set top box to attach to a monitor for airport style display?
August 23, 2011 10:30 AM   Subscribe

What sort of set-top box should I connect to a 47" monitor to display an auto-refreshing webpage/webservice vertically?

The monitor is already purchased. The page is mostly built. I think I could connect a Logitech Revue, style the page with -webkit-transform: rotate(-90deg);, and simply mount the display vertically. This seems so simple, and so cheap, that I am scared I am missing something. Is there a better way?

Additionally, with the Logitech Revue (or any other box you might be recommending) how gracefully can the page auto-refresh? I can imagine writing some AJAXy stuff to do it fairly cleanly and sensibly, but a plain old page refresh every 90 seconds, or whatever, sounds delightfully low-tech.
posted by dirtdirt to Technology (11 answers total)
You're kind of ice skating uphill by using anything other than a real computer for this. You can find very cheap, very small Atom-based small form-factor PCs that will be far more flexible than the Revue and better suited in almost every way.
posted by The Lamplighter at 10:51 AM on August 23, 2011

Why would you not use an EEEE PC or similar?
posted by DarlingBri at 10:54 AM on August 23, 2011

Best answer: Just get a cheap Mac mini. You don't need the latest and greatest -- a used one for $200 or so would work, esp. since you're just showing web content. Plug in a DVI connector, rotate the display and set the display prefs (or use CSS tricks), and you're set.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on August 23, 2011

An ASUS eee Box is in the ~$220 range and yeah, running windows or Ubuntu it will render web pages to a monitor much better and will handle the portrait orientation as well.
posted by GuyZero at 10:55 AM on August 23, 2011

A nice thing about Mac minis for this application is that they are low-power and low noise. Most PCs use a fair amount of electricity and their fans make a lot of noise. Buyer beware.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 AM on August 23, 2011

My ASUS EEE PC is dead silent, FWIW. I have an old 10" and it streams movies to my TV and prepsentations to projectors and monitors all the time. Zero issues.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:03 AM on August 23, 2011

Blazecock - most of these small PCs are virtually silent and use very little power. Although the Mac Minis are much better computers overall, for this purpose one would be overkill.
posted by The Lamplighter at 11:24 AM on August 23, 2011

Panic did something similar to this.

There's probably not a more Mac-centric company out there (other than Apple itself) and they went with a PC for this task, due to the cost (free in this case).
posted by The Lamplighter at 11:30 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're not fortunate enough to have a TV with the PC built into the cabinet, there are loads of security enclosures for the Mac mini, which could be useful if you are installing this in a public space. Another thing to think about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:35 AM on August 23, 2011

Response by poster: My reasoning for the set-top box was the size (mount it behind the screen) and the remote control interface (rather than having to connect a keyboard/mouse to it I could use the included remote), but I think we are going with a Mac Mini. Thanks!
posted by dirtdirt at 8:02 AM on August 31, 2011

If you have an iPhone, you can remote control a Mac or PC very easily with Logitech Touch Mouse. There are other more fully-featured apps but that one works great and it's free.
posted by The Lamplighter at 12:08 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

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