MaxiVista: Enabling An Extra Monitor Over Your Network

MaxiVista: Server Start-Up

Once we've completed the aforementioned steps, we can start the MaxiVista server program on our desktop computer, which we find in the start menu under ‘Programs -> MaxiVista Demo Server.’ An icon appears in the taskbar here as well. Through the color of the program icons in the taskbar of the notebook and on the main computer, we can determine whether or not the MaxiVista server can communicate with the MaxiVista client. The initial connection was successful if the icons on both computers are yellow. However, should at least one of the icons remain black, then no connection between the client and server has been made. In such a case, you should check the firewall settings and check that there are no general network problems.

Playback of Multimedia Files

The icons on the laptop and desktop PC turn yellow right away on our test platform, so we can immediately start using the program. To do that, simply double click the MaxiVista status icon in the taskbar of the main (server) computer. Check out the following video to see how such a connection looks, and whether any video files can be played on the network-connected laptop screen.

Maxivista


Double-clicking the program icon in the taskbar establishes a connection, and the desktop computer can use the notebook as a third monitor. For testing purposes we used Google’s Chrome browser to play a 720p version of the game trailer for Assassin's Creed 2 on YouTube. When moving the browser window from the monitor that is connected to the desktop PC to the virtual third monitor, which is the screen of the notebook connected through the network, we could still watch the video almost completely stutter-free. Playing the video in full screen mode works just fine as well.

When further attempting to playback another 720p test file using Windows Media Player we were less successful. Once we moved the window to the virtual monitor we only saw a still image. The VLC player, on the other hand, played the same file without problems on the third monitor added by MaxiVista.

Virtual Monitor via WLAN

In our second test, for which we used a 54 Mb/s WiFi connection instead of the 1 Gb/s Ethernet connection, the results were less impressive. Moving a window to the third monitor was jerky, as was moving the mouse pointer around. Playing any multimedia files in this arrangement is not a good idea.

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16 comments
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  • kiwimonk
    Very nice! I've been waiting for 64 bit support in MaxiVista for a very long time ;)
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  • Anonymous
    Quote:
    When further attempting to playback another 720p test file using Windows Media Player we were less successful. Once we moved the window to the virtual monitor we only saw a still image.


    This probably has something to do with Media Player's DRM-related features which block video overlay (can't remember the correct name for this sort of DRM).
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  • JohnnyLucky
    Interesting but doesn't sound like an ideal solution.
    3
  • Anonymous
    Teamviewer is able to do all this as simply, and in addition is the easiest program to use to help novices on the other side of the globe, transfers files and voice and video, and is free for non-commercial use.

    And I have no commercial interests to love Teamviewer, neither do my old relatives who love it too, because they get their problems solved without any installations on their side.
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  • brendonmc
    I've experimented with a trial version of this software a number of years ago and concluded exactly the same thing as you have in your article. Its a fantastic idea but is limited to the slow speed of the network interface (remember that PCI-E has a bandwidth of 4GB/s or more) multiplied by the slow speed of software video processing. Forget trying to run an 'Eyefinity'-like setup with a couple of old laptops because gaming isn't gonna happen through this portal. I also found video playback hit and miss too with very strange things happening.
    That said, if you just want to have your inbox, twitter or facebook sitting on that old pentium 3 laptop screen beside your main computer then its great (as long as you are prepared to wait the 10 minutes it would take for windows xp to boot up!).
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  • igot1forya
    Stardock has had a product called Multiplicity that has done this for years. Also, you can use several spare PC's are monitors at the same time.
    http://www.stardock.com/products/multiplicity/

    Toms should do a side-by-side comparison.
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  • Anonymous
    @Igot1forya I think you are misunderstanding the product. MaxiVista doesn't *only* serve as a KVM for non-standard editions but let's you virtually add an extra monitor to your primary desktop, the primary desktops thinks a physical monitor has been added which let's you drag over windows and programs over to them like nany regular monitor except in reality they appear on the monitor of the networked pc.
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  • ilikegirls
    I just downloaded this program and I'm loving it! not only does it let me have a third screen (win), I found a way to have the second PC work normally with the desktop and everything and still control it. I had fun with this once when I was playing C&C3. I started C&C3 in both PC and played with both on them but with only one mouse lol it was sweet! Love this program!
    still sad its only a trial!
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  • spoofedpacket
    Wow, this software does not seem entirely useful when considering it is a commercial package.

    You should have used more exciting terminology when talking about the power consumption of running multiple systems. From the looks of video card related articles and posts on here, it is a much bigger deal than actual performance with much colorful and bombastic wording surrounding the issue.
    1
  • Anonymous
    This program is interesting when your 2nd monitor is a laptop. Great for use with Photoshop, Lightroom etc.

    For controlling a remote computer I use the free
    XP software Synergy :
    http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/
    From my WiFi laptop I control HD video display on TV from my desktop player.
    1
  • kyle00123
    There is a free program called Synergy that works great as a software KVM, compatible with Windows, Mac & Linux. I have used it and it might not have a many features as this but it does the job that any KVM switch can do and more.
    1
  • miicah
    Damn kyle, if I didn't have to register an account I would have beaten you :P

    But synergy is great, plus it's cross platform. The sourcforge version of synergy hasn't been updated since '06 but is confirmed to work with XP. Have a look at
    http://code.google.com/p/synergy-plus/
    for an update version.
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  • Alvin Smith
    This product might work very well in a classroom environment ...

    I can see having an ATOM/Projector presentation client and a hard wired GB-Ethernet connection.

    Also might come in very handy for classroom tech training, if the whole class could mirror the instructor.

    = Alvin =
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  • Shin-san
    Very handy, but it might be a problem with USB to VGA/DVI/HDMI adapters are out there for about the same cost. If you have an empty PCI Express x16 slot, there's some really good video cards you can use as well for $40-60.
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  • zybch
    Igot1foryaStardock has had a product called Multiplicity that has done this for years.


    Which is fine if you like your PC infected with the malware they infect ALL of their 'products' with.
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  • Anonymous
    If you're using Windows, you might be better off with something like InputDirector or Synergy/Synergy+. It's kind of like having an extra monitor, except your other system is running and you're just controlling it via your primary system's keyboard and mouse. Your programs basically can't interact with each other across computers except in the normal ways, but you do get a shared clipboard.

    As a side benefit, if you (say) play a movie on one computer and play games on the other, neither computer experiences significant slowdown. I sometimes use it at work when I have a spare computer so Outlook can have an entire box to itself :)
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