Displaying or Recording Surface Hardware FAQs RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • This post answers some common questions about recording or adding external displays to Microsoft Surface hardware units.

    How do I connect a Surface unit to an external display?

    You can attach external monitors to Surface developer units to assist in your application development. For more information about how to attach an external monitor, see Installing a Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor in the Microsoft Surface section of the TechNet Library.

    Note: Other than external monitors for developer units, there is no official supported solution for connecting an external display to a Surface unit.

    Some customers have installed the ATI Catalyst Control Center application to clone the output of their Surface unit’s screen. In either case, use a VGA port for the best results. We recommend you do not use the RGB connections for an external display.

    Here are a few options:

    • Connect your external display to the VGA out port in the I/O connections area of the Surface unit. (Avoid using the RGB connections.) Then, download and use the ATI Catalyst Control Center (http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx?p=vista32/common-vista32) to clone or mirror the display on the external device. After you mirror the display, rerun the Set Up Monitors program (on developer units only) so that Surface applications will display at the correct coordinates. Then, open the registry, browse to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Surface\v1.0\Calibration\Application Screen Bounds, and make sure the value of the X key is 0.

      Note: The Catalyst Control Center is not supported for Surface units. This option captures only the interactions on the screen, not the fingers and objects that people use for the interaction.

    • If you want to display different information on an external display instead of mirroring the screen of a Surface unit, you can just open a new window at the appropriate coordinates. For example, if you set up an external display on the right side of the Surface unit, the coordinates of the Surface applications must start at -1024,0. Then, in the Surface applications, use the following code to display another window on the external display:
      private void SurfaceButton_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
          Window w = new Window();
          w.Left = 0;
          w.Top = 100;
          w.Width = 600;
          w.Height = 500;
          w.Background = Brushes.Red;

      Note: Be aware that your application must display and own the window because the Surface Shell suppresses any user interface from processes that are not registered with Surface Shell.

    • Use a fixed overhead camera so that object and human interactions are captured, too. If you use a video camera, it will probably operate in more standard NTSC television resolutions, and work better with a plasma TV.

    For more information on how to configure an external display for Window Vista, see Understanding multiple monitors.

    Can I capture and record the Surface experience?

    Surface was designed as a literal hands-on experience for users to interact with applications and directly manipulate content. Touch is the basis for generating output to the Surface tabletop display. For the purpose of recording presentations and demonstrations, it is recommended that you provide your audience a view of how users manipulate content directly on the Surface tabletop and the immediate result of their actions displayed on the tabletop screen. To create this view most effectively, mount a video camera approximately five feet above the Surface tabletop so that it records the users’ hand movements and the Surface screen simultaneously. A common technique known as C-Stand is ideal for capturing user interaction and screen output for demonstrations.

    The use of screen capture software to record the Surface screen does not capture the physical interaction with the device and thus does not depict user touch or contact. Microsoft does not make recommendations for selecting screen capture applications. However, if you intend to record screen captures for display only (for example, remote monitoring), then a product review Web site such as Wikipedia or CNET can provide recommendations on products such as Camtasia Studio, Adobe Captivate 3, and others.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 8:08 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I am trying to capture the Surface experience. I make use of a mounted camera.
    My video recording is full of scanlines, as a result of the refresh rates. Could someone give me advice on how to capture the Surface
    experience without scanlines?

    I've just learned that scanlines can be reduced or removed by means of turning off the camera's image stabilizer and using video editing software settings such as 'frame blend'. I would like to use, for example, a 25 p. HD recording mode. Now I probably need to set the multitouch table to a refresh rate of 50 or 100 Hz? How should I do this? Is it possible to adjust the refresh rate of the beamer? Are there other solutions or is there any other advice?

    Kind regards,

    Bart Breem
    Monday, March 15, 2010 3:30 PM