Connecting Xbox/PS3 and a Computer to the Same Monitor

By brother emailed me asking what to do to connect an xbox and his mac mini to the same screen.  I’ve encountered similar situations connecting consoles, multiple computers, or other devices to screens.  There are a two basic strategies.

TV Centric

If you’re intending to put everything in a living room with a couch, your setup could be:

  • Try to connect everything you’ve got via HDMI to either a TV or your receiver
  • Use a TV appropriate for your view distance
  • Use a wireless keyboard and mouse for the TV

The keyboard and mouse situation can be the trickiest part of the TV setup.  Not many people use these setups.  If you have a good coffee table, it can work, otherwise you want to look for lapboard-style KB&M setups.  Logitech also makes a mouse specifically intended for use on couch surfaces.  If you don’t intend to be playing serious amounts of PC games, these sorts of solutions can work.

Monitor Centric

If you can be close to your screen, a monitor can be a cheap and high quality solution.  Here’s are the general considerations:

  • Find a monitor with several ports
  • Figure out what the best plug matches will be (HDMI for console, DVI for pc, etc)
  • Decide on your speaker solution

I bought a 24 inch ASUS monitor, though it seems there’s a slightly smaller one at deep discount.  My general strategy for picking a screen would be to pick a size, then look for the cheapest monitor that also has a lot of reviews on NewEgg.  Be warned that cheap monitors will have awful speakers, so you’ll have to consider your speaker situation.  You can find speakers with multiple inputs, which can work, though you may need an adapter to split console audio out from the HDMI cable.