My current laptop does not support the latest video standards, display port 1.2 or HDMI 2.0. This means that if I connect it to a 4K display I will be limited to 30Hz. In practice this turns out to be less than ideal as several of the UI elements do not operate in a smooth manner, e.g. the mouse moving across the screen.
Most 4K monitors however, support a function known as picture by picture, or PBP. This mode provides a possible alternative to using the display in 30Hz, by breaking the display in half, using PBP, and using two different cables to supply the two halves with video. This circumnavigates the bandwidth issues with HDMI 1.4 and Display Port by not requiring them to run at 4K. Instead the computer supplies two screens with 1920×2160 @ 60Hz.
This solution is not ideal, at least on Mac OSX, as you cannot have one big window open across your whole screen. However I have not found this to be much of a problem as screens of this size usually have two or more windows open on them at the same time.
To implement this solution you will need to:
- Ensure that your monitor supports PBP
- Plug your computer into the monitor using two cables
- Note: These can be the same interface or different. I have connected the monitor using one HDMI and one Display Port cable, as that’s what I had available on my computer.
- Turn on Picture By Picture mode
- This will vary from one monitor to the next
- Select the two inputs that you have previously connected to supply a side of the screen
- Use the settings on the computer to place the two screens next to each other