using an LED HDTV as a secondary screen?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
I currently have a Dell U2311h as my external monitor to use with my 11"MB Air. It works great, but I plan on upgrading my 32" vizio to a new 47" LED LG. i figured if I am going to upgrade my tv, i could use it as an external monitor at times .

What is everyones thoughts? I wouldn't use it all the time. I want to sell the dell because my MB Air sits on my desk 80% of the time because I have that monitor, and if I were to sell it I would be obligated to use its "portability" and only connect it to the LG at times when needed.


macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
Lincoln, UK
I think a TV is a poor substitute for a monitor. It won't feel the same at all.

Sitting further back to make up for the bigger size at the same resolution, doesn't work well.

And TVs have picture processing designed for movement, the text rendering is not as good.


macrumors newbie
Mar 24, 2012
I've been using a Vizio 32" 1080p HDTV (VO32LF) for the past several years as my primary monitor for my PC & hackintosh. I chose this size and resolution specifically for it's pixel density, which while nowhere near a traditional computer monitor, is still perfectly readable and comfortable. I have mine wall mounted right above my desk, with my face approx. 16 inches away and it's great; I can easily have a movie/TV show playing on one side of the screen and a web browser open on the other side.

With that said, the 2011 Macbook air had a hard time handshaking with this particular model of TV (if memory serves me correctly, it properly connected about one out of every ten or twelve times.) The hackintosh handshakes perfectly though, and the macbook air handshook perfectly with a Panasonic Viera, so I'm willing to blame my older Vizio.

All this said (and given my past experiences) I think a $400 small 1080p HDTV is pretty competitive vs. the $1000 cinema display. Of course this is all null and void if you want the ethernet/TB daisychaining.


macrumors 65816
Mar 13, 2012
You mean an LCD TV. The LED is just the backlighting and not the actual panel.

As to making a good monitor... my experience has not been great using TVs as monitors. Tried a 42" plasma, 42" LCD and a 55" plasma. Too big for that resolution and text just isn't very good - mostly a plasma issue, not so much an LCD issue.

I'd recommend something like a 27" with a higher resolution - like the Thunderbolt Display but you can find cheaper.


macrumors newbie
Feb 12, 2012
Samsung 27" LED w/ Tv Tuner

I posted a longer response a few weeks ago in the buyers section on this forum, but to give a quicker one:

I am very happy using a 27" Samsung LCD (LED) w/ 1080p that has all sorts of inputs including a built-in TV Tuner. As I am using it part-time as a docking station, I am very happy with the way it looks and works. I can also use it as a secondary TV in my office so I like the flexibility.

While I was seriously tempted by the 27" Thunderbolt display, $1000 was a hard price to swallow for very limited/defined functionality. Did I mention that the Samsung was only $300??


macrumors 65816
Mar 13, 2012
When looking at the Thunderbolt you have to consider it is a 2500x1440ish resolution display. Similar displays in 27" are around 600-800. Add in the cost of a dock (200 or so) and you have a fairly on par price.

If you don't want the resolution or dock, then yeah, the price is excessive for that size.