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    Dual Screen Question

    Question here for computer guys...

    Received a small tv for Christmas this year. My goal was to use this for two purposes - as a tv and a second monitor for my computer. I have been looking for information on how to do this, but have not been able to find exactly what I have been looking for.

    1) How do I know if my computer can run dual screens? I know I need a certain graphic card, which I believe I have. I have a VGA output and a S-video output on my laptop.

    2) I would need a VGA cable then, correct? I have an S-video, but that only duplicates my computer screen on the tv. I would like two separate displays.

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks.


    Last edited by cycfan1; 12-26-2010 at 12:05 PM.

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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    What version of windows are you running?
    I'm not quite understanding the setup you're after
    My goal was to use this for two purposes - as a tv and a second monitor for my tv.
    If you want to use it as a second monitor in addition to your laptop, generally you can select your presentation mode by using <shift> f4. You can share you desktop to the monitor (ie what you see with s-video now), or extend your desktop so they are side by side.


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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by simply1 View Post
    What version of windows are you running?
    I'm not quite understanding the setup you're after
    If you want to use it as a second monitor in addition to your laptop, generally you can select your presentation mode by using <shift> f4. You can share you desktop to the monitor (ie what you see with s-video now), or extend your desktop so they are side by side.
    Windows 7.

    I want to have it plugged next to my computer so I can alternate between a tv and a second monitor. For the computer, I typed that wrong before.

    When I use the S-video, I can only share it to either monitor or duplicate the screen to the tv. I cannot get it so I can run computer programs on both screens.



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    Re: Dual Screen Question


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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    The simplest way is if you have a graphics card that has 2 DVI outputs on it. That just makes life simple.

    If you have a graphics card with say one VGA and one S-Video output on it there is still a good chance the card will allow for dual monitors. Just need to go into the settings. There is usually an option for clone monitor which will show the same thing on both - then there is usually a pull down bar or some other check mark that says extend my display onto this monitor.



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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by TitanClone View Post
    Thanks. Can I get by with an S-Video cable, or do I need a VGA cable? Otherwise, I hope to be able to figure out the rest.



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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cycfan1 View Post
    Thanks. Can I get by with an S-Video cable, or do I need a VGA cable? Otherwise, I hope to be able to figure out the rest.
    I use an HDMI, so I don't know what you would need.



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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Its always easier if you have a video card with 2 outputs. Most modern video cards (say last 5 years) already have. Most; but not all. Originally the duals were 1 RGB (VGA) + 1 DVI. Then there were dual DVI's which were popular for a long time. Now you can sometimes get HDMI + DVI. These are all dual outputs and you can run 2 monitors easily. If your video card has only a single output + SVHS you may be able to run dual monitors but just a word of warning: compared to most newer hi-def displays SVHS looks pretty crappy. Running a windows desktop over SVHS onto a TV would not look very good, IMO.

    Now if you have a laptop with VGA out you should be able to do that easily and this usually works pretty well. And a lot of people do it. I think (but am not sure) that when you do this the laptop screen is not functional and the video goes to the external monitor. There is usually a dedicated key or key-sequence on the laptop to re-route the video to the external VGA. Not sure if you can use both the laptop screen and an external VGA monitor at the same time. You might be able to. But it might depend on the capabilities of the laptop (some might let you do it; some might not). If you are attempting to use the SVHS output on the laptop see the prior cautions about screen resolution. The output will not look nearly as good as your laptop display.

    Good luck.



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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cycfan1 View Post
    Thanks. Can I get by with an S-Video cable, or do I need a VGA cable? Otherwise, I hope to be able to figure out the rest.
    If your external TV accepts VGA input that is definitely the way to go; "if" the TV has such an input on the back of the TV, the pin outs on the connector are compatible with computer VGA signals so any VGA computer monitor cable will work.


    Last edited by Rickybaby; 12-26-2010 at 12:57 PM.

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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickybaby View Post
    If your external TV accepts VGA input that is definitely the way to go; "if" the TV has such an input on the back of the TV, the pin outs on the connector are compatible with computer VGA signals so any VGA computer monitor cable will work.
    Alright. It does and this is what I will use.

    However, after some research, I found that my computer only has 1 VGA and 0 DVI ports. According to Microsoft's website, I cannot run dual screens without a combination of two of these ports. Is this correct?

    I am having a lot more trouble than I thought this would be. I have found a USB to DVI adapter that I can buy for $50 if I need to. I figured I would wait until I can buy a VGA cord and test that idea.

    Thanks for your help.



  11. #11
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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cycfan1 View Post
    Alright. It does and this is what I will use.

    However, after some research, I found that my computer only has 1 VGA and 0 DVI ports. According to Microsoft's website, I cannot run dual screens without a combination of two of these ports. Is this correct?

    I am having a lot more trouble than I thought this would be. I have found a USB to DVI adapter that I can buy for $50 if I need to. I figured I would wait until I can buy a VGA cord and test that idea.

    Thanks for your help.
    Yes, usually to run dual monitors you need 2 outputs: 1 VGA and 1 DVI is pretty typical. And SVHS doesn't count because it just creates and analog version of your monitor output and sends that to a TV; so it isn't a 2nd display, its the same display output 2 times.

    You are using a laptop, right? You might want to try hooking it to the TV via a VGA cable to try it out. I believe there are 2 ways it works. 1) When booting up, the laptop looks to see which display is being used; either the internal one which is the laptop display or the external one hooked to the VGA connector. If the bios senses something connected to the VGA port it uses that; otherwise it uses the built in display. Easy to try; hook the TV to VGA port and reboot the laptop. 2) The other way is like I mentioned uses a "hotkey" or key-sequence. The toggles between the laptop display and the VGA. The advantage is that this can be done on the fly. This is what I am used to. I don't know if you can run both the internal laptop screen and the VGA output at the same time. It may be possible so you could try it.

    I don't know much about USB Video adapters. I wouldn't be surprised if they were junk. I'd look up the brand/model on the internet and look for reviews. There are lots of hardware review sites that look at these kinds of things so try to find a couple of reviews before you buy one.

    On the VGA cable here is a suggestion. VGA used to be popular and many people have spare VGA cables that they no longer use. Ask around and see if anyone you know has one and offer them $5 for it. You might also try craigslist. Don't just walk into best buy or radio shack and buy a cable; they'd probably charge you $20 for it and you should be able to get one cheap via the above methods or on the internet. Amazon usually is cheap for cables and there are other places where you can get cables for cheap. Your local retailer is NOT the place to buy cables.



  12. #12
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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickybaby View Post
    Yes, usually to run dual monitors you need 2 outputs: 1 VGA and 1 DVI is pretty typical. And SVHS doesn't count because it just creates and analog version of your monitor output and sends that to a TV; so it isn't a 2nd display, its the same display output 2 times.

    You are using a laptop, right? You might want to try hooking it to the TV via a VGA cable to try it out. I believe there are 2 ways it works. 1) When booting up, the laptop looks to see which display is being used; either the internal one which is the laptop display or the external one hooked to the VGA connector. If the bios senses something connected to the VGA port it uses that; otherwise it uses the built in display. Easy to try; hook the TV to VGA port and reboot the laptop. 2) The other way is like I mentioned uses a "hotkey" or key-sequence. The toggles between the laptop display and the VGA. The advantage is that this can be done on the fly. This is what I am used to. I don't know if you can run both the internal laptop screen and the VGA output at the same time. It may be possible so you could try it.

    I don't know much about USB Video adapters. I wouldn't be surprised if they were junk. I'd look up the brand/model on the internet and look for reviews. There are lots of hardware review sites that look at these kinds of things so try to find a couple of reviews before you buy one.

    On the VGA cable here is a suggestion. VGA used to be popular and many people have spare VGA cables that they no longer use. Ask around and see if anyone you know has one and offer them $5 for it. You might also try craigslist. Don't just walk into best buy or radio shack and buy a cable; they'd probably charge you $20 for it and you should be able to get one cheap via the above methods or on the internet. Amazon usually is cheap for cables and there are other places where you can get cables for cheap. Your local retailer is NOT the place to buy cables.
    Yes, it is a laptop.

    And monoprice.com, for video cables. Nothing cheaper IMO, but going to ask around a see once if I can find one to try out before I buy one.

    The reviews on the adapters seem reputable. I have never heard of them, but might try one out if I cannot get it to work with a VGA cord.



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    Re: Dual Screen Question

    I have a splitter cable for alternating displays with one output, pretty simple and not too expensive.


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