16 Cinema displays on one wall?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Black Diesel, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I have a wealthy buddy who is building a house and he wants to build a wall with a grid of 16 Apple Cinema displays on a decorative wall framed in nice wood. The goal is to have each ACD display a different slide show of images throughout the night like digital picture frames.

    Does anyone know if this is possible with a MAC to control 16 monitors playing a different slide show on each display? Could be amazing if there's a way to do it, anyone know where to start with this idea?
  2. macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    I can think a million better ways to spend money than doing that... unless he wants to stare at the TV wall in silence, dressed like Batman, and breathing heavily, in which case it'd be the coolest thing ever.

    You might be better off using a PC with multiple AMD Gpus.
  3. macrumors member

    May 3, 2007
    Ignoring all judgement on the value of doing this, I agree with the PC idea. I've used budget Matrox G400 quad head cards to control a variety of 14" monitors and projectors via VLC for an atmospheric youth event at church. Our budget was precisely $pocket money but at the time I did note that you can stack upto 4 of the Matrox cards into an appropriate motherboard. Think I was using Windows 2000 at the time.

    I'm sure if you want higher resolution etc. there are more expensive and robust options.

    Alternatively - why not link a Raspberry Pi to each monitor (or mini android etc.)? If you want them to talk to each other, I guess you'd need a 17th but in the grand scale of the cost of this project...
  4. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    The only way to even remotely do this with one Mac, would be to use a Mac Pro and even then I am not sure you can run 16 displays using the 4 PCIE slots in the Mac Pro (not sure if there are cards that can run 4 displays that will fit in a single height slot).

    However, as everyone has stated, he might be better off with PC. If he is really going to frame everything in wood, then the asthetics of a Mac is completely lost (heck he could use cheap Korean panels or the dell 2713HM) since you really won't see them anyway. Then with a PC, he just needs to buy a full ATX motherboard with as many PCIE 8x (or 16x) slots as he can get and he should be good to go for (the computer with all video cards would cost less than a single Mac Pro w/o necessary slots).

    If money really is no object, then he could buy 16 Base Mini's and the 16 Apple Cinema Displays and "only" drop 25K. :)
  5. macrumors 68020

    Nov 2, 2006
    oohhhhh, yeah! A Mac Mini server farm.
  6. macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2012
    Ask the NSA
  7. macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2009
    Ask the NSA, they'd know.
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Guys, don't forget some people have money to burn.....thus a wall of apple cinema displays for show. Budget is not an issue, so maybe he will have to buy a farm of minis. He plans to incorporate them in wood to where you would still see the apple frame of the display.

    Sounds like PC is the way to go. Pretty sad there's not an easy solution for MAC
  9. macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
  11. macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    How Apple made the App Wall. Good starting point.
    A bunch of minis should do the trick ...

    Attached Files:

  12. Flynnstone, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013

    macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    I think its very easy on the Mac. Check out Quartz Composer.

    There is a Quartz Composer user group or list.
    Since your bud has lots of cash, I recommend contracting someone from the list. Some of the Real cool Mac apps are written using Quartz Composer. The people behind those apps are on the list.
  13. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Can't you daisy chain the TBD? Why wouldn't that work, or is there a limit on how many?
  14. macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    We do this all the time in the live entertainment industry. It would require more than a single Mac computer, but there are a number of options here. It would be possible with as few as 8 Mac Minis, or 3 custom-configured Mac Pro towers.

    There are lots of off-the-shelf (and actually quite affordable) software options as well.

    Where are you located? Contact me privately and I can point you in the direction of someone local who has experience in this area.
  15. macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2011
  16. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    If all that the screens are doing is displaying a photo slide show, why would it need to be on a Mac? Or for that matter a computer at all? I kinda like the idea someone suggested of using Raspberry Pi controllers (or something similar).

    If, however, you really want to do something cool on a Mac, check out ProVideoPlayer:


    Likely overkill for just photos, but maybe this will inspire your friend.
  17. macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Here's the easiest solution: buy a bunch of LED smart TV's! He could buy fewer TV's, maybe twelve 42" LG's or something, and just plug a USB drive into each of them loaded up with photos and put them into slideshow mode.

    Or, for an even cooler trick, he could have the TV's displaying online photo albums, like from Picasa or Facebook. Make a different album for each TV. The cool thing is, he could update the TV's from his phone just by updating the online photo album.

    Another fun thing, he could actually turn them all off with just one remote.

    I think I just saved your friend about $12K or more.
  18. macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    The new Mac Pro says it will be able to handle up to three 4K displays. I don't know whether that means it will be able to just handle three displays or if it can handle way more than that with plain ol' crappy HD displays. That's probably your best Mac option.
  19. macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    The media access control address is not capable of doing this. There is specialized display/signage software for the PC that is capable of doing this and is very good at it. Apple computers are not designed for every situation and the best solution for the problem should be what is used. Additionally the bezel width on Apple monitors is huge compared to digital signage displays.


    You should at least get a portion of that.
  20. macrumors 68030


    Feb 6, 2011
    Saving money is not the point here :D

    For the sake of it, he might be better going with array of 42" Loewe Individual. ;)
    One way to burn money right away considering a mediocre quality of Loewe TVs.
  21. macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    How about using 4k monitors. Since money is not a big problem
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Putting this is a house is the most stupid idea I have ever heard.
    It just make me sad that with all the inequality and hunger world wide, some people just burn money for things like this.
    Anyway, we h ave a Macpro with 8 displays here at work (8 TVs) for visualizing weather vector fields. I doesnt have room for more cards, it has all 4 slots occupied with 4 dual head cards.(the basic one, dont remember the model).
    As someone said, it's easier with a PC. And I dont think that this is going to look cool on a wall, the bezel is big, and the apple displays are glossy.
  23. macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2009
    If he goes the mini route, wouldnt that mean he would need just as many mice and keyboards and then need to manage all of them separately? :confused:

    Also shouldn't he just hire some company to figure this out for him since money is no object?
  24. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Great, tell that to all the people with $5 million+ homes with 25 bedrooms and 80 bathrooms.....

    That's way more waste than $25K on computer equipment.


    There's this thing called Desktop sharing that's built into OSX..... It's kinda handy for this sorta thing. ;)
  25. macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I would go the MP route with a MBA as a remote.

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