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MaxiVista: Enabling An Extra Monitor Over Your Network

Conclusion

MaxiVista is a small program with an unusual range of features. With this software, the desktop of a primary Windows computer can be extended to a monitor that is connected to a secondary computer. To achieve this, a virtual graphics card is created after installing the MaxiVista server software on the primary computer. The solution then sends the image information of the virtually expanded desktop across the network to a client program that is installed on a secondary desktop computer or notebook. Finally, the client program displays the received image information on the locally-attached monitor or display.

Installation is easy and the program is set within minutes. No effort is required from the user, as the server program automatically looks for MaxiVista clients on the network. All necessary Windows Firewall setting changes are made during the installation as well. The only real user interaction involves firing up the program, adding an extra display to his or her computer via the network. If the MaxiVista server is connected with the client computer via Ethernet, performance is very good. Smooth playback of YouTube videos in 720p is a piece of cake. However, higher resolutions tend to create issues, as our tests have shown. And you'll get less-than-ideal performance over a wireless network.

MaxiVista or a Second Monitor?

In our opinion, this program can come handy. However, the solution requires the user have full access to a laptop or a PC with a display you can commandeer to output via MaxiVista. Ultimately, you should not forget that the MaxiVista client software must be installed on a fully-fledged PC or notebook, and the host system introduces additional power consumption. In a worst case scenario, the power consumption of the client PC, including the display or even a laptop with its integrated display, may have much higher power requirements than a single LCD. In addition to this, the software doesn't support hardware graphics acceleration, which most definitely will lead to issues with various programs.

But obviously, we can imagine scenarios where limited space or budget for a second monitor makes MaxiVista as a permanent solution a viable choice. Even users who don't really have the option to extend their desktops via Ethernet to a remote monitor might want to have a look at the MaxiVista software. The built-in KVM feature makes MaxiVista a cost-effective, software-based KVM solution that certainly has notable charm.

  • kiwimonk
    Very nice! I've been waiting for 64 bit support in MaxiVista for a very long time ;)
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply
  • JohnnyLucky
    Interesting but doesn't sound like an ideal solution.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!).
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • @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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply