High Capacity Assault Monitor
After months of searching for a reasonable, at-least-kinda-cost-effective solution
for running lots of consoles, I finally found a way to make it happen!
An Answer at Last: 4k Monitor With Integrated PIP
I owe a great deal of thanks to a friend who pointed me to a 43" 4k monitor by Philips
that has a 4x PIP feature. That monitor is an awkward size for me (I don't have a great place to wall-mount a 43" monitor, and it's way too big to use as a portable monitor), but it opened the door to a new line of searching: monitors
I was a little bit baffled when I couldn't find any televisions with Picture-in-Picture--that was once a very popular feature. But I didn't really expect to find PIP in a monitor. Traditionally, televisions have been expected to accommodate a variety of sources like cable boxes, game consoles, media players, etc. Monitors, however, are usually dedicated to a single computer and rarely expected to share multiple sources.
In any case, a fresh round of searching for "monitors with PIP" unearthed a few models by Viewsonic that include the ability to display up to 4 1080p sources at the same time. A couple companies have displays that do 2xPIP. NEC has an expensive 65" display that does 4xPIP. And I found some obscure Korean imports with 4xPIP (my favorite brand name was Wasabi Mango
). Options are few.
Viewsonic calls their 4x PIP feature "MultiPicture." It's no wonder I didn't discover these monitors earlier. Even Viewsonic seems unsure how to market them: if you search their site for "MultiPicture" it returns no results; if you compare monitor models it's not listed among the dozens of lines of features. You need to actually pull up the page for one of the models with MultiPicture, scroll down near the bottom and you'll finally discover this uninspired blurb:This monitor features MultiPicture support for multi-tasking and simultaneous viewing of up to 4 video sources at Full HD 1080p resolution. Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-by-Picture (PBP) functionality is also available for increased productivity.
Everything Required to Make It Work
I only found three models of Viewsonic monitors with MultiPicture. I ruled out one of them because it only has 2 HDMI inputs. The other two models--VP2780-4K
--both have 3 HDMI inputs and a pair of DisplayPort inputs. Here's why that's important:
Of Course I Needed This
An interesting thing about HDMI and DisplayPort: it appears a DisplayPort source can drive an HDMI display with nothing more than a cable, but going the other direction requires a powered adapter. Some of them can get quite expensive. I opted for a $40 dongle
that gets its power from USB rather than one of the larger converters with a big "wall wart" plug. As the previous image shows, it worked just fine for my needs.
Of the two remaining models, the decision was more of a coin flip. But the XG model was designed with gaming in mind, seems to be slightly newer and cost $90 less. So, winner!
Other than the monitor and the one HDMI-to-DP adapter, I really only needed cables. Except that I also needed the GAEMS Rail System Weighted Monitor Stand
. Because. Because it features the same picatinny quad rail that enables yahoos to, uh, excessively customize
their modern sporting rifles. I've been looking for an excuse to own this, and I finally got one. Thanks, Viewsonic!
And now you know how I came to nickname the new display my High Capacity Assault Monitor.
Test Driving the Viewsonic XG2700-4K
OK, so refer back to that first picture for a second. I wanted to thoroughly test this monitor by routing sources to it in a number of different ways, all at the same time. Here's everything that's going on in that picture:
Autumn and I were using her XBox One to watch Netflix on the big projection screen (The OA
, if anyone cares). That's routed through my 8x8 HDMI Matrix switch. I ran a second output from the matrix to the monitor and mirrored Netflix to the lower-left quadrant.
Next, I pulled up my primary 360 on the right-hand side TV. This is also routed through the matrix, and I mirrored it as well. However, instead of piping it directly to the monitor, I ran it to my Elgato HD60
, which is connected to my laptop. Then I connected the passthrough to the monitor. That means I will be able to stream any source that's connected to my matrix and view it on the monitor! Cool!
Finally, I hooked up my two XBox One S systems to the upper quadrants of the monitor. One of them is connected directly via HDMI and the other used the DisplayPort adapter. So, 4 consoles connected 4 ways, and everything worked beautifully!
The only complaint I have about the setup I used for testing is that it takes up too much space. I set up a 6-foot folding table behind the 4-foot folding table that I currently use for my laptop (and now the new monitor). That's where I set up the two Slim systems. It works, but now half of my living room is tables and consoles, lol. I'm looking into ways to mount my consoles, a wired network switch and a power strip on some kind of cart (like a 19" equipment rack with casters).
I found these cool wall-mount brackets
, but I'm still hunting for the right set of inexpensive plates or rails to rack-mount them. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Thanks!
Posted by SpeleoFool
on 18 January 17 at 21:41
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