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)
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Step 1: 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
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)
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)
NOTE THAT THE SOFTWARE TV PLAYER DOES NOT SPAN ALL 3 SCREENS THIS IS FOR WATCHING FOOTBALL maximized on JUST ONE SCREEN, leaving the other 2 as a computer monitor.
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
MatrixDvD player can play DVD movies full screen (beta version)
Example of Machinima (footage from video game) displayng fluidly across all 3 screens
Step 7: 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