyway for this show due to client concerns. But next year . . .

Hope the above info helps in some way.



Best wishes,
Michael Sippel





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Brent Critchfield
Re: Multi-Head Output from Laptop
on Aug 19, 2008 at 5:36:24 pm

Actually, this is an unattended kiosk display. We're displaying golf scores, leaderboards and advertising on multiple plasmas. The shows will run unattended once we have them in slideshow mode. Not having used the Matrox boxes, I'm assuming that I can assign the slideshow to whichever screen I want it on, correct?

If that's the case, then the issue is doing it with the minimum number of computers possible to minimize hardware and software licensing costs.

And yes, I know Keynote is superior, but we're hooking these presentations up to pull live data updates from Microsoft Access, so Mac isn't an option.


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Michael Sippel
Re: Multi-Head Output from Laptop
on Aug 19, 2008 at 6:14:38 pm

Brent,

I guess you could make a PowerPoint show that is 3 screens wide and on each slide create the content for 3 of your screens. You'd then use the TripleHead2Go to route left, center, and right sections of that presentation to 3 separate monitors. This would allow 1 computer to send 3 streams of content to 3 monitors. Here's a link to the Matrox TH2G website:

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/

There are products designed to do exactly what you want though. Scala is one, Nanonation and others. Do a search for kiosks and digital signage.

Good luck,
Michael Sippel



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Brent Critchfield
Re: Multi-Head Output from Laptop
on Aug 19, 2008 at 6:22:15 pm

So am I understanding that the computer treats the TH2G as one output? It doesn't recognize the three independent screens?

Thanks,

Brent
Brentwood Video Productions
Brentwood, California


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Michael Sippel
Re: Multi-Head Output from Laptop
on Aug 19, 2008 at 6:42:21 pm

Right. The computer sees the TH2G as a large single display. You extend the computers desktop to that "display". The TH2G takes the computer output and splits it into 2 or 3 streams.

Mike Sippel



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