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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Connecting a Mac mini to an HDTV and monitor sumltaneously


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afa

 
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Member Since: Aug 10, 2011
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Mac Specs: iMac (2008) 20" / Core 2 Duo / 2.66GHz / 320GB HDD / 6GB DDR2 RAM / Mountain Lion

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I'm considering getting a Mac mini for my new place, and wanted to clarify something.

My idea is to have the Mac mini connected to the TV in the room via HDMI (for watching videos, movies, etc.) and at the same time have a LED monitor connected via the Thunderbolt/displayport. My questions regarding this are:

1) If I do the above, will both the displays have the same screen showing? I remember years ago I had hooked up my Windows desktop to a TV (via S-video cable) and my graphics card at the time had an option where any time I played a video, it would full screen it on the second (TV) display. In other words, I could carry on working/browsing/whatever on the PC while the video played full-screen on the TV, which was awesome. Is there a way to do this on the Mac?

2) Does the Thunderbolt/displayport transmit audio as well? If I get a monitor with built-in speakers, will it play sound or will I need to connect separate speakers for that?

3) I have read in some places that using a "mirror diplay" function will cause the secondary display (i.e. the TV) to use the same resolution and aspect ratio of the primary, which can result in empty space at the sides or top/bottom of the TV, depending on the resolution of the monitor. Has anyone encountered this, and if so, how do you work around it?

Thanks in advance.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afa View Post
My idea is to have the Mac mini connected to the TV in the room via HDMI (for watching videos, movies, etc.) and at the same time have a LED monitor connected via the Thunderbolt/displayport. My questions regarding this are:

1) If I do the above, will both the displays have the same screen showing?
Depends on how you choose to set it up. You can set them up as dual monitors, with the desktop spanning across both; or you can elect to "mirror" them - as you refer to below - to have them show the same image simultaneously (which can be an issue if you have a TV & monitor of differing aspect ratio, as the image on at least one screen will end-up stretched to fit; even if your monitor is 16:9, if it's not 1920x1080 then you won't get the most resolution out of a 1080p TV).

Quote:
Originally Posted by afa View Post
2) Does the Thunderbolt/displayport transmit audio as well? If I get a monitor with built-in speakers, will it play sound or will I need to connect separate speakers for that?
DisplayPort does carry sound, so an audio-equipped monitor will work via the Thunderbolt connection. Although, the mini does have a 3.5mm stereo audio out jack, so you could use external speakers too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by afa View Post
3) I have read in some places that using a "mirror diplay" function will cause the secondary display (i.e. the TV) to use the same resolution and aspect ratio of the primary, which can result in empty space at the sides or top/bottom of the TV, depending on the resolution of the monitor.
As said above, it depends how you configure your system; you don't have to mirror your displays & it's generally advisable not to (that's a mode generally only used for if you're doing a presentation & have your computer hooked-up to a big screen or projector, where you want to see the same thing on your screen as everyone else is seeing).

For my purposes as an engineering undergraduate; Windows is respectable (& generally necessary), Linux is admirable (& often useful), OS X is enjoyable (& requires no further justification, although plenty could be given)!
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