New iMac, Front Row and Two Displays

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by findgwyn, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. findgwyn macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2005
    London UK
    Hi, this post is going to be a little long, thanks in advance for your patience...

    I've recently purchased my first Mac - the new 20" iMac (iSight) model - with the intention of hooking up to my Panasonic plasma TV for use with Front Row. I have the Apple VGA adapter and everything hooked up fine.

    First issue I had was that although the plasma could handle the native resolution of the iMac if I did that there was a noticeable "tearing" of windows on the iMac display. Plasma display was always perfect, however. It was distracting, but not too serious. More annoying was that video playback did have a tendancy to stutter. Lowering the resolution resolved the stuttering, improved the "tearing", but the horrible scaled up display on the iMac was just plain nasty.

    My first solution was to have a specific user account for Front Row with the appropriate settings for best use with the plasma, and regular settings for regular user accounts. Whilst this did the job I still saw the visual artifacts when running at native resolution - you can even see this effect moving a window left/right with the mouse. Not good and I had no intention of plugging in and removing the VGA cable between uses.

    I spent some time with Apple Support on this and once we had established it only occurred when the external display was connected I asked if it was possible to enable or disable it via software. They said Apple did not provide such a utility but if I had a hunt around on Google I might find something!

    As a result I came across Screen Spanning Doctor. It's installed and works perfectly. Now I am over the problem of having to have matching resolutions so video plays perfectly and the tearing issue has disappered.

    However (nearly there)...

    In order to get Front Row running on the plasma the menu bar (and by default the dock) has to be moved to the plasma. Whilst this is fine for movie watching it is inconvenient to have the menu bar and dock about 12 feet to the left of my face for regular use with the Front Row user. It's OK, just not quite perfect...

    So (finally)...

    Any other suggestions? Enabling spanning has fixed all of the technical issues so I think is the best solution for that. Is there a way I can show the menu bar on both screens? I know I can move the dock there. Should I just have a stab at putting some Applescript together to move the menu bar between screens? I've been looking for an excuse to have a play with it!

    Thanks again for getting this far!
  2. liketom macrumors 601


    Apr 8, 2004
    i see where your coming from on this one , but the screen desktop spanning is the only way forward - the hack will let you display higher res on your plasma.

    what res will your plasma do ? and what is your native res on it

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