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Thread: Mac mini to play DVD's to rear of car?

  1. #1
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    Mac mini to play DVD's to rear of car?

    Great forums! I've enjoyed reading through posts of what people have done. So here's my first post...

    My question is 2 parts.
    1. Had anyone setup a Mac mini to play DVD's to LCD's mounted on the back of headrests for kids/passengers? If so, how?
    2. If I want to display to 2 rear facing LCD's, can I also use a third LCD up front to 'control' the system (i.e. not to show the movie)? Or would simply turning it off be the simplest choice (though not as cool)?

  2. #2
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    You can use VGA or DVI splitters to get the same output on multiple LCDs, but at it's core a Mini can only drive one monitor at a time.

    This means that

    A) you could have 3 LCDs driven off splitters, but they will always show the same thing (e.g. video up front or control in back). You can prevent the rear from having control simply by not installing touch screens, or you could add the touch screens for a more interactive experience (it would just be like having multiple mice attached).

    B) Use one of the products that tells the computer that the attached monitor is bigger than it really is and then splits the signal across 2 or more monitors (e.g. with 2 800x480 LCDs, it would report to the Mac as 1600x480). There are problems with this though. The main one is that as far as the Mini is concerned, it is one screen which means full screen Apps are useless to you (they will span all the screens). This means you will have to come up with solutions for displaying the desired output on the desired screen that others aren't dealing with. Also you could end up with a resolution that the Mini's graphic chip can't handle (just a guess/theory).

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  3. #3
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    I always recommend a third option which is to purchase and install a two screen DVD system for the rear seat passengers. It is cheaper and less complex than using the Mini.

    This solution presumes that you only want to play DVD's in the back seat.

    However, if you want don't want to tote the DVD's around in the car and want a computer to serve them up, try the Apple TV as the rear seat server system. The rear seat passengers can control it with their own remote and it will wirelessly synch to your server -whether your in-car Mac or a home based system.

    It will cost you much more to do it this way, however. An in-car two screen system can be had for around $150. The ATV is $300 and will require two video screens at around $100 apiece, plus a piece of hardware to convert the RGB output to composite video.
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