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Tests confirm Apple's 27" iMac only supports DisplayPort input

post #1 of 150
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Third party testing has confirmed that Apple's new 27" iMac can only be used as an external display for devices designed to provide DisplayPort video. It will not work with any equipment that only supports VGA, DVI, or HDMI output.

In a follow-up to its teardown of the 27" iMac last week, iFixit said it revisited the new hardware to see if it could display high-definition video from a non-DisplayPort external source.

The results of the testing indicate that Apple's stated specifications for the iMac were correct; while video input worked as expected with a 13" MacBook Pro equipped with Mini DisplayPort, all attempts to use a physical adapter dongle to supply alternative video signals to the new 27" iMac failed.

"The iMac will not act as a second (or primary) display using the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter that Apple sells," the group's website stated. "We tried it on a PS3 Slim, as well as a MacBook and MacBook Pro. It looks like we'll have to wait for a special adapter from Apple or a third party."

A one way street

According to Apple's stated specifications however, the 27" iMac's video input feature will only ever work with DisplayPort devices, and no physical adapter will change that fact.

Apple has frequently used converter dongles on its notebooks in order to support multiple types of video output signaling via the same port. For example, previous notebook models provided Mini-DVI ports proprietary to Apple which could deliver both VGA and DVI outputs using the appropriate connector. These ports provided multiple signaling types over the same physical pins.

Apple's modern machines similarly all supply a Mini DisplayPort connector (originally designed by Apple but now part of the official DisplayPort specification); using the right connector, users can extract and output any video signal type supported by the computer, including VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

VGA is analog video; DVI and HDMI are both digital, electrically compatible, serial video data formats that only differ in their physical connectors; DisplayPort is an entirely new format that uses a packet signaling format.

The iMac's Mini DisplayPort supports output of all three, but can only input and display DisplayPort video. Unlike moving from DVI to HDMI, converting a DVI signal to DisplayPort requires more than a cheap physical dongle; it would necessitate a relatively expensive converter box to process the signal into a completely new format and possibly also a scaler to match the output device to the 27" iMac's enormous resolution of 2560x1440.

This prevents the new iMac from serving as an HDTV-style output source for older DVI-based computers or HDMI-output devices such as the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Apple TV, or standard DVD and Blu-Ray players. Future devices that support the DisplayPort standard will work, of course.

Why no DVI or HDMI input is supported

The 27" iMac's inability to input DVI video is rooted in the fact that the DisplayPort specification is uniquely designed to work as both an internal (video card to built-in display) and external (PC to monitor) video signaling system.

Non-DisplayPort systems typically use LVDS for internal video cabling and DVI for external video connectors. No Apple computers supply any sort of internal DVI input to support driving their built-in LCD via the DVI port using an external computer.

Apple's existing MacBooks, Mac mini, Mac Pro, and the smaller new 21.5" iMac model do not support video input at all. The company's 24" LED Cinema Display is the only other device that currently supports (and only supports) DisplayPort input. The 30" Cinema Display HD only supports DVI input, but not DisplayPort.

post #2 of 150
Apple's Mini DP to DVI adapters are one-way. But wouldn't a DVI to Mini DP adapter (like Atlona's) work? Sure isn't cheap, but I would imagine it should work..
post #3 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by blufire View Post

Apple's Mini DP to DVI adapters are one-way. But wouldn't a DVI to Mini DP adapter (like Atlona's) work? Sure isn't cheap, but I would imagine it should work..

This one is a little cheaper, but not by much:
http://www.gefen.com/kvm/dproduct.jsp?prod_id=8913
post #4 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by blufire View Post

Apple's Mini DP to DVI adapters are one-way. But wouldn't a DVI to Mini DP adapter (like Atlona's) work? Sure isn't cheap, but I would imagine it should work..

The Altona device SHOULD work as it converts the DVI signal to a display port signal. Of course the Apple supplied adaptors don't work. I wouldn't have expected them to, as they convert the display port signal into DVI or VGA. They are not just pinout adaptors, there are electronics inside the adaptor itself.
post #5 of 150
No HDMI- No purchase of an Apple monitor with built in speakers for me.
What device beit Blu-ray, game ,etc uses DP or MDP?
Apple is so wrong on this. How expensive can an HDMI fee be. How much profit does Apple need?

Oh I know , repeat after me- slopism's song - "Apple is a company that needs to................................................ .
post #6 of 150
Since those are both active signal converters they might work, but it depends on how the iMac's display handles an unscaled, lower-resolution signal.

I doubt the iMac has an upscaler, so it might just display 1920x1080 in a box in the center of the display, or not at all.
post #7 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

No HDMI- No purchase of an Apple monitor with built in speakers.
What device beit Blu-ray, game ,etc uses DP or MDP?

man, you re so funny. everything you post is "no X, no purchase". why do you bother?

obviously apple knows what it intends the mDP video input for, just because it doesn't match your requirements/desires doesn't mean it's broken.
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post #8 of 150
All that beautiful screen wasted. No internal blu-ray, no external Blu-ray, PSP, XBOX or Wii.
And then top it off with the VHS quality iSight camera. WTF?
post #9 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

All that beautiful screen wasted. No internal blu-ray, no external Blu-ray, PSP, XBOX or Wii.
And then top it off with the VHS quality iSight camera. WTF?

VHS in an iMac? How retro.
post #10 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

man, you re so funny. everything you post is "no X, no purchase". why do you bother?

obviously apple knows what it intends the mDP video input for, just because it doesn't match your requirements/desires doesn't mean it's broken.


Because they should get it right and just release what people want already. I had to wait 2 years to get an iPhone that was up to spec. I've been waiting 3 + years now for the same with an iMac. What good is 16:9 HD if there nothing to utilize it with. To surf the web- that 's a waste? iTunes DRM crap? Hell no.
Ok what's it intended for today? Make me want it- go on.
post #11 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Ok what's it intended for today? Make me want it- go on.

For me, it's everything I would need from a home server + an external display for my MBP.

EDIT: Also, a friend of mine does a lot of 3D animation on his Mac Pro. He's considering an iMac to act as his display for his Mac Pro and also a headless rendering node.
post #12 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

No HDMI- No purchase of an Apple monitor with built in speakers for me.
What device beit Blu-ray, game ,etc uses DP or MDP?
Apple is so wrong on this. How expensive can an HDMI fee be. How much profit does Apple need?:

Bone up on your reading comprehension there buddy.

The lack of HDMI input on the iMac isn't an issue with licensing fees (it has HDMI output) but rather that there's no support for driving an internal LCD display in the HDMI spec. Apple could have added entirely separate circuitry for using the display as a DVI monitor, but that would have added significantly to the cost without being a major feature. And the point of the new iMacs is to deliver the lowest cost, premium machine possible.

And really, how many people really want to use their iMac as a TV display for their PS3? Among other problems, the resolution isn't right. A typical PS3/BR/DVD only scales to 1080, so it would only present your game or movie in the middle of the screen surrounded by lots of dead pixels.

It does however make a lot of sense to allow the mega-screen iMac HD2 resolution available for use as a secondary display if you have a modern notebook capable of driving it, and particularly as an option for recycling the display after the computer becomes outdated in a few years.
post #13 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

VHS in an iMac? How retro.

Have you used the iSight camera on an iMac? The quality is bad, real bad. And on a 27"HD 16:9 display I can only imagine.
post #14 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Because they should get it right and just release what people want already. I had to wait 2 years to get an iPhone that was up to spec. I've been waiting 3 + years now for the same with an iMac. What good is 16:9 HD if there nothing to utilize it with. To surf the web- that 's a waste? iTunes DRM crap? Hell no.
Ok what's it intended for today? Make me want it- go on.

Take a hint. Apple doesn't want you to use their products. Why don't you move on to products that give you what you want and stop wasting disk space here.
post #15 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

For me, it's everything I would need from a home server + an external display for my MBP.

EDIT: Also, a friend of mine does a lot of 3D animation on his Mac Pro. He's considering an iMac to act as his display for his Mac Pro and also a headless rendering node.

OK, so more like a regular computer monitor. But this is where Apple sends mixed messages. The iMac has always been a consumer not Pro machine. And the Vesa mount is too hang it - you would hang a computer work monitor? Or hang a monitor to watch movies, play games, etc? It seems like they can't make up their mind what they want it to be?
post #16 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by anilsudhakaran View Post

Take a hint. Apple doesn't want you to use their products. Why don't you move on to products that give you what you want and stop wasting disk space here.

quoted for truth.
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post #17 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by anilsudhakaran View Post

Take a hint. Apple doesn't want you to use their products. Why don't you move on to products that give you what you want and stop wasting disk space here.

Why don't you learn how to discuss things properly or learn how to use the ignore list? And why would Apple ever have you speak for them?
post #18 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

quoted for truth.

Repeated like a drone.
post #19 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

OK, so more like a regular computer monitor. But this is where Apple sends mixed messages. The iMac has always been a consumer not Pro machine. And the Vesa mount is too hang it - you would hang a computer work monitor? Or hang a monitor to watch movies, play games, etc? It seems like they can't make up their mind what they want it to be?

Actually, all the monitors at my work are mounted on movable VESA mounts. Makes adjusting them super simple, and gets them up off the desk.
post #20 of 150
Based on the display prices I wonder if Apple could seamlessly connect two iMacs together. Two screens with the computers acting as one. How sweet! At work you could have one running windows and the other one running OS X. CTRL-ALT-DEL and your screens switch OSs or integrate the two with Parallels. That would be a smoking hot home computer too instead of a MacPro. They sell twice as many machines.
post #21 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Repeated like a drone.

coming from Mr "no X, no purchase" in every thread.
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post #22 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

Actually, all the monitors at my work are mounted on movable VESA mounts. Makes adjusting them super simple, and gets them up off the desk.

Adjust for what- glare? Is your work station right below it? Sounds cool- how large are they?
post #23 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by wreckingcue View Post

Based on the display prices I wonder if Apple could seamlessly connect two iMacs together. Two screens with the computers acting as one. How sweet! At work you could have one running windows and the other one running OS X. CTRL-ALT-DEL and your screens switch OSs or integrate the two with Parallels. That would be a smoking hot home computer too instead of a MacPro. They sell twice as many machines.

Two screens and one computer? Or two computers and one screen?

The first is doable with a cable and external monitor, the second with a KVM.

As for integrating with parallels, just use spaces.
post #24 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

coming from Mr "no X, no purchase" in every thread.

YOu possible got me confused with others, but I'm not surprised.
post #25 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Adjust for what- glare? Is your work station right below it? Sounds cool- how large are they?

Adjust for the position that suits your comfort level. They're the 24" LED cinema displays.
post #26 of 150
Adapters are being developed as we speak. Expect to see them on the market soon.

The Altona adapter doesn't work unfortunately because it can't drive enough pixels to run the display. The iMac can't scale the picture so the adapter has to convert the signal and upscale it to match the display. The display only runs at its native resolution.

Hey, at least we have access to the display.
post #27 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

YOu possible got me confused with others, but I'm not surprised.

no, i am not confusing you with others.
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post #28 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDBLACK View Post

Adapters are being developed as we speak. Expect to see them on the market soon.

The Altona adapter doesn't work unfortunately because it can't drive enough pixels to run the display. The iMac can't scale the picture so the adapter has to convert the signal and upscale it to match the display. The display only runs at its native resolution.

Hey, at least we have access to the display.

The iMac won't automatically scale the image?

Oh well, maybe someone will come out with an adapter that has HDMI input and outputs to MDP and optical audio.
post #29 of 150
If I were to use an external bluray drive (like that from Lacie), and use Windows in bootcamp, will I be able to see commercial bluray movies. Of course, the audio will be just stereo, but can it be done?
Have asked this question at various places but did not get a definitive reply. Lacie website says that the computer's video card should be HDCP compliant. What does that mean for these iMacs?
post #30 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Because they should get it right and just release what people want already. I had to wait 2 years to get an iPhone that was up to spec. I've been waiting 3 + years now for the same with an iMac. What good is 16:9 HD if there nothing to utilize it with. To surf the web- that 's a waste? iTunes DRM crap? Hell no.
Ok what's it intended for today? Make me want it- go on.

You didn't have to wait for anything. Clearly, you are not a target market for Apple. Get over yourself.
post #31 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by moracity View Post

You didn't have to wait for anything. Clearly, you are not a target market for Apple. Get over yourself.

Wrong.- I waited and I wanted a 13" Pro and have it. I'm just waiting for the speed bump to give it a quad,
Maybe you buy blind and are the real Apple's target , the gullible buyer who keeps buying over and over. Good for you- but don't knock me.
post #32 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

no, i am not confusing you with others.

Oh ok then, you're just confused. Peace.
post #33 of 150
Ok, teckstud, show us on the doll...where did Apple touch you?
post #34 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Because they should get it right and just release what people want already. I had to wait 2 years to get an iPhone that was up to spec. I've been waiting 3 + years now for the same with an iMac. What good is 16:9 HD if there nothing to utilize it with. To surf the web- that 's a waste? iTunes DRM crap? Hell no.
Ok what's it intended for today? Make me want it- go on.

Download 1080p ripped blu-ray movies from torrent sites and play them using Plex.
post #35 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by LE Studios View Post

Download 1080p ripped blu-ray movies from torrent sites and play them using Plex.

Bingo! I can get into that- reminds me of my old Napster days before iTunes. Boy did I build up a collection I still use. But don't you have the same problems where some files may be corrupt or only half there, etc.
post #36 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post

Ok, teckstud, show us on the doll...where did Apple touch you?

Between a rock and a hard place?
post #37 of 150
Considering Apple has never EVER given us the ability to use an iMac screen as a display, I consider this feature to be a bonus, however limited it may be.

Sure, it would be nice to use is as a display for any HD source, but Apple doesn't sell products like that. They sell products with specific applications preferably to be used only with other Apple devices.

That's why the AppleTv isn't a DVR and the iMac is not a monitor.
post #38 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDBLACK View Post

Adapters are being developed as we speak. Expect to see them on the market soon.

The Altona adapter doesn't work unfortunately because it can't drive enough pixels to run the display. The iMac can't scale the picture so the adapter has to convert the signal and upscale it to match the display. The display only runs at its native resolution.

Hey, at least we have access to the display.

That's correct, the Atlona converter has been confirmed to not work. Furthermore, there is at least one report that a native DisplayPort output from a PC didn't work and yet another that suggests (somewhat vaguely) that the DVI (???) output from an ATI 5870 video card did work with a simple adapter.

I believe that I read somewhere that the Belkin unit would ship in January.
post #39 of 150
@teckstud

I seem to remember...

Do you remember reading awhile back about the display port being an anti-pirate device, in hardware, as an attempt by the content providers and consumer TV/DVD/DVR makers? Maybe this has something to do with that.
post #40 of 150
How dare AAPL think I'd plop down my hard earned $ on a new iMac until the i7 and Blu Ray are standard and all these G1 issues is ironed out.
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