Best Interface to Connect MacBook to 50" Plasma?

MBHockey

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 4, 2003
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New York
I have a 50" Panasonic Plasma TV (specs) that I'd like to hook my MacBook up to.

The TV has several input options. I am trying to find out what the best interface to use when connecting the MacBook to the TV is (in terms of quality).

I am a complete TV newb, so any advice in this field is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 

siurpeeman

macrumors 603
Dec 2, 2006
6,311
18
the OC
i think dvi is your best bet. if you don't have dvi, i've read that vga is better than hdmi. something about not being able to get the full tv resolution via hdmi. i don't have a better explanation for you, i'm sorry. maybe someone else might. :eek:
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,753
142
I have a 50" Panasonic Plasma TV (specs) that I'd like to hook my MacBook up to.

The TV has several input options. I am trying to find out what the best interface to use when connecting the MacBook to the TV is (in terms of quality).

I am a complete TV newb, so any advice in this field is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
PC compatible
Yes

That means it connects usually via VGA and it's compatible.
 

iBookG4user

macrumors 604
Jun 27, 2006
6,596
2
Seattle, WA
What you'll want is a DVI to HDMI adapter, that is going to get you the best picture quality. You'll need to have a mini-DVI to DVI adapter to use with it though, as I didn't see any mini-DVI to HDMI adapters.

i think dvi is your best bet. if you don't have dvi, i've read that vga is better than hdmi. something about not being able to get the full tv resolution via hdmi. i don't have a better explanation for you, i'm sorry. maybe someone else might. :eek:
Considering HDMI is digital video and digital audio, and DVI is digital video, while VGA is analog video, HDMI and DVI will have the same picture.
 

siurpeeman

macrumors 603
Dec 2, 2006
6,311
18
the OC
Considering HDMI is digital video and digital audio, and DVI is digital video, while VGA is analog video, HDMI and DVI will have the same picture.
i thought i read somewhere people were having issues with the hdmi connection, not being able to utilize the full resolution of the tv. i might be wrong, though.

to the op, i do have a mini dvi-->dvi adapter if you're interested.
 

MBHockey

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 4, 2003
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New York
Thanks for the help everyone.

I too have read problems with going from dvi --> HDMI, but wasn't at all sure about it. The TV also doesn't have a DVI port, so it looks like my best bet is to go with a MiniDVI to VGA (that's what PC input for the TV would be, right?) cable.

Does anyone know where I can get one of these with a decent length? I'm guessing I would need about 5-6 feet of cable
 

Sin

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2007
152
0
Not London
Thanks for the help everyone.

I too have read problems with going from dvi --> HDMI, but wasn't at all sure about it. The TV also doesn't have a DVI port, so it looks like my best bet is to go with a MiniDVI to VGA (that's what PC input for the TV would be, right?) cable.

Does anyone know where I can get one of these with a decent length? I'm guessing I would need about 5-6 feet of cable
I'd recommend going with the VGA route (as you seem to be) rather than going with DVI. Panasonics do generally have "issues" with being driven by DVI, and tend not to allow their native resolution or choice of refresh rates if you use that input. Their VGA input on the other hand is very versatile and the picture is very crisp - it's unlikely you'll notice too much of a difference.

You probably just want a VGA adapter on the MB end and a decent ordinary VGA->VGA cable of about 2m, which shouldn't be hard to find.

I actually use DVI on mine, but I use an external scaler to make everything work with the TV (and to allow switching sources). It's an expensive option!
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
There is 2 versions of HDMI.

The next generation (called HDMI2 or something like that) allows 2-way communication. The current first generation doesn't.

That way when you turn on your DVD player, the TV will automatically turn to that channel (same idea as scart - two way comm). This also means that if you are watching an Hi-Def DVD, the TV can talk to the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player and make sure that the sound is in exact sync with the video.

I have a feeling that HDMI2 will talk back to a computer and provide information on supported resolutions.

I guess that people who use HDMI1 don't get a list of supported resolutions - just a list of possible resolutions and if you choose one too high then it won't work.

Just a thought - could do with someone clarifying it.
 

tivoboy

macrumors 68040
May 15, 2005
3,122
205
Fine

I'd recommend going with the VGA route (as you seem to be) rather than going with DVI. Panasonics do generally have "issues" with being driven by DVI, and tend not to allow their native resolution or choice of refresh rates if you use that input. Their VGA input on the other hand is very versatile and the picture is very crisp - it's unlikely you'll notice too much of a difference.

You probably just want a VGA adapter on the MB end and a decent ordinary VGA->VGA cable of about 2m, which shouldn't be hard to find.

I actually use DVI on mine, but I use an external scaler to make everything work with the TV (and to allow switching sources). It's an expensive option!
just another data point, I've got three generations of panasonic plasmas, 6, 7 and 8 and all are driven from computer with DVI and or via the PC in. None show any problems with this, I just use the DVI mostly for the HD tivos and bluray players connected to them.

I went UP to the HDMI interface on the 8UK, but then went back down to the DVI in, worked better, less problems with any handshake issues, and no noticable drop in video quality - not that there should be DVI to HDMI comparisson
 

creator2456

macrumors 68000
Jul 10, 2007
1,649
2
Chicago
I just hooked my MBP to my 37" LCD. It has a HDMI port that allows signal for HDMI, HDCP, and DVI. I got a DVI - HDMI cable and was running my TV in HDMI mode. I could either get a resolution greater than the 1920 x 1080 and lose picture (overscan mode on) or have some of the screen not used (overscan mode off). I then put the TV into DVI mode with overscan mode on and I get the full 1920 x 1080 with no problems what so ever.
 

Kosh66

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2004
467
0
The manual for the TV from the Panasonic site suggests connecting the PC to the VGA connector from the looks of it. I would assume either the VGA or HDMI connector would work, but I would be tempted to try the HDMI just because as one person said, it's digital. The manual could be suggesting the VGA just because most PCs use VGA.
 

thuff13

macrumors member
Jun 26, 2007
46
0
I currently have my mini hooked up to my Philips 1080p HDTV through HDMI and it works great. I hooked it up the day I got the TV, turned everything on, and it all worked. I didn't even have to change the resolution, it did it automatically.

However, the two TVs I had before, a Proview and a Vizio (both 1080i), had problems with HDMI. In the "supported" resolutions the part of the picture went off the screen. To fix this I downloaded a program to use custom resolutions (I don't remember which one and I'm not on that computer right now) and figured out what resolution fit the screen correctly, but it ended up being a lower resolution and then I had problems with certain programs that require a certain resolution (i.e. iMovie HD). The Vizio did work fine with VGA, but the Proview only supported 1024 x 768 in VGA (no widescreen).

So, from my experience, I would say it depends on the TV. The Proview basically sucked no matter which connection I used, the Vizio was best on VGA and the Philips works great on HDMI (it doesn't have VGA). Sorry I can't give you an exact answer, but you may just have to try both out and see which works best for you.
 

MBHockey

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 4, 2003
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New York
Thanks for all the info. I'll probably try both when I can get to an Apple store and get some cables -- thanks.
 

thuff13

macrumors member
Jun 26, 2007
46
0
I would suggest buying the cables online. Try www.monoprice.com. I recently purchased an HDMI cable from them and they are much cheaper than Apple, or any other brick and mortar store. I don't know if they have the mini-DVI to DVI adapter, but they have HDMI cables and DVI to HDMI adapters. Actually, I think you can get a DVI to HDMI cable. Either way you are going to save money compared to what you'll pay at the Apple store.
 

Sin

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2007
152
0
Not London
just another data point, I've got three generations of panasonic plasmas, 6, 7 and 8 and all are driven from computer with DVI and or via the PC in. None show any problems with this, I just use the DVI mostly for the HD tivos and bluray players connected to them.

I went UP to the HDMI interface on the 8UK, but then went back down to the DVI in, worked better, less problems with any handshake issues, and no noticable drop in video quality - not that there should be DVI to HDMI comparisson
Mine is a series 6 - it will do its native resolution on DVI, but only at a narrow range of refresh rates (notably it won't do 48Hz, 50Hz or 72Hz - annoying for a lot of video sources). The modes the accept seem to change based on the model.

A half-decent video card seems to have no trouble picking up the supported resolution and driving the panel. However the first machine I tried it with wouldn't play ball and sent a slightly different resolution down, which the panel didn't like. It took me quite a bit of fiddling to get it stable before I changed the card.

The VGA/PC input on the other hand will accept and display most of those just fine - it's easily the most flexible input on the panel, and can do different colour spaces, different sync types, and just about any resolution/refresh you throw at it. So as a first choice, it just seemed to me that it would be less hassle. It's possible to get the pixels mapped 1:1 without too much trouble.

I kept playing with the DVI input until I got it working well and I can live with the restrictions, but then I'm fairly anally retentive about such things :)
 

MBHockey

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 4, 2003
3,929
168
New York
As far as I can tell, my Panasonic does not have a DVI input. I'm not sure why this is the case if all those other Panasonics do. I'll probably purchase the VGA cable online at that site -- thanks for the link.
 

MBHockey

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 4, 2003
3,929
168
New York
I've got all the necessary cables (i bought Apple's mini dvi to vga adapter, and a 6' VGA cord), and i hooked up the macbook.

Now, i'm having a problem trying to get a good resolution to the plasma. Half seem not to work (no picture) and the others have a lot of cropping on the top and bottom, and others have the image of the desktop moved over with a black border on either side that just looks odd.

How can i get a good resolution on the Plasma? Is there anything i should be doing on the macbook other than going through the various resolutions listed in the Displays section of System Preferences?
 

nickatnoon

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2007
6
0
POWERMAC G5 to Samsung 43" DLP

There is 2 versions of HDMI.

The next generation (called HDMI2 or something like that) allows 2-way communication. The current first generation doesn't.

That way when you turn on your DVD player, the TV will automatically turn to that channel (same idea as scart - two way comm). This also means that if you are watching an Hi-Def DVD, the TV can talk to the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player and make sure that the sound is in exact sync with the video.

I have a feeling that HDMI2 will talk back to a computer and provide information on supported resolutions.

I guess that people who use HDMI1 don't get a list of supported resolutions - just a list of possible resolutions and if you choose one too high then it won't work.

Just a thought - could do with someone clarifying it.
I have tried to connect hese 2 together but no luck! I got a picture with the VGA cable, but very blurry! My Samsung is "PC" compatible but why can't I connect a Mac???? Very frustrated, can someone help me? thanx...... (= BTW My G5 has a DVI output.
 

silbeej

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2007
797
0
I have a 37 in lcd tv, and i used the vga connection, because you can get the full resolution out of it, and the screen looks just like a monitor would. Then the vga connection broke, making everything tinted blue, so i had to switch to a dvi to hdmi cable. Now with this connection, the computer, both my MBP and pc will only output in 1280x720, which is 720p, and not the native 1360x768 of the panel. Now i have yet to find a way to get true resolution over hdmi, but i don't think it is capable of doing this, so vga is labeled the pc input for a reason.
 

silbeej

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2007
797
0
I've got all the necessary cables (i bought Apple's mini dvi to vga adapter, and a 6' VGA cord), and i hooked up the macbook.

Now, i'm having a problem trying to get a good resolution to the plasma. Half seem not to work (no picture) and the others have a lot of cropping on the top and bottom, and others have the image of the desktop moved over with a black border on either side that just looks odd.

How can i get a good resolution on the Plasma? Is there anything i should be doing on the macbook other than going through the various resolutions listed in the Displays section of System Preferences?
First you have to tell the macbook not to scale, it's in the system pref when you go to set the resolution. Then on the tv, you need to adjust the phase and adjust the position of the image on the screen. Also, tell the tv not to resize or anything, and to display the image as-is. This is what i did to get mine looking all good, until it all went blue that is.
 

kamiboy

macrumors 6502
May 18, 2007
322
0
I have a Panasonic 42" Plasma and I use DVI -> HDMI and I recommend you to do the same. DVI to HDMI is digital and will result in the best PQ and is just over all better than VGA which is based on much older analogue technology.
 

nickatnoon

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2007
6
0
I have tried to connect hese 2 together but no luck! I got a picture with the VGA cable, but very blurry! My Samsung is "PC" compatible but why can't I connect a Mac???? Very frustrated, can someone help me? thanx...... (= BTW My G5 has a DVI output.
HI all, I am new here. :) DOES ANYONE HERE, HAVE A POWERMAC G5, THAT HAS BEEN CONNECTED TO A NEWER HDMI 1080p WIDESCREEN HDTV????????? :confused: Your help would be appreciated. Thank you. :)