Graphics Card to drive 3 monitors?

bardel

Well-known Member
Hi,

I currently have an ATI 2650 which has 2 DVI outputs I believe.

I only have a single 32" LCD attached (this is a media pc) currently, but shortly want to connect a 42" Plasma in the lounge and also a HD projector (also in the lounge).

I want the same output on all displays so only need to be able to clone the output.

So, are there any cards out there with 3 HDMI / DVI outputs that I can use for this?

Alternatively, is it possible to get a splitter of some description for a digital feed?

Thanks

Barry
 

CARLOS

Distinguished Member
can you not add a 2nd card to give you the third output ?
 

CP-PC

Novice Member
yes adding a 2nd card would give you more outputs you can even run 3 cards and use one output on each. but would it not be better to get a dvi or hdmi splitter??
keep your current card and get a signal splitter/amplifier that should do the job without changing your pc.
 

bardel

Well-known Member
yes adding a 2nd card would give you more outputs you can even run 3 cards and use one output on each. but would it not be better to get a dvi or hdmi splitter??
keep your current card and get a signal splitter/amplifier that should do the job without changing your pc.
Thanks for confirming it is possible, but it sounds as though your alternative is even more viable as I am only looking to clone the outputs. Is the splitter a special device or merely a cable that splits into two? Could you point me in the direction of these kinds of units?

Cheers

Barry
 

CARLOS

Distinguished Member
cloning the output is ok as long as the screens are all the same resolution ?

If not then 2 cards would work better.
 

CP-PC

Novice Member
HDMI DVI Splitters :: HDMI Cables :: Cable Universe
there are a few othere

im not sure how splitting the cable would affect signal quality or strength or how long your cable runs are going to be so its probably best to go for one that amplifies the signal aswell.

what you go for depends on your price range. you could try a straight dvi cable splitter for about £6-£10 like this: DVI Male to 2 x DVI Female Splitter :: HDMI DVI Splitters :: HDMI Cables :: Cable Universe

or you could go for a good quality splitter/amplifier with other features like auto change that can be very expencive at about £120 like this: 4 Port DVI Video Splitter :: HDMI DVI Splitters :: HDMI Cables :: Cable Universe

you need to watch out for the resolution that the spiltters can handle, do you want to split audio aswell???

generaly the higher priced ones will handle higher resolutions with audio and allow long cable lengths due to the box amplifiing the signal that it sends.

what resolution will you be displaying at?? and how long will the cables be? and do you want to split audio aswell??
 

bardel

Well-known Member
Thanks for your responses.

I think my Panasonic 32lxd500 LCD will take a 1080p input, my new plasma, a panasonic th42pz81b definately will as will the hd projector (not chosen yet).

Cable runs are currently 5m for both the LCD and plasma, I've not measured for the pj but will be around 5m too.

I've no need to send audio through these outputs as i'm outputtong spdif to the amp(s).

Any recommendations based on this info is greatly appreciated.

Barry
 

CP-PC

Novice Member
from a quick google it looks like your 32lxd500 will only do 720p which is a bit of a bummer. if that is the case you have a couple of options
1: set your pc to 720p output and have your panasonic th42pz81b and projector runing at 720p instead of 1080p (not ideal)
2: see if your pc can output 720p on one output and 1080p on the other output (this would be best)

if you can run 2 resolutions at the same time from your pc then run the 720p output to your 32inch panasonic tv with a direct cable and split the 1080p into two for your 42inch panasonic and projector. are you currently running your 42 and 32inch screens from your media pc?? if so what screen resolutions are they both at?
 

bardel

Well-known Member
Hmmm, I have recollection of the 32" doing 720p only too now I think of it.

Currently I have the 32" connected over VGA, using the HDMI connection caused the PC to automatically switch to a listed mode of the monitor, which meant 720p. Because the panel is actually 1366x768 this meant the image is scaled by the panel and using the tv for web browsing resulted in some blurry text which I wasn't happy with. I failed to get the HDMI connection working at 1366x768, but cant remember if sending a 1080 signal was an option. I suspect to be honest you are right that it is limited to 720p :(

The 42" telly only turned up on Friday as it's part of the lounge project noted in my previous link. As of now, it's still in the box and I haven't even tested it.

I could potentially run the 42" and the projector split with a 1080p feed and the 32" with a 720p feed, but I don't think I can do this with cloned monitor outputs. As I remember it, cloned outputs mean both monitors running at the same resolution which would mean running at 720p which isn't acceptable. I could run in dual view which will mean I can run two different resolutions (I do this with my work pc) but you have in effect 1 desktop space spread across two monitors which doesn't sit well with media centre as it will either be maximised on one display or the other.

To be honest, it's unlikely that I'll want all 3 displays on at the same time, in fact, I'll probably only ever use 1 at once. The problem for me though will be automating the change in resolutions when switching between tv's.

I'll probably get the 42" out of the box one night this week to check it's ok and have a quick play to see what's going to be possible and report back here.

Thanks for the links for the splitters / distributors. A question or two if I may. With the cable lengths I've mentioned, do you think amplifiers are a requirement? Also, the more expensive splitter you've listed talks about buffering, will this not introduce lip sync problems?

Cheers

Barry
 

CP-PC

Novice Member
im not sure about the lip syncing problems, if your only going to be running 5-10meters then you should be fine IF you have good quality cables. would 1080i on all 3 monitors be acceptable?? im pretty sure your 32inch tv (720p) will be able to do 1080i. if your having problems with your 32inch tv being 1366x768 then you should be able to set a manual resolution to match your tv. ive got a 26inch sony which only supports 720p but it also does accept 1080i. its connected to my pc via RGB connectors and i can select 720p or 1080i (aswell as all lower resolutions)

im running dual view between my 19inch lcd monitor and 26inch sony lcd. my 19inch lcd is set to the main screen running at 1280x1024 and this has all my desktop icons and start menu on, my 26inch sony is running at 720p and all that has is the same background picture but it contains no icons or start menu but in the settings you can set video to " auto full screen" which will run the video in full screen mode on my 26inch sony and in windowed mode on my 19inch (i can maximize the window and run full screen on both monitors)

would that help?

there are a few 32inch tv's on the market that can do 1080p but most do only 720p. so if you HAVE to run 2 different resolutions then maybe two seperate graphics cards would be better (if you can fit them into your case) or you can go the more expencive route and upgrade your 32inch tv to one that can do 1080p
 

bardel

Well-known Member
Here's an update.

I got the 42" PZ81B out of the box tonight (using it as I type) and it looks like it could be my lucky day...

I have the 32" and 42" on HDMI on seperate outputs for the ATI HD2600.

The 32" is running a 1080i picture and the 42" is running at 1080p picture... all this in "Clone" mode meaning I have the same desktop replicated on both screens :clap:

I didn't think this was going to be possible as per CP-PC and my previous experience, I know it wasn't when I was using an nVidia GT6600 card previously.

Here's the tricky part... :(

Watching a blu-ray disc (or any HDCP protected item) is going to be a problem. It appears that because of HDCP a "secure signal path" has to be negotiated between the source and the display. All of my equipment is HDCP compliant, but it appears that the negotiation cannot occur over multiple paths (eg both displays at the same time). Therefore I can only watch HDCP protected material on one screen or the other.

To make this as easy as possible I have set up 3 profiles in the ATI control centre, one for Lounge TV only (42"), one for Dining Room TV Only (32") and one for Both (Clone Mode). Simply selecting one of the individual tv modes allows blu ray playback on either TV. Bit of a downer though as I've now got to teach the wife how to switch profiles at some point, hopefully I can put it on a remote button somehow.

I think however, I'm going to have a further issue shortly though. Once I have purchased a HD projector (which too will need to be HDCP compliant), I plan to connect the 42" and the PJ with a split cable from the 1080p HDMI PC output. So.... surely I will run into the same problems regarding negotiating a HDCP path if there are two devices at the other end???? Has anyone else used a splitter cable without HDCP issues, or is this a PowerDVD issue?

Have to say the picture quality on this screen is amazing by the way, cant wait to set it up properly and get the full effect. Oh well, it's been testes as working, time for it to go back in the box now for approx 6 weeks. :(

Cheers

Barry
 

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