Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cool TV Tech - DisplayLink

by Jonathan Bredemeyer

DisplayLink USB 3.0 Display Adapter
While at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year, TheTalkingBox picked up a gem of a free sample while on the quest for TV gadgets: a USB 3.0 DisplayLink USB Graphics Adapter (or UGA). For the non-techies, that's a small box that can connect to a little blue, horizontal port in any computer and put the output onto any HDTV this side of 2009. Horizontal integration of tech and TV makes for better and better experiences, and this device is a perfect example of that.

USB 3.0 Connections are blue

As you can see above, this adapter is fairly small: about the width and weight of an average TV remote, and about half the length. It has 3 lights on the top (blue LEDs) and 4 connectors on the back (a power port, USB 3.0, DVI, and HDMI connections). Amazingly, that's as complicated as this device gets. With USB 3.0, it doesn't need a power connection.

Pretty LEDs
After plugging in our 2 cables to the device, it was time to plug in the USB cable to the computer. Good ol' Windows went to work, and in less than 3 minutes most of the drivers were installed and ready to go. It did require a restart, but for 8x the extra cinematic real estate, it's worth the extra few minutes. If you'd like to see screenshots of every step, flip through the slideshow at the end of this post.

8x My Normal Screen Area!
In under 5 minutes, suddenly Hulu, YouTube, and Vimeo rival the AT&T U-Verse presence normally dominating the largest screen in the house. For its size, weight, and ease of use, this adapter is very tempting to take while traveling. The ability to hook up to any TV with an HDMI port and watch anything on my Slingbox or the internet is a powerful weapon against the ignorance of TV news. If you're interested in linking up any computer with a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port to your TV for a more connected setup, or have a desktop that could use another monitor, check out DisplayLink's adapter products at their Amazon Store.  Display Link's technology is used in many display adapters, so you might be using one and not even know it!

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