Solving the Problems of Split-Screen...

About: I'm from California. I like free stuff, and making apps, music, and music apps.

Split-screen is convenient in that 2 players can play multiplayer using only one disc, one console, and one monitor.  However this leaves you with the inherent problem that you can see the other player's screen. "Screen-peeking" is inevitable, the element of stealth in the game is almost completely lost, and most gamers would agree that it is a less than ideal multiplayer experience.  Wouldnt it be better if each player got his/her own monitor?  Online there are many forums about split-screen gaming on dual screens, each concluding that it was impossible.  However, it is in fact possible ...

For this instructable's purposes I will be using Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the PlayStation3, generated screenshots are not mine.

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Step 1: In Theory ...

The theory is that the PlayStation 3 (or Xbox or whatever console) mimics a camcorder, whose live output can be displayed on a computer using free software.  (since i am on a mac, i used BTV Carbon)  Once you have it displayed on a WINDOW on a computer (it must be a window no full screen), you can set up dual monitors and drag the window your console is playing into in between the screens so one screen sees their half and another screen sees the other half.  Each player gets their own screen.

If you are unfamiliar with different video signals see the images below.  I do not address HDMI or DVI output in this because they require more hardware.

The PlayStation (or Xbox or whatever console) generates a signal that it sends through its AV output. Now how do we get this composite, component, or S-Video signal onto the computer.  How do we make the console look like a camcorder to the computer?  It would be easy if the PS3 or Xbox had a firewire output, like camcorders, but they dont.  So we need a video card that can take a composite, component or S-Video signal and send it into the computer on firewire.

Step 2: Capturing the Video Signal

All we need to do is send the composite or component signal into the computer via firewire or USB.  Most video capture devices, or video cards with the right inputs get the job done just fine, these do tend to be pricey though.  I use a PYRO A/V link.

Note: the faster your video card or capture device is, the better, because there is a very small lag in the display.  For this reason, i suggest sending the audio signal directly to your speakers, as a pose to through your computer, the lag is noticeable.

To view the signal coming in through your video card or capture device, download BTV Carbon.  It allows you to view the output screen in any size window you want

Step 3: Dual Monitors

Now that the signal is on the computer screen, we need to put one half of it on one screen and another half on an external monitor.  Arrange the monitors so on is on top of the other and open BTV carbon.  Drag the screen to the center of the 2 monitors so the bottom half can be seen by only the bottom screen and so the top half can be seen only by the top screen.

Note: Make sure both of your displays are running on the same resolution.

Step 4: Play On.

Turn your screens around, plug in some speakers and play with your buddy.  No screen-peeking.

Screen-peeking is eliminated
Stealth is brought back to split-screen! (huzzah)

Funky splitscreen aspect ratio is still in place
Small amount of display lag
Some quality is lost



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    6 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I know about this item that fits any tv monitor ..... that you use to play split screen games on and you don't need to buy special glass and its not going to cost you an arm and leg to buy .... I know it works cause my brother and step father tried it and enjoyed it so much they played split screen games for 2 days straight with no sleep ... do you know of something like that on the market ??....

    1 reply

    i havent heard of anything like what you're describing thats cheap. ask around and get back to me if you find anything out!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    a while back i had two tvs and a ps2.. me and my friends wanted to play 2 player but i was sick of screen peaking, i spliced the cables and made it able to output to two tvs. then covered half of each tv.. only flaw is small screen =/

    1 reply

    yeah, and thats like playing on a ridiculous rectangle screen. the only real fix needs to be done at the software level, like a dual screen mode.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea, Been working on this issue myself, but ended up with a total of 4 xboxs, 3 tvs and a computer monitor.

    1 reply