Thanks to Aaron Laird (a member of our community on Twitter) we learned yesterday that Apple’s new Retina MacBook Pro has the capabilities to support 4 simultaneous Display outputs. This is good news for all of you who are using multi-screen or considering going to it. This could mean less machines, less operators, less processors and ultimately less stress!
In this picture below, (posted by Other World Computing) you can see the laptop is powering three external outputs without any processors or in-between signal modifiers. OWC notes that during the test, the video “didn’t create any lag” and were able to play media on all the displays at the same time. Incredible!
Apple has also updated their support documents to note three outputs from the new Retina Macbook Pro. Which confirms it is not something that is hacked.
As seen above, the laptop is outputting one cinema display from Thunderbolt, another from DisplayPort/Tunderbolt and the third from the HDMI port on the other side of the computer. You should be able to find all three plugs into the laptop.
In theory you can do a triple wide video wall without a processor (like the Matrox TripleHead2Go). However at this time ProPresenter, MediaShout, Easy Worship and most other softwares cannot span multiple video card outputs. Which is why the TripleHead and other devices like it are still worth considering.
This setup above is three separate video cards, which would mean that you would need three separate output modules from your playback software. There are very few software options out there that support outputting over multiple video cards and often are more complex with a higher price tag.
If our friends at ProPresenter happen to be reading this… we are expecting this as a feature SOON! 🙂
So what does this mean for us? And for the future?
This is a baby step toward one computer running multiple displays without a single processor. In theory we would be able to output the above video wall from one laptop if the processing existed.
This also may mean that we can possibly run two softwares at the same time for different outputs. For example, lets say that you want to do a triplehead2go out of one Thunderbolt for Environmental Projection running a software like ProVideoPlayer and on the other thunderbolt you provide an output for your main screens (lyrics, video playback, graphics) from a software like ProPresenter. I am not sure if this is possible now, but it may mean simpler systems in the future.
From a mere output standpoint if you took these three outputs and hook up three DataPath x4’s you could have the possibility of doing 12 outputs. In the example that we showed of OWC, they were processing 15+ million pixels. If you were to do 12x 1280×720 televisions merged, that would only be 11 million pixels. Well under the test conducted by OWC. (above picture is 12 televisions)
You would however need 12 screens/projectors or TVs.
Has anyone bought the Retina MacBook Pro and can you try the multiple software concept?