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DVI to HDMI questions

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

I'm thinking of creating a system using a new Mac Mini and an HDTV, neither of which I have bought yet.

The HDTV is likely to have 1080p and will be LCD. My question is, what will be the best way to connect the two in order to get the best quality from the system?

There are a plethora of DVI-to-HDMI cables out there, but I assume these only carry video info, not audio. Are there any other HDMI cables out there that include a DVI and stereo minijack at the other end?

I have also heard problems with overscan/underscan and unsupported resolutions. Will I be able to set this all up so as to make full use of my TV's resolution, giving me pixel-for-pixel images rather than blur and distortion due to the resizing of the picture? I have read elsewhere on this site that SwitchResX may allow me to produce a custom resolution that matches my HDTV. Has anyone had any experience with this and can you tell me if it works well?

Thanks in advance for your help. Obviously I don't want to go out spending large amounts on this system without knowing which hardware will work best for me.

cheers!
post #2 of 37
Not a real difinitive answer to your ? , but...

I can hook my G4 PBook up to my 1080p TV via the miniDVI-VGA adaptor (TV has a VGA-input port). The Mac will see the TV as a monitor, but it won't offer the full 1080p resolution... I end up with 15?? x 1080 as the max resolution, leaving black bars on either side of the picture.

For some reason, the pBook won't allow me to send the full 1920x1080 resolution to the Sony TV... though the PBook specs say it should be able to output that resolution.

So, i guess my point is, that even though both the computer and the TV are 1080p specs, they MAY not actually be compatable at that resolution.
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post #3 of 37
I just got a new mini and a 50" Plasma 1080 TV too. Got the cables and Im gonna tweak it tonight. I will grab SwitchRes etc and play around...
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post #4 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

For some reason, the pBook won't allow me to send the full 1920x1080 resolution to the Sony TV... though the PBook specs say it should be able to output that resolution.

Because 1920x1080 is a 16:9. A normal computer monitor would display 16:10, or 1920x1200. The PowerBook display (assuming you have the 15.2" model) displays at 1280x854, which comes out to be 16:10.675, a little closer to square than usual. Rounding your resolution off to 1500x1080, that's also closer to square than 1920x1080. Chances are that the laptop is displaying it's normal aspect ratio (16:10.675) onto the screen, and making it as big as possible.

The moral of the story is: 15" PowerBooks have f*cked-up display settings.
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post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

Because 1920x1080 is a 16:9. A normal computer monitor would display 16:10, or 1920x1200. The PowerBook display (assuming you have the 15.2" model) displays at 1280x854, which comes out to be 16:10.675, a little closer to square than usual. Rounding your resolution off to 1500x1080, that's also closer to square than 1920x1080. Chances are that the laptop is displaying it's normal aspect ratio (16:10.675) onto the screen, and making it as big as possible.

The moral of the story is: 15" PowerBooks have f*cked-up display settings.

It's not mirroring though, it's acting as a completely separate 2nd display. The resolution of the notebook display should have no bearing on the resolution displayed on the external monitor. (except in "mirror" mode.)
Either the pBook just doesn't recognize the Sony display properly, and see that it's capable of 1080p, or else the video card output of the pBook just doesn't perform up to the published specs for it. I'd guess it's a compatibility issue with the Sony TV.
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post #6 of 37
i will be hooking up a mac mini or hopefully its replacement/upgrade, in january after MacWorld, to a HDTV with a VGA but i would like to use an HDMI connection. maybe the mini upgrade will have an HDMI output (assuming there is an upgrade!!)
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post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

The moral of the story is: 15" PowerBooks have f*cked-up display settings.

Should you not be able to mess around with the resolution using SwitchResX? Or does it always have to be either 16:10 or 4:3?
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

It's not mirroring though, it's acting as a completely separate 2nd display. The resolution of the notebook display should have no bearing on the resolution displayed on the external monitor. (except in "mirror" mode.)

Another question - I know it's possible to have QuickTime Player running on a second monitor, but is that possible from VLC too? Anybody tried?
post #9 of 37
I just confirmed that the same resolution conflict exists when using a brand new macbook as well... so apparently the computer not displaying full 1080 on the SONY TV has something to do with the way the TV advertises itself to the computer, it doesn't seem to be a graphics card problem with the Macs.
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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

Should you not be able to mess around with the resolution using SwitchResX? Or does it always have to be either 16:10 or 4:3?

That's just it. The LCD panel's native resolution is 1280x854. No software can change it. A normal 16:10 resolution would be 1280x800, or 1680x1050, whereas the 4:3 equivalents are 1280x960 or 1600x1200. 1280x854 is just an odd, unique resolution for that machine.
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post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

That's just it. The LCD panel's native resolution is 1280x854. No software can change it.

But why not? Connected as a second monitor, you can connect any size you want (so long as the video card can support the number of pixels).
post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

I just confirmed that the same resolution conflict exists when using a brand new macbook as well... so apparently the computer not displaying full 1080 on the SONY TV has something to do with the way the TV advertises itself to the computer, it doesn't seem to be a graphics card problem with the Macs.

But have you tried using SwitchResX? Isn't this exactly the type of problem it's designed to solve?
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

But why not? Connected as a second monitor, you can connect any size you want (so long as the video card can support the number of pixels).

No display can go above it's native resolution, and the native resolution is a physical attribute of the panel, nothing software can change. The 15.2" PowerBook display has 1280 pixels across by 854 pixels down. The operating system can emulate a smaller resolution by using two or more physical pixels as a single logical pixel, but no display can go higher than it's native. Sure, I could tweak my PowerBook using SwitchResX to use 1280x800, but that would either stretch the image out, or leave a 1280x27 pixel black bar on both the top and bottom of the image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

Another question - I know it's possible to have QuickTime Player running on a second monitor, but is that possible from VLC too? Anybody tried?

Just drag the floating controller window to the second monitor, and reactivate full-screen mode.
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post #14 of 37
the TV that i would be hooking a Mini(upgrade) to has a 1366 x 768 resolution and the mini will go up to 1920 by 1080 with VGA output. will this setup work??
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post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmoney_2010 View Post

the TV that i would be hooking a Mini(upgrade) to has a 1366 x 768 resolution and the mini will go up to 1920 by 1080 with VGA output. will this setup work??

You'd think so, but my pBook is supposed to support 1920x1080 as well, but won't display it on my Sony TV.

As for SwitchResX, I haven't tried it... I was merely pointing out that it's frustrating that the computer won't do what it was advertised to do (though the problem could be with the TV rather than the computer.) ... now... a new MacMini with HDMI out would fix all this !
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post #16 of 37
Quote:
... now... a new MacMini with HDMI out would fix all this !

yes!! i hope they do put a HDMI output!!
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post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

No display can go above it's native resolution, and the native resolution is a physical attribute of the panel, nothing software can change.

That's not what I meant. If you connect your big LCD or Plasma TV to the DVI port, it can appear as a second monitor. Therefore using SwitchResX you should be able to set the resolution for your second monitor to the native resolution of your TV. If not, why not?

Quote:
Just drag the floating controller window to the second monitor, and reactivate full-screen mode.

Hey, excellent! Thanks! Is there nothing that video player cannot do!
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

Is there nothing that video player cannot do!

Fast forward and rewind at an acceptable speed.
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post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 
what are you saying? It's too fast or it's too slow? I thought it went up to something stupid like 64x...
post #20 of 37
Far too fast. I can't rewind a few seconds back to revisit a reaction or something without skipping anywhere from 3-7 minutes back. I eventually get to the point where I'm like "This is close enough", and have to watch the past minute all over again just to see those two seconds.

QuickTime definitely has that over VLC... QT has superb FF/rewind controls.
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post #21 of 37
oh and where can you buy DVI to HDMI adapters or cables
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post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karelia View Post

Far too fast. I can't rewind a few seconds back to revisit a reaction or something without skipping anywhere from 3-7 minutes back.

You could suggest an update - after all it's open source is it not? I'm sure someone out there would be interested in working on a revision for better ffwd/rewind tools.

I was clinging on to QuickTime Player for a long time, and still use it from time to time. As far as interface and ease of use is concerned, it's definitely the better one. I especially like the introduction of cropping and stretching video. However a couple of things have made me switch players...

Firstly, QuickTime Player doesn't allow me to alter aspect ratio, VLC does. Secondly, opening AVI/MKV files with codecs such as XviD take a long time. I mean, a VERY long time. Sometimes I'm waiting so long that in the meantime I open the same file in VLC and it'll open immediately. Sometimes as much as a few minutes later, the file will open in QuickTime Player.

But I couldn't live without QuickTime... After all, it integrates in with all other applications, so if I install a codec into QuickTime, I get it pretty much everywhere which is great.
post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmoney_2010 View Post

oh and where can you buy DVI to HDMI adapters or cables

Anywhere you'd expect really, including the Apple Store.
post #24 of 37
the online apple store???
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post #25 of 37
nevermind i just found them. for somereason i dont remember seeingthem on there before..
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post #26 of 37
do HDMI cables carry audio also?
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post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmoney_2010 View Post

do HDMI cables carry audio also?

yes ... just PART of the beauty of the system.
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post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmoney_2010 View Post

do HDMI cables carry audio also?

HDMI cables do, but DVI cables don't. And I *think* the audio information in the HDMI cable is carried in the digital signal, so you can't buy DVI+phono-to-HDMI cables. And most TVs probably won't allow you to input the video through HDMI and the audio through different inputs.

One way round it could be to buy an AV Receiver with built-in HDMI, such as the lovely Cambridge Audio Azur series. Maybe I'll get one for NEXT Christmas...
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

... And most TVs probably won't allow you to input the video through HDMI and the audio through different inputs. ...

My Sony TV does have that ability.
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post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

My Sony TV does have that ability.

So did my coworker's.
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post #31 of 37
mine does but it only has one audio input for two hdmi..
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post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

My Sony TV does have that ability.

Oooh interesting... Which model number? So you could connect a DVI-to-HDMI device (like a Mini) and plug the audio through the other audio inputs?
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

Oooh interesting... Which model number? So you could connect a DVI-to-HDMI device (like a Mini) and plug the audio through the other audio inputs?

Sony Bravia 46"LCD : KDL-46V2500
It has 2 HDMI ports, ONE of which is paired with an analog audio input.
With my pBook though, I use the PC input (mini DVI - VGA adaptor) and an analog audio input.
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post #34 of 37
Thread Starter 
Ok interesting... So you're using an analogue signal on the video too then? How does the VGA look? How are you doing with output resolution? Does it match the TV's resolution or is it scaled?
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowie74 View Post

Ok interesting... So you're using an analogue signal on the video too then? How does the VGA look? How are you doing with output resolution? Does it match the TV's resolution or is it scaled?

Plugged into an HDMI port is a PS3 .... BBC's "Planet Earth" on BluRay at 1080p looks FANTASTIC!!!

The computer plugs in (occasionally) to a VGA port, and needs a separate cable for the associated audio input. ... I can't get the pBook to display full 1920x1080 that the TV is capable of, but it looks good at the 15xx by 980 ? that it DOES display.

Since we got the PS3 though, we don't plug the mac into it, as the game machine also has an internet browser .... good for watching UTube and such.... If we want to do "real" internet browsing, the iMac is MUCH more comfortable than a 46" screen.
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post #36 of 37
I've got a similar setup.

A mac mini hooked up to my LCD via HDMI using an XtremeMac DVI-to-HDMI cable. The audio I have routed through my receiver using the optical out on the mini. It works great.

BTW, get an HDHomerun for HD tv on your mini. Highly recommended.
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile View Post

A mac mini hooked up to my LCD via HDMI using an XtremeMac DVI-to-HDMI cable. The audio I have routed through my receiver using the optical out on the mini. It works great.

Very nice! Do you know what your output resolution is on the HDTV? Can you get 1920 x 1080?

Quote:
BTW, get an HDHomerun for HD tv on your mini. Highly recommended.

I just had a look - seems interesting. So how does it work? If it needs Eye TV, what exactly does it give that Eye TV doesn't deliver?
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