UPDATED: QUADscreens (4,200 x 1,680) -- fka: triplescreens 41-inch uberHDTV (3,150 x 1,680) - 3 x 20" monitors in portrait

Picture of UPDATED: QUADscreens (4,200 x 1,680) -- fka: triplescreens 41-inch uberHDTV (3,150 x 1,680) - 3 x 20" monitors in portrait
by Dr. Augustine Fou

for your Thanksgiving football watching -- make sure to check page 5 to add an HDTV card to your computer (NOTE THAT UNLKE THE DVD MOVIES, the TV broadcast will only show on one screen -- this is due to the way WindowsXP displays video).

finally found a way to get movies to play in Windows XP Pro across multiple monitors; tried spanning (does not work when monitors are rotated); tried UltraMon, does not work; tried dualhead2go and triplehead2go but does not work when monitors are rotated.

here's how to set up a 41 inch (3,150 x 1,680) LCD panel (higher than standard LCD HDTVs at 1920x1080 or 1366x768) for gaming, watching movies, or just being more productive ;-)

(pictured, Casino Royale trailer, playing in Quicktime Player)

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Buy components

Picture of buy components
the components used in the setup pictured are

$169.00 --- FOUR BenQ 20.1 inch LCD panels (1,680x1,050 each)

in case you don't have the video cards

$32.99 -- ASUS GeForce 8400 GS 256MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16

in case you don't have the wireless desktop

$44.99 --- Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop

in case your motherboard does not have TWO 16x PCI-Express slots, I recommend the following

for the latest AMD processors (socket AM2)

for the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors (socket LGA775)

I buy all my hardware from Newegg...

Step 2: Plug in monitors, rotate them

Picture of plug in monitors, rotate them
right click on desktop, go to properties

see that all three screens are detected and on

select each one, click next image to see how to rotate them properly to portrait

Step 3: Rotate each screen in Display Properties (in this example NVRotate)

Picture of rotate each screen in Display Properties (in this example NVRotate)
rotate each screen -- for these BenQ monitors, their controls are on the right edge of the screen, so I turned them all on the LEFT edges, so that the buttons end up on the top of each screen and easily accessible

Step 4: Turn DOWN the brightness and contrast

these screens were so bright that I turned down both brightness and contrast

brightness = 40%
contrast = 50%

and the screens were still really saturated and bright

Step 5: Adding an HDTV tuner card (optional)


to add HDTV capability to your computer

assuming you have used up your video card slot, this will add an HDTV tuner card to one of the several PCI card slots in your computer.

here is a whole page of 11 different TV/HDTV tuner cards for your reference.


the one that I used was the ATI HDTV Wonder Video Card (approx $98);

once you have inserted the card into an available PCI slot and plugged in a cable/antenna cable to the appropriate HDTV slot, you can turn on your computer and it will auto detect the card. then you will need to install the drivers and software (which comes on the CD that came in the package). The CD will automatically install all of the following modules in sequence; and this is recommended as a way to get things started. but if you don't have the CD for some reason or want to check for the latest versions of the drivers the following links will take you though the installation for the ATI HDTV Wonder card that I sed (NOTE: IT WILL NOT WORK WITH OTHER CARDS). and finally I recommend you start with the CD install and then when everything is up and running and configured properly, then you use the links below to get the very very latest drivers.

HDTV Wonder (product page)

HDTV Wonder Drivers

see the 2 software packages on the page, you MUST install them in this order with restarting in between the steps.

once everything is installed; start ATI's Multimedia Center and click HDTV; this launches their software player and there is a wizard which steps you through detecting available channels -- like free broadcast channels. Once the wizard is completed you will see the HDTV broadcasts on your screen. You can maximize the TV screen to ONE of the screens (this software displays only on the Windows primary display and does NOT show TV across all three screens).

Step 6: Play movies

Quicktime can play full screen (James Bond trailer shown in first image)

MatrixDvD player can play DVD movies full screen (beta version)

trailer playing

Example of Machinima (footage from video game) displayng fluidly across all 3 screens

Step 7: UPDATE - QUAD-screens (why?)

Picture of UPDATE - QUAD-screens (why?)
added one more 20-inch screen of the same type to make 4,200 x 1,680

It is useful for viewing UI diferences between browsers. What is shown (from left to right) are 4 browsers, not displaying the same page; plus a screen shot of the 4 browsers showing the same webpage.

Internet Explorer 7
Safari 3 for Windows
Opera 9.21

1-40 of 82Next »
scott!6 years ago
New egg says the monitors are "deactivaeted", do you know another place I can get them? Also, is $169 the price for one, or all four?
Zinked scott!1 year ago
gdawgtuk3 years ago
I would say this is only half complete. Take those monitors out of their casing and sit their screens side by side. No big black gaps, just multiple monitors that look like a single unit. Cool idea but it needs more hack, and less gaps.
iwas thinking the same thing as i clicked on the link, they're discontinued...damn. with a mount and some curve this could really take off, just do six for $340...a steal for a completely imersed desktop
Zinked Zinked1 year ago
*they were $160 each, too much for a product that will be disassembled
getbusy215 years ago
frosty14335 years ago
it's like watching tv from behind jail bars. imo, you should either modify the monitors so they're all in one custom made cases side-by-side, or just buy an LCD TV of equivalent size, and junk the the tuner.
SerJ8 years ago
correct me if im wrong, but i think these days you can just buy a 42-inch tv/pc monitor for just over a $1000? and without the 2 lines in the middle? so whats the point of doing this?
bowmaster SerJ6 years ago
Because it is nerdy. Girls think nerds are sexy. That's why it is so hard for nerds to get dates. Girls don't want to go out with someone sexier then they are
lol XD
Why does XD mean?
You know, like a face, tilt your head to the right (or turn your monitor to the left)
My brother told me. It's just so unlike any other smiley used.
Yeah, I know what you mean, I thought it was an abreviayion when I first saw it
Me too.
crankyjew SerJ8 years ago
are you willing to spend $1000+ on a computer monitor?
Well, you'd spend $657 (as of 07-04-07) on 3 monitors, plus $200-300 on video cards, plus $100 on an hd tuner. totalling around $1000 anyway A $1000 hd display that has VGA input would have an HD tuner, so it'd work either way...
What about multiple HD Projectors to make a vr style system... Like the Virtual planes... or star tours? That would be awesome...
yeah my comment is 2 years to late but, that would be one amazing set up!
because you can do it with said 42-inch tvs instead, and you can have different stuff running on each moniter
acfou (author)  SerJ8 years ago
by way of comparison Dell's 30-inch ultrasharp monitor is rated at 2560 x 1600. $1,269 on Dell.com as of 7/11/2007 Apple's 30-inch cinema display is based on the same LCD panel at 2,560 x 1,600 $1,799 on Apple.com as of 7/11/2007
But nowadays you can get a 42" 1080p LCD on sale for $800.00! This essentially becomes useless...
Well those comments were from 2007
I like the fact that you can arrange it so that its kind of in a half circle like the 2nd picture, but I'm not sure about the prise or the lines.
acfou (author)  SerJ8 years ago
yeah, but most 42 inch TVs are at a dismal 1,366-768 resolution so they cannot be used for anything other than watching TV -- i.e. you will not be able to read text that is blown up to that size. Even if you get a true HDTV (at far greater cost, like more in the $4,000 range) you're still at 1,920 x 1,080 versus 4,200 x 1,680 of the quad screen. It really depends on your use... For TV, of course I would recommend a traditional HDTV to avoid the bezels. But for computer monitor use a 42-inch TV just doesn't cut it.
Plus, it wouldn't be too hard to make an enclosure for everything without the lines. Would make for a good instructable too ;)...wink wink.
srhadaham6 years ago
I'm pretty sure i know the answer to this but, is there any way to do this on a laptop?
hg3416 years ago
well im not the only one who thinks more is always better i have two 16" crts right now one is off a 256mb card the other is off a 2 mb card

emuman4evr6 years ago
Anyone else notice that everything on neweggs site has suddenly become a deactivated item?
joe570057 years ago
i've got three screens on mine, but i'm running linux, so i have no fullscreen playback problems, and they're all right-side-up.
Auger Duval7 years ago
I've been biting my tounge for a while. Here is my monster www.xpandtoday.com/supercomputer
gozchev7 years ago
Is there a way to make it more seamless? If you pry or remove the lcd out edge can ya do it?
gamer7 years ago
kick ass!!! i did this with my laptop, but with only 2 monitors, and i watched a movie, but i find it sucked, i did surf the net with it and its a lot better, playing games is awesome too. nice instructable. -gamer
HICKFARM7 years ago
That looks really cool for viewing web pages and for playing video games. Also i already have one of those monitors. :) Although i wouldn't like it for movies, but it is a very good idea.
Hawkstriker7 years ago
Warez7 years ago
hi all i have some questions, plz.. r u using SLI system ? May i use 2 different video cards, diferent GPUs and Brands ?
bobparker8 years ago
Nice work on instructable. I really appreciate the video to get a sense of how distracting the screens borders are. Seeing is so much better then trying to imagine. If you get a chance, could you post some video of 'day to day' use - mixing work (boring Windows..) and video in the format you typically use?
acfou (author)  bobparker8 years ago
added step 7, using QUAD now ... no video of use, but I can say productivity reached diminishing returns with 3 screens. The 4th one on the right is typically for all the IM windows; left most one is for RSS feeds (Google Reader) and the middle 2 are the actively used ones for day to day. The QUAD is great for testing minor variations in how 4 different browsers render the exact same web page.
1-40 of 82Next »