2/7/08
11:12 am

MacMost Now 40: DisplayLink USB Video Adapters

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look ay DisplayLink, a company that makes USB-to-video technology. They are coming out with Mac drives next month for various adapters that allow you to add a monitor to your Mac though your USB port.

Video Transcript
Gary Rosenzweig: Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Now a lot of people love to have multiple monitors with their Macs. All you need to do in most cases is hook a second monitor up to the monitor port on say iMac, or a MacBook, and you've got a second monitor. But what if you wanted to add more, or what if you wanted to add on to a Mini? Well, the only way to do that is though the USB port. There is a product called DisplayLink, that will allow you to add a monitor through your USB port. I had a chance to catch up with them at the MacWorld Expo. Let's take a look.
Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Say you've got a Mac, Mini, or laptop, and you want to have a whole bunch of monitors hooked up to it. You can't just add a video card to it, but there is a way to do it through a USB. I'm here with Jason, from DisplayLink, and he's going to tell us how.

Jason: Hi. So DisplayLink is a chip and software company, and we make a technology for USB displays. We've been doing this on Windows for awhile, but we're going to bring it to Mac for the first time. So, basically you've got an idea here: USBN, our chip inside, and then DVI or VGA. So you can get one of these adapters, and if you've got a monitor kicking around, easily add it to your Mac, up to four monitors. We've also got the technology in docking stations, so if you have MacBook Pro, or a MacBook Air, or MacBook, this is great because there's no such thing as a docking station for those notebooks.
Gary: Right.
Jason: So what you can do here, is you can do a USB docking station. You see, here's a product from Kensington, the SD200V.And you can see here, you plug in just your USB, and then you've got your extra peripherals, your USB, your mouse keyboard, your display, your audio, and (you're just plugging in) your USB into your MacBook.
Gary: Cool. And now over here you've got the mini and it's hooked up to four monitors at one time.
Jason: This technology is also built into some Samsung displays, so here's a Samsung 19-inch, and a 22-inch. It's called UBSync technology in Samsung. What we've done here is, we've taken a Mac Mini. We've got one USB cable coming into it. We're not even plugging in the DVI here...
Gary: It's empty. (talking over Jason)
Jason: and it's going to this monitor. And then out of here, we're plugged into the hub here to this monitor, and chained to this one, and chained to this one, through this adapter. So you can see, we've added four monitors to a Mac Mini.
Gary: So you can theoretically get like one of these, a couple of them, ...
Jason: Yeah.
Gary: ...and have a couple of monitors hooked up
Jason: Absolutely. If you have a monitor already around the house, you can use something like this, or, if you're buying a new monitor, you can get something with the Samsung UBSync technology, or DisplayLink stuff inside. And you can connect multiple screens up to your Mac. What's very cool about this is, I mean, Apple's done lots of neat stuff to make it easier to deal with lots of information on your screen, like Spaces, but Spaces is even better when you go to multiple monitors, because you can see you've got a (crazy amount of spaces here) You can move windows between spaces, like this. Just in the standard way. And it just works on DisplayLink technology.
Gary: Awesome, that's great. Now that unit, you guys provide the technology. And the manufacturers like Kensington are providing the units. That's a Kensington unit that's coming out soon?
Jason: Actually, it's out already.
Gary: It's out already...
Jason: Called the SD200V, and you can buy these in shops. Samsung 940UX you can buy today. And these have Windows drivers available. The big thing we're doing is we're going to support the Mac, fully and truly. So the first drivers are going to be available in March. Free download from the website.
Gary: So if you wanted to, so your website would list all the products that have your technology in it. What's the website?
Jason: DisplayLink.com. So it's "DisplayLink", all one word, .com. So if you go to the shop, there's a section with all the different products, all of our customers there. You can find out information about them, where to buy them. And all of the USB products are going to be supported by the driver coming up in March.
Gary: Cool.
Now, DisplayLink technology is pretty cheap. In fact, this version costs only $65 today at Amazon. But, here's the catch: the Mac drivers are not available yet. They expect to be available in March, according to what's on the website. When they are, we hope to be able to get one of these in, and try it out.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig, with MacMost Now.

Comments: 2 Responses to “MacMost Now 40: DisplayLink USB Video Adapters”

    Gus Frederick
    4/27/10 @ 2:55 pm

    Howdy!

    Looking for a hardware solution that allows one to plug multiple USB Webcams, with a single USB out, to use as a video “switcher” to change between the cameras.

    ANything out there like that?

      4/27/10 @ 3:00 pm

      I’m pretty sure you won’t find it. If you switch which USB camera is hooked up with a hardware switch, then it would be the same as unplugging one and plugging in the other. The software would suddenly miss the one it was using, and it wouldn’t know to start using the other one until you told it to.
      Why not have multiple ones hooked up at the same time, and then switch between them? I use Wirecast to do exactly that. Boinx does that too, I believe.

Comments Closed.