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.

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  • aje21
    Have tried this using a Kensington universal notebook "dock" to add a third monitor to my laptop - worked fine for Outlook, Word, web browsing and the like.
  • mi1ez
    had an absolute nightmare with them.
    would only work with certain video players. some showed nothing, some weren't smooth, some wouldn't work full screen, some had errors I assume were to do with protected path and copy protection. and these problems could vary between cloned and extended desktop settings. horrible.
  • ps3hacker12
    wow looks cool can't wait for a USB 3.0 version.