NOTE: This blog post references the HDX Pi which has been replaced with the Citrix Ready Workspace Hub. Thanks to the work Muhammad did, which you can read about in this post, Citrix turned this innovation into reality, and is named the Secondary Display Adapter. The SDA can now be purchased directly from nComputing or ViewSonic. It’s important to note that nothing in the blog works with the current Workspace Hub architecture, as we have completely changed the software stack. So please don’t repeat this at home and expect the same results, the technology has moved on.

I love the idea behind the HDX Ready Pi. Low cost, great performance, ease of maintenance – all reasons why it makes perfect sense as a thin client… except for when the user asks, “Can I have a second monitor please?”

Now, it is possible to get a second monitor up and running on the Pi using a USB <-> HDMI dongle. Indeed, this is well-documented online and for running the native Pi desktop and some basic apps, this is just about OK. Citrix Receiver will happily run and “see” two monitors, but the performance on the second [dongle] monitor is abysmal. Certainly nothing like what the HDX Ready Pi can do on a single screen and not something I’d want to recommend. There’s also the issue of cost: these dongles are often quite expensive and the “low cost” idea of the HDX Ready Pi starts to make less sense.

So, as part of my quarterly “Innovation Days” effort, I decided to explore an alternative solution. From my work a few years back on the Raspberry Pi I, I knew I could get decent HDX performance using the Pi’s hardware accelerated decoding capabilities. The Pi Zero is basically the same spec as a Pi I but at a much lower price point. Could I somehow use this to my advantage….?

Find out here in a little pre-Synergy teaser video: