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Multi-monitor, also called Multi-display, Multi-head, and Dual-Monitor, is the use of multiple physical display devices, such as monitors, televisions, and projectors, in order to increase the area available for computer programs running on a single computer system. Microsoft describes this setup as “one of the best ways to improve your productivity”. Randy Pausch recommended multiple monitors for improving personal productivity in his Time Management lecture.
all support multiple monitors. Dual monitor support once depended on specialized proprietary video drivers supplied with few video cards, along with a multi-display-supporting GUI system. Support for multiple monitor configurations was added as a standard feature in Microsoft Windows in Windows 98. It has been a standard feature in all versions of Apple‘s Mac OS X (introduced in March 2001), and was a standard feature of the first color Macintosh II introduced in 1987.
By adding up to two additional video cards, the Mac supported up to three monitors, although operating system support for multiple monitors wasn’t introduced in Windows until the mid 1990s. The all-in-one Mac SE/30 featured a small black & white screen, but could drive an external color monitor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-monitor
9X Media White Paper – the origins of Multiple Monitor Computing – here’s an interesting piece by 9X Media Co-Founders on the origins of multiple monitor computing and its rapid adoption early in the life cycle. Read on for more articles and features! MULTIPLE MONITOR COMPUTING – In the very early stages of adoption.
January 3, 2002 By Dan Dunn and Nike Mikes, 9X Media Inc.
Multiple monitor computing (utilizing more than one monitor) is just in the very early stage of its adoption curve and is about to take off as a major trend that increases productivity and enhances cabability for mainstream computer users. According to a recent Jon Peddie and AssociatesMulti-Display Study, Multiple monitor computing increased 5,622% from 1992 to 1999 among a new category of users, those who do not fall into the traditional financial and graphics categories. In 1999 multiple monitor computing accounted for 1.6 Million computer users in the United States alone. And between 1992 and 1999 the annual growth of multiple monitor video card sales increased 450%, rising from 200,000 seats in 1992 to over 900,000 in 1999.
BACKGROUND TO MULTIPLE MONITOR COMPUTING
Financial and design markets have traditionally been, and continue to lead as the primary markets for multiple monitor computing. The overwhelming make-up of the total user base during the 1993 to 1999 period consisted almost exclusively of financial and design users as depicted in drawing 1.2 below.
High Cost and Limited Technology Stalled Adoption
Due to the high cost of capital equipment required to implement a multiple monitor system previously, the market was limited. From 1997 onward prices of video cards and monitors have dropped, leading to an increase in the “other users” category. There are a number of factors which contributed to the dramatic growth of the other users” category during the years of 1997 to 1999, they are as follows.
1997 – CRT monitors begin dramatic price decline
1998 – Microsoft releases Windows 98 with multiple monitor support
1998 – Microsoft releases Windows NT 4.0 with multiple monitor support
1999 – RAM(required in video cards) begins dramatic price decline
MASS ADOPTION OF MULTIPLE MONITOR COMPUTING
There are five critical factors, which will drive the explosion of the multiple monitor industry to the point where it will reach critical mass.
1) Operating Software support -Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, MAC, Unix, and Linux all offer multiple monitor support as standard features. Between 70-90% of the total multiple monitor users in 1999 were using Windows NT 4.0
2) RAM price erosion – multiple channel video cards require between 32 and 128 MB of video RAM. The sharp decline in RAM prices has enabled the video card manufacturers to significantly lower multiple output video card prices by over 70% over the last 5 years.
3) Monitor price decline – since 1997 large monitor prices have fallen by over 60%. The has contributed significantly to the reduction in multiple monitor system costs.
4) LCD technology – One of the primary problems with multiple monitor systems has been the mass of two or more CRT monitors. LCD monitors required a fraction of the space and are about 80% lighter that a CRT monitor of equal size.
5) LCD price decline – As of 2000 prices for 18.1 and larger have been in a steady and significant price decline. Analysts project that this trend will continue over the coming years.
Below is a diagram showing historical and predicted cost for a dual monitor system and the adoption rate of the “other users” category. The drop in price is as dramatic as the increase in adoption rates.
MULTIPLE MONITOR COMPUTING SAVES TIME AND MONEY BY INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY AND ENABLING COMPUTING CAPABILITIES
Multiple monitor computing is quickly becoming a necessary solution to efficiently manage and productively interact with today’s increasingly demanding computing scenarios. Utilizing simply one monitor to deal with the abundance of information and software the average person contends with on a daily basis is like trying to do your taxes while seated at a TV tray.
It is commonplace and almost a necessity to run several applications at once during computing sessions. Windows are maximized and minimized, resized and rearranged so that users can access and interact with all of the information they need. This is a time consuming and non-intuitive situation that wastes valuable time while it hinders seamless integration of information and tasks. If several applications were easily visible on several screens the user could easily and intuitively move between applications and better synthesize the information available.
Software interoperability and interface
As we utilize an ever increasing amount of software with ever more robust interface, our visual workspace continues to be reduced. Though most computer users have upgraded screens to an average of 17 inches from 15 inches, the amount of visual ‘workspace’ has effectively been reduced by the software interface as well as the fact that we continue to use more software packages and move between them more often due to their increasing compatibility. Multiple monitor users have the advantage of allocating screens to toolbars, freeing up valuable visual workspace and eliminating the need to constantly scroll and zoom in/out of images to work.
Internet & Email
The Internet is an essential tool and resource in many computing activities including research as well as entertainment. Users move around the Internet and oftentimes utilize more than one window to view multiple web sites and pages. Users also move between software applications and Internet sites while gathering and processing information. To constantly minimize and maximize between the two or to have less than a full-screen view available hinders the users ability to most effectively and efficiently process the information. Additionally, throughout the day users access email accounts, taking time away from other tasks while they minimize and maximize work and windows to access, check for and send email messages. In implementing a multiple screen approach to interaction with the Internet and Email users have the ability to keep those windows open and accessible, enabling them to monitor them throughout the computing session without taking time and attention away from primary tasks.
In addition to increasing productivity with many computing tasks such as those outlined above, multiple monitors computing is ideal for as host of real-estate hungry applications enhancing: Productivity, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics and Multimedia.
Specific applications include: spreadsheet analysis, desktop publishing, CAD, CAM, CAID, Web Site Design, timeline tracking, web design, gene sequencing, presentations, E-Mail, gaming, game development, model design, trade show presentations, presentation systems, financial analysis, day trading, stock trading, software development, simulation, videoconferencing, production, schedule maintenance, illustration, animation, video /audio editing, technical research and photo editing.
Multiple Monitor Adoption: Not if, but when and how
In closing, the reasons for the eventual adoption of multiple monitor computing by mainstream computer users is several fold, in summary, it is based on the rapid fall-in-cost and simultaneous rise-in-capability of today’s powerful image-based computing.
The question really is not whether or not a majority of users will adopt multiple monitor computing it is rather a question of when and how users will adopt this technology trend.
About the Authors: Dan Dunn and Nike Mikes are the founders of 9X Media Inc., manufacturing and marketing modular multiple monitor display systems. www.9XMedia.com
Comcast Center The Opening of the new Comcast Center in Philadelphia and a look at the Barco Video wall with the best picture quality in the world. 5 times better resolution than any HD picture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO6ty5RfnrA
Maldives Meteorological Department 9X Media Video Wall, Controller, Video Wall Software Installation in the Maldives. 9X traveled to the World’s most breathtaking snorkeling destination to install and deploy the 9X Media X-Wall Video Wall. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ugb5_7nC20&feature=channel_page
Large Scale DLP multiple monitor Video Wall 9X Media, Inc.’s 9 x 61-inch DLP Video Wall. Best Digital Signage solution and great for NOC, media presentations, etc. Visit www.9xmedia.com.
Quake on 12 multiple monitors Some folks running Quake 3 on a 12 machine Linux cluster with a total of 24 monitors and using the cool Gyro Mouse. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqB01Cp_wPM&feature=channel_page
SEAMLESS DISPLAY Super Widescreen Computing – Live Earth Austin, TX Scan the horizon and visit Whole Foods HQ in Austin Texas with the Radius320. The Radius320 combines three 20.1 inch LCDs to produce a seamless wrap-around 50-inch screen with 5.76 million pixels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjQXzvW0s9w&NR=1 Play GTR2 across the Radius320 immersive display. The Radius320 combines three 20.1 inch LCDs to produce a seamless wrap-around 50-inch screen with 5.76 million pixels (that’s HDTV x3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWivZEtH6-c&feature=related