Apple and dual monitors

Michael Torrie torriem at
Sun Feb 12 17:32:54 MST 2012

On 02/12/2012 03:04 PM, Steven Raymond wrote:
> I have a 15" Macbook Pro plus a $300 costco 32" Vizio 1080P TV.  I
> use a Moshi display port to HDMI output, and have two screens (if you
> don't mind one of them being 15", but it is really clear).  The TV
> runs at 1080P, the laptop I think 1440x900.

Hmm, at that low resolution, I think the largest screen I can deal with
is 24" (which I'm staring at now).  Your laptop screen is probably just
about twice the DPI of your 32" TV.  I've had a 32" HDTV on my desk
before (setting up digital signage) and it would give me a nice headache
when staring at it like a monitor.  Was bright and I could see each
pixel!  As well anti-aliasing just made the text look muddy when looked
at closer than 3 feet away.  There's no way I would code on such a
screen.  At 24", the dpi is just barely acceptable, but I really can't
put any more code on the screen usably than I can with a much smaller

Apparently DVI is somewhat limited to around HDTV resolution, but in the
old VGA days, 1600*1200 or higher were actually very common (1600*1200
on a 20" Trinitron at 80 Hz! weighing a ton!).  Maybe as we move to
DisplayPort the screen resolutions will come back up to acceptable
levels.  In the meantime, HDTV is a poor substitute for a proper monitor
over 22".

> There is no flicking or other problems dragging windows between the
> two.  It's beautiful.  And BIG.  Actually at 1.5 arms lengths
> distance, its almost too big.  Oh, and HDMI can optionally pump the
> audio out the TV, which typically sounds better than the laptop
> speakers.

Most programmers that I know of don't want a big screen so they can code
from across the room.  Dragging a window may be very smooth but I find
any change in DPI jarring as I drag windows from monitor to monitor.
What would be nice and readable on the laptop screen would be huge on
the 32" TV.  How do you deal with font size differences?  I would have
to resort to old 8-pixel wide bitmap fonts on the 32" TV!

> I think you could easily pick up a 24-36" TV for the $200-$400 range,
> which would save a bunch vs. a real Apple display.

Depends on what you are saving.  A real Apple display would be 2560x1440
or higher, which is almost double the dpi of an
equivalent-sized-so-called-HDTV.  This translates to seeing more code at
a time.  There is a reason why developers not only want a bigger screen
but also more resolution.

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