The more you can see, the more you can do. That’s the promise of using multiple displays.

Posted: 03.12.03

March 12, 2003—Jon Peddie Research has just released a market study on multi-displays. This 46-page report contains 46 charts and tables on the opportunities in the multi-display market, identifying user types, installed base, buying interests, and technology issues. There is a terrific market potential, and yet, a large portion of potential users don't know about the concept, or how to deploy such a multi-display setup. The rapidly dropping cost of flat panel displays, and the strong consumer interest in them is creating a pent up demand that begs for a response; this $US1,995 report will show the suppliers and manufactures how to tap into this potentially large growth market.

Executive summary

The number of users who employ a multiple-display system is increasing, and there are some natural and subjective reasons that are holding back that expansion.

  • Almost everyone contacted agrees there is a need for a multi-display system and believes he or she would realize increased productivity by having more screen space for their electronic desktop.

  • Productivity estimations average to forty-two percent improvement.

  • Primary applications users expect to benefit from multi-displays are content creation, general office use, gaming, and CAD.

  • Obstacles to obtaining additional displays are: price, Desk/office space, confusing to use, and heat, noise, radiation.

  • Fifty-four percent of the people surveyed who are not users of multiple display systems said they plan to obtain additional displays within a year or less.

  • Ninety-five percent of the non-users of multiple displays said they knew such a capability was possibly.

  • Thirty-two percent of the people surveyed said they were using multiple displays now, and fifty-five percent of the non-users said they want to or plan to use multiple displays in the very near future.

  • The market is expected to grow to three-percent of the annual shipments of all types of PCs, and that may be a conservative estimate.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Major activities of respondents

This data suggests software development is the primary activity of the respondents when Other is taken out. Given the responses, software development was broadly interpreted to include web development.

What are the advantages of using multiple displays

If multiple displays are being used, then we wanted to find out what motivated the respondents to employ multiple displays. The following chart indicates their response.

Macintosh HD:Users:marilyn:Desktop:multidisplay:MultDisp01.pict

Figure 2. Advantages of using multiple displays

We were surprised to see no one claim they like to multi-task, or at least use multiple displays for multi-tasking, yet in observations of users with, multiple displays that's exactly what they do.


Several factors are at work that will cause the number of users of multiple displays to increase rapidly over the next three to five years. Those factors and enablers are:

  • Awareness—users are more aware of the possibility of using multiple displays with a computer by seeing fellow workers, movies, and word of mouth.

  • Reduced monitor costs—the price of displays, CRT and LCD have dropped dramatically in the last two years. A 22-inch CRT can be purchased for $500, a 17-inch LCD for about the same.

  • Multi-tasking operating systems—modern operating systems now offer real multi-tasking capability making it possible to open and run several applications at the same time.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Table of Figures
Table of Tables
Executive summary
Lack of user awareness
Multi Display Market Assessment
Why Multi-display?
The more you can see, the more you can do
Paper vs. electronic
A new desk
Too techie?
Myopic view now
Obvious answer
Economy of screens vs. processors
Remote control opportunities
User Survey
Job function
Industry or activity
Geographic location
Type of computer user
Are you using a multiple displays?
What are the advantages of using multiple displays
How are people using multiple Displays now?
Multi-display use by mobile users
How multiple displays are used with laptops
Applications that could be used more effectively with multiple displays
Applications that benefit from Multi-Display
Applications being used with multiple displays
Importance of the display device
Display preference
Display orientation
Non-users of multiple displays
Awareness that more than one monitor can be run from a single PC
Why haven't/aren't non-technical users taking advantage of multiple displays?
Reasons for not using multiple displays
Non-users want multiple displays
Planning on buying a second display
Non-users who plan to use
Applications that would be used with multiple displays
Non-users planned applications
When the non-users plan to buy
Where the non-users plan to buy
Operating System Trends
Suppliers and controllers
Shipment trends
Existing TAM
Size of market today (US & Worldwide)
Desired features
Applications that benefit from a Multi-display system
Communication control
Desktop publishing
Digital imaging
Financial and trading offices
Game creation
Net surfers
General office
Double wide spreadsheets
Presentation systems
Process control
Radar weather maps
Software development
Video and media walls
Video conferencing
Video editing
Virtual display
Visualization and other
Interesting multi-display web sites
Comments from survey

Table of Figures

Figure 1. Job function of respondents
Figure 2. Activity of respondents
Figure 3. Major activities of respondents
Figure 4. Geographic distribution of respondents
Figure 5. Geographic distribution within the U.S.
Figure 6. Categorization of users
Figure 7. Respondents who use more than one display
Figure 8. Advantages of using multiple displays
Figure 9. Place of use of multiple displays
Figure 10. Use of multiple displays at home and work
Figure 11. Road warriors who use multiple displays
Figure 12. Use of multiple displays with laptops
Figure 13. Three displays in a game
Figure 14. Uses of multiple displays
Figure 15. A five panel multi-display system
Figure 16. Display preference
Figure 17. Display orientation preference of users
Figure 18. Awareness of multi-display capability
Figure 19. Reasons multiple displays not being used
Figure 20. Non user’s desire to use multiple displays
Figure 21. Plans for adding more displays
Figure 22. Non-users that plan to get multiple displays
Figure 23. Applications non-users would employ
Figure 24. Non-users planned applications for multiple display
Figure 25. Expected productivity from multiple displays
Figure 26. When non-users plan to buy
Figure 27. Where non-users plan to buy
Figure 28. Shipment forecast of multiple display systems
Figure 29. Percentage of multiple displays on all types of PCs
Figure 30. Distribution of comments

Table of Tables

Table 1. Applications that benefit from multiple displays