USB Monitors? DisplayLink's Technology, Examined

DisplayLink Software Installation: Completely Seamless

There’s a huge selection of DisplayLink products, which makes support a challenge. Some USB-to-VGA/DVI adapters are backed by older drives, while some USB-based monitors don't even include Mac OS X drivers. The real secret is that every USB-based graphics device uses DisplayLink’s technology, even if its vendor doesn’t say so. After all, nobody's interested in admitting their product is identical to others on the market. That also means that you can use the drivers posted to DisplayLink's Web site if you find yourself using an adapter or monitor that doesn't seem to support your configuration, based on its manufacturer's documentation.

Despite divergent driver versions and support issues, circling back to DisplayLink's own software package gives us a sense of universality. Thus, setup is a breeze.

After driver installation, plug in your DisplayLink device and you're ready to roll. Whether you're talking about a USB-based monitor or a display attached more conventionally via DVI or VGA, the connected display is integrated into the OS' display settings. The resulting benefit is a graphics technology that employs a standardized bus and is as easy to use as any other display. There's only one oddity, which involves Mac users. For whatever reason, it's not possible to perform screen captures on a DisplayLink-enabled monitor.

You should be aware that driver updates don’t just provide better compatibility. DisplayLink tells us it continuously optimizes its encoding and compression algorithms.

The Driver Black Box

Interestingly, DisplayLink devices aren't listed under "Display Adapter" in  your Device Manager. They have their own category under "USB Display Adapter." The driver itself doesn't reveal much, though.