mac mini with 55" 1080p TV = sofa workstation?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MacSince'85, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. MacSince'85 macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2012
    I am currently using the last 20" G5 iMac and now must upgrade for compatibility with iOS devices. I figure that with the transition to iPads going on in my household our direct interaction with the computer itself will become less and less over the next few years as it mainly becomes the repository for our media (photos, video, music, movies) and interface with our peripherals (printer, scanner, external HDs). With this in mind I am considering purchasing a new family room HDTV (I can fit up to 55") to become the monitor for a new mac mini. How would that work as an occasional workstation from a seat on the sofa 10 feet away? For reference I currently have a 42" plasma SDTV which is virtually illegible when I plug in my G3 iBook. FWIW I also own an Apple TV.
  2. ess5 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2011
    Well...a lot of it depends on the font size and clarity capabilities of whatever program you're "working" in.

    I've got a 2011 mini hooked up to a 60" acts as the brain for the house, performing pretty much all of the tasks you've listed. I'm actually on the couch with my feet up right now, typing this from 10ft away.

    XBMC is amazing on this thing, and Chrome is very readable once you adjust the font size. My desktop icons are nice and clear as well, and I've had some fun messing around with Steam Big Picture Mode.

    That said, I don't "work" on it (that's what the MBAir is for)...not exactly sure how work-related programs will look.
  3. jdryyz macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2007
    I'm also using my primary mini connected to a 55" LCD HDTV (Samsung LN-55A950) and have been for over three years. The decision to go with an LCD over a Plasma was partially made because I intended to connect the mini to it. It has worked beautifully as both my home entertainment display and as a monitor!

    However, with the HD 4000 graphics adapter in my new mini, I find the display runs a bit too "hot". The whites are overblown. My 2009 mini with Nvidia graphics did just fine out of the box. Since I prefer the TV's settings because they are consistent with what I use for my other components, I am looking at the mini itself to make corrections. The display's color calibration has helped somewhat but it is a bit awkward to use. I found another program here:

    It has helped return the settings to something that resembles what I got with the 2009 mini, but it too has some drawbacks. I would prefer to "apply" its settings to the mini's Display settings because those are more integrated into the OS.

    In conclusion, I find that HDTVs make good computer monitors also, but that may depend on brand and specifications. The A950 was on the high-end at the time it was introduced and still offers advantages over current models. I would avoid using a Plasma for any computer use, and be aware that the computer's graphics adapter will have characteristics you may have to compensate for.
  4. einmusiker macrumors 68030


    Apr 26, 2010
    Location: Location:
    it will work fine just make sure to experiment with the resolution to find what works best for your eyes. I use my macbook pro with my 50" plasma for watching hulu, netflix etc
  5. lamerica80, Oct 30, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012

    lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Ive got my mini hooked up to a 1080P 47 inch LED.

    Its fine for the occational facebooking / e-mailing and editing a photo here and there but if you want to do some serious work that would take some time it gets uncomfortable after a while.

    I usually sit on the floor and lean on the sofa, and have the keyboard/mouse on the sofa table. That way i can actually spend some time in front of the computer editing a movie or so, but it doesnt really compare to a proper work station with a nice office-style chair.

    Its such high resolution too so i find myself cmd-scolling a lot to see what im doing. I could move closer but then its too close to watch movies and im not re-doing the living room only to do some computer stuff.

    Remeber to calibrate your set properly too, i edited and sent a photo in to become a poster and it came out way too dark but looked fine on the TV.
  6. MacSince'85 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2012
    I get your point as I spent some time calibrating my plasma screen for movies when I first got it, however, as soon as we get our 4th gen iPad I am seeing us doing most if not all of our photo/video editing on the iPad and not on the computer. I currently have different settings on my Plasma for TV, DVD, VHS so I am I correct to expect the newer TVs have customizable presets as well? Also, are my DVDs going to look worse when upscaled onto a LCD vs. my Standard Def Plasma?
  7. hleewell macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    I have a Mac Mini 2010 hooked up to a Samsung 46" LCD HDTV. There is something about that massive 46" screen: Gone are the days of cramped up screen real estate, 1080p movies look majestic, the soundtrack sounds huge, viewing your DSLR photos reveal details you would never see on a 15" screen, YouTube HD unboxing videos look stupid-big! A grand, fantastic experience. But after a while, it is hard on your back muscles and I find myself going back to my laptop and sitting in my ergonomic chair. Also, some Apps like App Store & iTunes will not scale up like Safari. b
  8. MacSince'85 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2012
    I am starting to think that I may not be quite ready to give up a desktop workstation just yet (or willing to put off my new mac purchase until I can find the time to choose a nice HDTV to be the monitor). If I end up going with say a 22" monitor on the mini then isn't it still possible to mirror the desktop to my TV using my AppleTV for the occasional use from the sofa?
  9. Cell-666 macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2011
    I have too gone down this route. I've even gain a bedroom back as it was used as the "bunker" when I had my desktop.

    Mac mini as the backup/server device, iTunes server. Collecting photo streams from three iPads, three iPhones, and one iPod touch. Serving to three ATV with all the content.

    As far as a workstation I pull a very large bean bag nearer the tv and sit my keyboard and track pad on my lap. You may want to use a nice little thing called a MagicWand. Really handy simple addition. If I need the mouse as the track pad can be slow I just sit a small table at my side with my mouse on, and a cup of tea :)

    Also if you have an iPad try out splashtop Remote Desktop 2 Remote access from anywhere. Saves disrupting your main TV if you need to get on the mini to change something. Especially if the wife is watching her favourite programme :)
  10. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Yep, i have a preset for movies and a preset for computer stuff.

    Your DVD:s will look better than on your old low def Plasma. :)

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