Cheapest way to display HD video (on a TV)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fairnymph, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. fairnymph macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

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    Chapel Hill, NC
    #1
    I rip HDTV shows from my DVR, cut the commercials, and burn them to regular DVD.

    However, I do not have any sort of high def/high res capable DVD player, and I'm hesitant to buy before BR/HD has been decided by the industry. This means I have no way of playing these files on my TV. I can play them on my computer (the mac pro)...but the whole purpose of saving these files is so that I have great picture quality on my 37" LCD HDTV.

    My powerbook's video card is not capable of displaying the right resolution (1920x1080) so I cannot use it to play the files (they show within in a box on my TV screen).

    A regular DVD player can't output HD, as far as I know, and mine certainly can't.

    I have seen DVD players for around $200 that will play regular DVDs with HD content, but that's more than I would like to spend, and plus, I would be buying it SOLELY for this purpose, as I already have a DVD player.

    So...cheaper options? Or any way I could do something (upgrade video card) with the PB to make it capable of outputting that resolution? If I got a new laptop at one point, would it be capable of this from the get go?
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    I think you are going to have a tough time finding a solution for less than $200. What format are the DVDs in? Are they DivXHD? If they are a MacBook could play them at 1080p to the TV.
     
  3. cube macrumors G5

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    #3
    What's the maximum display mode of the Powerbook?
     
  4. fairnymph thread starter macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

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    #4
    I can make them be in any format...DIVX/avi or mpeg or whatever.

    So macbooks can do that resolution? Good to know.

    1280x854
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

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    #5
    I meant via VGA. That seems too low.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    Yeah, something's not right there. I am almost certain you should definitely, either in clamshell mode or even spanning, be able to get 1920x1080 using either VGA or DVI. Make sure you do not have mirroring on. Make sure you're using software that can display the video in fullscreen on the external display.

    That aside... what TV do you have? Is your TV even 1080p? Have you tried just burning the HDTV to standard DVD resolution? You might be pleasantly surprised that it looks good enough....
     
  7. fairnymph thread starter macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

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    #7
    I don't know how to see any other resolutions? I'm under displays in sys pref.

    I would prefer to connect via DVI...

    Enlighten me on these modes? I don't have mirroring on. I use VLC player.

    I have weird TV (Protron 37" LCD HDTV), but it is 1080p. Actually, I'm not 100% sure that it's 1080p (no way to check), but I do know that the native resolution/# of pixels is 1920x1080.

    I am extremely picky about picture quality. It really doesn't look good to me when it's cut down.
     
  8. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    Dec 11, 2006
    #8
    Get a long DVI cable and hook your MP up to the TV?
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    Sys Prefs -> Displays -> Arrangement: make sure the button marked "mirror displays" is not checked.

    Now click on Display. You should see two windows -- one on each screen, each with a different set of resolutions. What is the highest resolution available in the screen on the TV?

    EDIT: If you have a Protron 37"... I don't think the native resolution is 1920x1080... it's 1360x768, from several websites. It's not a 1080p TV set... it's a 720p. There are computer monitors that small that do 1080p, but there are hardly any TVs <40" that do 1080p.
     
  10. fairnymph thread starter macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

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    #10
    LOL. They are 4 rooms apart. :D Good idea otherwise though!

    Hold on, got to go to the TV...and take my DVI cable (only have one, currently in use with my MP).

    There is a lot of conflicting info on the Protron but my model IS 1920x1080. It's specifically why I bought it; I hate screen door effect.
     
  11. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #11
    OK. If your Powerbook has DVI, it means the external resolution goes to at least 2048x1536 (analog).
    With single-link DVI is less because you're limited to 165Mhz. But 131Mhz should be enough for 1920x1080/60p.

    You need SwitchResX if you don't see the mode you need in the Apple system preferences.
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    Wait... now I'm very confused.

    1) The TV you have is not 1080p.

    2) The Powerbook also does not do 1080p internally, although it can do 1080p on an external display that supports the resolution.

    3) If you plug it into something like the TV, then yes, you will probably need SwitchResX to get the 1360x768 that is the TV's native resolution, because most of the older cards don't automatically pick up this res for some reason. With my Mac (iMac G5 / 17" / Rev B / 9600 128MB) and my TV (Insignia 32" 1360x768), I need to use SwitchResX to get the native screen res via VGA.
     
  13. cube macrumors G5

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    #13
    Even if it were a Full HD TV, many don't accept a 1080p signal and you would probably need SwitchResX to define a 1080i mode.
     
  14. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #14
    I hate to add fuel to the fire. If you are encoding on standard DVDs and you are not using DivXHD, then you are almost certainly encoding at no more than 848X480.
     
  15. cube macrumors G5

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  16. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #17
    My 1.8 GHz Cube can't properly play back PAL MPEG4, or the Dvix videos at stage6, so probably his Powerbook can't handle HD movies.
     
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #18
    I don't understand... what exactly do you mean? Take the Stage6 DivX videos for instance... what do you mean that they cannot be properly played back? Do they crash the computer? Drop frames? Play with glitches? Show in the wrong aspect ratio (stretched or scrunched)?

    For reference... at least with respect to 720p, my 2.0 GHz G5 is fine for 720p H.264 as well as the Stage6 videos, although most of those seem to be something a lot less than 1080p... in any event, captures of HDTV broadcasts in DivX play on my 720p TV and look fairly nice.
     
  18. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #19
    On my Cube, stage6 DivX drops a lot of frames with the CPU at 100% and nothing else running.

    EyeTV PAL MPEG4 is not completely smooth (by little).

    1.8 GHz G4 Cube without L3 is more like 1.5 GHz with L3. It's also on a 100MHz bus. The G5 is much faster.
     
  19. fairnymph thread starter macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

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    #20
    This SwitchResX program is giving me a ****ing headache. It won't let me implement any other resolutions. It says I can only try one with an unregistered copy, but I haven't tried anything, and I'm not about to pay for this POS when it won't even let me see if it works!
     
  20. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #21
    Ahhh, I got you now.

    Fairy... SwitchResX is a little confusing... it's kind of hard to explain how to get it to work. In most cases, though, it does work. It works for me. I haven't paid for it yet. I probably should / will at some point... I guess it'll be at least the fourth Mac shareware app I paid for (iRecordMusic, Sidetrack for my iBook, OneFingerSnap for my iMac).

    But first, you really need to verify that you know what the screen resolution is. I am not familiar with any 37" 1920x1080 panels... but then, if you're right, then you probably cannot do 1360x768 on your display. So you need to know which of the two you need.
     
  21. cube macrumors G5

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  22. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #23
    If the mode is already listed in SwitchResX, it's very easy. If you have to make a custom mode, start by searching for timing parameters other people have used for your TV, be it Linux, Windows, whatever (translating modelines is easy).
    If you can't, try to see if you find basic timing specs in some manufacturer's docs (max pixel clock, sync type, etc.), and then use an online video timing calculator (which are normally thought for analog, but I guess it should work).
     
  23. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #24
    pfft, get a long cable :p


    did you think about an AppleTV? The refurb is $250 and it will playback HD.
     
  24. fairnymph thread starter macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

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    #25
    Not FairY...just FAIR. :p

    Also, unless I have the displays mirrored, nothing but the desktop background shows up on my TV.
    Yes, this program annoys me. I am trying to work with an AVS forum FAQ but my problem is that when I export the DDC info, it just gives the pixel info of my LAPTOP display, even though I'm in the TV display. So I can't even verify the resolution.

    Even if I go under the menu settings on my TV, it tells me the resolution of the damn laptop under display info.

    If I don't have the displays mirrored, I see only the desktop background (no icons, no apps) on the TV.

    I tried creating a custom res, hard to do since I have no good stats to work with, but it won't let me apply it even though it now shows up in the active list.
     

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