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wallaby
Dec 23, 2007, 01:15 AM
I'm trying to connect my Macbook Pro to my parents' new HDTV, with some issues. The specs:
MBP, Tiger -> DVI-to-VGA adapter -> VGA cable -> VGA port on HDTV.
The HD set is a Toshiba 37" Regza 720p TV. When connected, I set it to the PC input (vga).

On the OS X side (running Tiger), it auto-recognizes it and displays on the HDTV screen. However, while my MBP is widescreen and so is the TV, the image it produces on the HDTV is 4:3. Is there a way to make it the native widescreen it should be? The displays are set to be mirrored; would unchecking this solve the problem?

On the Windows side, nothing works at all. I run XP via Bootcamp, and when I use the factory-standard nVidia drivers to output to the external, the TV sports a "unrecognized signal" message. I've tried setting the screen resolution on the MBP to 1024x768 first, but to no avail. Would a smaller resolution like 800x600 help? Do I need new drivers?

The OS X side isn't that big of a deal, just an annoyance; I really want to get the XP side working so I can see all my Half-Life 2 games on the big screen. :)
Any help with this would be appreciated.



GreatDrok
Dec 23, 2007, 01:57 AM
Mirrored mode is fine. I use my MBP in exactly this way on my HDTV. You do need to select the appropriate resolution in displays preferences. My set is 1360x768 native. The MBP's own LCD is slightly higher than this so in mirrored mode the best choice is the settings for the monitor itself. Otherwise, you can also set it into spanning mode. The trick is to select the TV's native resolution. One thing though, it is possible that this HDTV isn't really HD (you didn't say what the specs are) but a relative of mine has a plasma which only does 1024x768 maximum.

I've just done a test on my set and I can set it to 1024x768 and manually choose widescreen or 4:3 using the TV's remote control just like I would for a normal TV signal. Perhaps you could try that.

As for the Windows side, it is possible that the VGA adapter doesn't work. I have a DVI monitor and Windows spans happily onto that but I haven't tried the VGA connection but I remember there was an issue with this in the past. I'll give it a go and update this.

[update]

OK, under Windows it doesn't work. Windows doesn't seem to have the necessary drivers to handle the analogue output on DVI. It works fine when you connect a DVI monitor but analogue VGA doesn't. Windows does seem to know what the resolution of the panel is but something is amiss in driver land as I suspected.

Kilamite
Dec 23, 2007, 11:28 AM
The native resolution of your TV will be 1360x768 (or 1366x768). This is a 16:9 resolution. Next step down (going by what works with my TV) is 1024x768. This is a 4:3 resolution. I've set my TV to display any 4:3 ratio as 16:9.

I wouldn't recommend using mirroring, since both displays have to have the same resolution, the MBP will look awful not at its native resolution. It might also mean you'll have to use a lower resolution than the native for the TV which will also impact the picture quality.

I set my TV in OSX to 1360x768 (since this is 16:9) and my MBP to 1440x900. I drag the little Dock in Display Prefs onto the box that represents the TV. I can watch any film, TV show etc and it fills the screen perfectly.

However, say I'm watching a 4:3 TV Show (i.e. South Park) on a 16:9 resolution, the video will remain 4:3 and unstretched. You might prefer this, I don't. In order for my 4:3 TV Shows to appear as 16:9, I need to choose a 4:3 resolution (1024x768) and tell my TV to stretch that to 16:9. Reason I have to change resolutions instead of changing ratios is that if you have a 16:9 resolution, you can't stretch it anymore than 16:9, thus being useless for stretching 4:3 videos.

For Windows XP, you have to select extend my desktop to get the TV to work. Select 1360x768 as the resolution (native) and make it the primary device. There isn't any extra software, cables etc required to make the same setup work in Windows, it just isn't as easy.

GreatDrok
Dec 23, 2007, 05:56 PM
However, say I'm watching a 4:3 TV Show (i.e. South Park) on a 16:9 resolution, the video will remain 4:3 and unstretched. You might prefer this, I don't. In order for my 4:3 TV Shows to appear as 16:9, I need to choose a 4:3 resolution (1024x768) and tell my TV to stretch that to 16:9. Reason I have to change resolutions instead of changing ratios is that if you have a 16:9 resolution, you can't stretch it anymore than 16:9, thus being useless for stretching 4:3 videos.

You know, I just don't get this attitude. I have had wide screen TVs since 1992 when I got one of the very first Philips sets on the market. Back then there was basically no 16:9 material to be had. I had letterboxed LaserDiscs which I could zoom to fill the screen unless they were 2.35:1 in which case there would still be black. The thing is that you calibrate your set so black is black and you set the TV so it is the right shape for the material. If it is 4:3 you have bars down the side of the screen but since they are black it doesn't matter. If you stretch it, even with fancy modes that stretch the edges more than the centre, the image is still distorted and that annoys me much more than simply having black bars. More to the point, it is IMPOSSIBLE to always fill the screen. If the material is cinemascope you will have to have black bars top and bottom. If it is broadcast in 16:9 but is 4:3 material such as when South Park is broadcast here you cannot make the image fill the screen. You're fighting a losing battle just to use the whole screen.

OK, so I'm a purist and I just want to see the image as it was shot and I really don't see any reason to fight the black bars. I guess widescreen isn't such a novelty to me after 15 years.

Kilamite
Dec 23, 2007, 06:57 PM
I prefer having the image fill the screen - what is the point in having say a 46" TV when you are only using 2/3's of it?

I want a large image - not necessary a distorted one. However, I don't notice any distortion in the image at all when it is stretched.

AJ Muni
Dec 23, 2007, 07:29 PM
why not use hdmi? i'm sure it has to have it. my 32'' samsung has 2, and i bought a $20 cable and its been working great for over a year.

Kilamite
Dec 23, 2007, 07:34 PM
why not use hdmi? i'm sure it has to have it. my 32'' samsung has 2, and i bought a $20 cable and its been working great for over a year.

I've heard of people having issues with HDMI - less compatible or something.

GreatDrok
Dec 23, 2007, 10:38 PM
I prefer having the image fill the screen - what is the point in having say a 46" TV when you are only using 2/3's of it?

I want a large image - not necessary a distorted one. However, I don't notice any distortion in the image at all when it is stretched.

What you probably have is one of those super zoom modes which chops off some of the top and distorts the edges to try and use the screen. In reality you are losing image. Sure, you may be filling your 46" screen but the image isn't being shown correctly whether you notice it or not. My brother-in-law does the same on his set and it drives me around the twist. Of course, some widescreen channels show 4:3 material within the 16:9 frame at which point there is nothing you can do about it because there will be black bars. This annoys him but is just another reason why it is wrong headed to try and fill the screen. What do you do when you have 2.35:1 material? No way to fill the screen with that is there?

FYI, my screen is 120". Yes, 10 feet across. If I am showing 4:3 material I have black bars down the side. With cinemascope there is some black top and bottom and for 16:9 it fills the screen. With the 4:3 material it uses the whole screen height so I am getting a large image. With cinemascope it uses the whole width but isn't as tall so I am also getting a large image and for 16:9 I get a wide and tall image but the important thing is it isn't much different in size regardless of the material being shown. In the bad old days of large screen 4:3 TVs people used to complain that their screen wasn't filled and that was why it was possible to buy pan and scan LDs and DVDs for so long and why TV broadcasts still P&S'd movies that they showed. Awful. Of course, now that 16:9 is the norm many films shot in 2.35:1 are pan and scanned down to 16:9 so you are losing a significant portion of picture just so people can fill their screens.

It was sad in the days of 4:3 and it is sad today. Look past the black and watch the film as it was shot.

Kilamite
Dec 24, 2007, 06:07 AM
Why does it bother you so much how I watch TV?

And no, it isn't a zoom feature that chops off parts of the image (if you read my posts..) I use a 4:3 resolution and the TV stretches that to fill the screen.

Maybe I'll make a video of it at some point, because for likes of American Dad, Family Guy, South Park, Futurama, the quality is fantastic and people look fine even though it is stretched slightly.

I agree that old 4:3 films look daft stretched to 16:9, but certain things don't and they look better filling the screen.

GreatDrok
Dec 24, 2007, 12:15 PM
Why does it bother you so much how I watch TV?

Because it was people who hated black bars that held up the adoption of 16:9 TVs for so long. It was people who hated black bars who caused so many films that were shot in widescreen to be mangled beyond recognition by pan and scanning just so their screens would be full. It is people who hated black bars who cause cinemascope films shown in widescreen even today to still be cropped such that you still lose a quarter of the picture just so they have a full screen. It is nothing to do with you in particular, just that the attitude is so common it causes real harm to material shown on TV. Sure, if everything was shot in 16:9 and only 16:9 then there would be nothing to complain about but that isn't the case.


And no, it isn't a zoom feature that chops off parts of the image (if you read my posts..) I use a 4:3 resolution and the TV stretches that to fill the screen.

That is even worse because you will actually be getting more distortion of the image than the superzoom feature some TVs have.


Maybe I'll make a video of it at some point, because for likes of American Dad, Family Guy, South Park, Futurama, the quality is fantastic and people look fine even though it is stretched slightly.

I'm perfectly aware of how these shows look when stretched. I have several widescreen monitors and TVs, not to mention the projection system. Every single one of them does not benefit from being stretched. The quality is not fantastic if it is stretched. The image is distorted by 30% which isn't even close to slight.


I agree that old 4:3 films look daft stretched to 16:9, but certain things don't and they look better filling the screen.
Look better to you. Sure, its your screen and if you can live with a 30% stretch then whatever. Just remember that this exact attitude is what prevented you from having your TV for such a long time and kept 4:3 sets dominant on the market until quite recently. Be part of the future.

Kilamite
Dec 24, 2007, 04:56 PM
I'm perfectly aware of how these shows look when stretched. I have several widescreen monitors and TVs, not to mention the projection system. Every single one of them does not benefit from being stretched. The quality is not fantastic if it is stretched. The image is distorted by 30% which isn't even close to slight.

You like to brag about your systems don't you? So you have, what, a few more TV's than I do so that makes you correct?

Look better to you. Sure, its your screen and if you can live with a 30% stretch then whatever. Just remember that this exact attitude is what prevented you from having your TV for such a long time and kept 4:3 sets dominant on the market until quite recently. Be part of the future.

Ok, so I'm holding back the evolution of TV's...I'm sorry. Really.

Seriously, I find it worrying how pissed off you are that I like to stretch my 4:3's to 16:9's. Big deal, I don't like black bars.

Get over it already.

GreatDrok
Dec 24, 2007, 11:01 PM
You like to brag about your systems don't you? So you have, what, a few more TV's than I do so that makes you correct?

I wasn't the one who brought up his 46" set originally. As if size is the thing that makes it acceptable to demand that all of it is used. The reason 16:9 (1.77:1) was chosen as the aspect ratio was that it was a decent halfway house between academy ratio (4:3) and cinemascope (2.35:1) and was close to the normal cinematic widescreen (1.85:1). Now I did point out that I am a purist in my earlier post and as such the purist approach is to show the whole image, undistorted as originally shot.


Ok, so I'm holding back the evolution of TV's...I'm sorry. Really.

Look, I'm not getting at you directly so don't take it so personally. It is just something that has been going on for many years since the first cinemascope films were broadcast on TV. The damage that cropping has done to cinematic presentation is shocking. Now that people have large TVs it really shouldn't be that big a deal that the whole image can be shown as originally intended. The whole point of home cinema is to replicate the cinematic presentation as much as possible.


Seriously, I find it worrying how pissed off you are that I like to stretch my 4:3's to 16:9's. Big deal, I don't like black bars.

Get over it already.
Again, it isn't you in particular, it is the attitude in general. You are perfectly at liberty to do this but remember this attitude is the reason why TV images are cropped even today to make cinemascope fill the screen by chopping a quarter of the image off. If you calibrate your TV correctly and assuming it has a black surround although many are silver (yuck) you will find that the black bars aren't visible and you just see the picture.

You're really not going to like going to HD DVD or Blu ray because they enforce the aspect ratio since the image is always 16:9 and you will get black bars with 4:3 material.

AJ Muni
Dec 26, 2007, 02:40 PM
I've heard of people having issues with HDMI - less compatible or something.

No problems here. I've watched over 50+ movies, and ~300+ tv episodes with my mbp connected via hdmi, and no issues what so ever.