Various methods to display multiple signals on a 4:3 screen: 1+3, 3+1 (1:1), 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 (4:3), 1+1 (2:3 vertical, 8:3 horizontal), 4×3 (1:1), 1 in 12 (4:3).
A split screen is a display technique in computer graphics that consists of dividing graphics and/or text into adjacent (and possibly overlapping) parts, typically as two or four rectangular areas. This is done in order to allow the simultaneous presentation of (usually) related graphical and textual information on a computer display. TV Sports used this presentation methodology in the 1960s for instant replay.
The original non-dynamic split screens differed from windowing systems in that the latter always allowed overlapping and freely movable parts of the screen (the “windows”) to present related as well as unrelated application data to the user, while the former were strictly limited to fixed non-overlapping positions.
The split screen technique can also be used to run two instances of an application, possibly with another user interacting with the other instance.
In video games
The split screen feature is commonly used in non-networked video games with multiplayer options.
In its most easily understood form, a split screen for a two-player video game is an audiovisual output device (usually a standard television for video game consoles) where the display has been divided into two equally sized areas so that the players can explore different areas simultaneously without being close to each other. This has historically been remarkably popular on consoles, which until the 2000s did not have access to the Internet or any other network and is less common today with modern support for online console-to-console multiplayer support.
Split screen is useful for people who want to play with other players, but with only one console.
In recent years, split screen hasn’t been used very often because the new frontier of videogames is playing with other players online, without screen sharing.
Advantages and disadvantages of split screen in video games
- Users can see where the other players are
- Users can communicate with the players who are near them
- Only one Console needed
- Only one Game Copy needed
- Small screens
- User can cheat by looking at the other players’ screens, also called ‘screen-cheating’ or ‘screen-peeking’
- Rendering more screens taxes the hardware, often reducing frame rate or graphical detail
- More distraction