Approximate time to read: 3 minutes
The HIS Multi-View+Sound Adapter is a device, smaller than a pack of cards, that allows you to connect a PC with USB 3 (although USB 2 will work, although slower) to a monitor to use it as an additional desktop.
In the box you get the Multi-View device itself, an HDMI cable for connecting to the Multi-View, a CD containing manual and drive software and a brief leaflet explainig how to install the CD contents. The CD manual, however, only covers the software in more detail so there is explanation of use of the hardware (not that there’s much to understand, but none-the-less…). The cable has an HDMI connection on one end and a proprietary connector on the other – the latter plugs into the Multi-View and the former onto your PC.
One thing I do want to mention, though, is the actual packaging which is far too excessive – considering the contents, the box is oversized and the use of plastic to show the adapter is unneeded. A simpler, smaller box without the plastic would have been far more appropriate. Equally, I’m not sure if installation CDs are required any more, with many other manufacturers simply providing software and manuals online. However, having the basic CD installation instructions on a printed manual was good, though.
The provided driver software adds a new program to your system tray for configuring the additional screen. And that’s all there is to it – connect up the hardware, install the driver and you now have a multi-screen setup. The fact that HDMI is used means that the sound is also transmitted too.
It supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1152 and with the user of additional adapters you can connect up to 6 monitors to the same PC. The HDMI connection is HDCP compliant, so you can play DVDs and Blu-Rays on your additional monitor without any issues.
They say it will also support, to a level, USB 2 so I tried it on that and it worked perfectly. I used a Dell UltraSharp U2311H which has a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Playing full screen video showed some artefacts and dropped frames but this will also be affected by the power of your PC – with some programs running this became worse, so having a faster PC will certainly help here. As you can imagine when using USB 3, which its much higher speed, the picture is vastly improved.
You can use the additional monitors in different ways – I usually use them as additional desktops where I can move windows between them. In “mirror” it will duplicate your primary display – when using this I noticed a very small delay between the two, even when using USB 3. Not a great issue, but I probably wouldn’t recommend using this to play games ((although I suspect such a games player is likely to have a graphics setup that will support multiple monitors anyway)).
I also connected my laptop to a Samsung 40″ TV using the HIS adapter – this allowed me to test the sound as well. Again, I was using USB2 so the video was as before ((although the resolution is set correctly, the screen didn’t stretch to the entire size of my TV, but there is an option within the provided software to resolve this)). The sound was great and required no settings changes for it to work – it just did ((the last time I connected my laptop to the TV, using a straight-through DVI cable I couldn’t get the sound to work)).
The software running all this is DisplayLink, which is also used with my Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421. In the case of the Lenovo this uses USB 2 but without sound and at a lower, fixed resolution. It’s incredibly easy to use, with all options available from the system tray. It’s also worth noting that the latest version of DisplayLink is available to download from their website ((it’s worth keeping up to date with this as it’s likely that updated will fix bugs and improve quality and performance)).
My only complaint about the whole thing, considering the price, is the low quality plastic that the adapter is made from. However, as this is something you’re likely to tuck out of the way then this is hardly an issue.
At the time of writing the HIS Multi-View+Sound Adapter could be found for £53.32 at eBuyer.com.
[review]The HIS adapter is a great solution to connecting multiple monitors to your PC or laptop when you don’t have the graphics ports to do so. I’m not sure about gaming, but watching films or just extending your working desktop is simple and well done. Video and sound is great and the fact that it works with USB 2 as well as 3 means that this can still be used even with older machines. You just need to decide if paying £50+ is the best solution to your connectivity issues.[/review]