HDMI looks terrible

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by macman500, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. macman500 macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2008
    I used to have a Mac Mini (4 yrs old or so) that I had connected to a Samsung HDTV @1080i.

    Just bought the Mac Mini refresh and tried connecting via HDMI. Graphics and text look over-pixelated, sometimes almost illegible, with artifacts at the edges and so on.

    The same Mini, hooked up via Minidisplay to VGA, looks crisp and beautiful.

    I went to the Apple Store in Toronto (Yorkdale mall) and had a Genius look at the computer.

    He (and his supervisor) told me that the crappy graphics from HDMI are standard and the way it is supposed to look. Using a Sony HDTV in the store, they even tested the HDMI on an earlier Mini and it looked the same -- just terrible.

    I'm posting this account out of surprise really. You'd think HDMI would look great, but it doesn't, and weirdly, VGA looks just fine, much closer to the way a Mac looks connected to a monitor.

    Also, I have a PS3 and an Xbox 360 connected via HDMI -- they look much better than the Mac Mini.

    Anyone else think the HDMI signal looks bad?
  2. profets macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    Weird, i've seen a Mac mini hooked up with hdmi to TV and monitor, and they always look good.

    Could it be some setting or overscan or something happening on the TV causing it? Or maybe some setting on the mini?
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  4. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    I'll let you know once I receive it. I currently have my 2009 Mini connected to my Sony Bravia HDTV using a DVI to HDMI adapter and an HDMI cable. It looks perfectly fine. Obviously the 2009 Mini doesn't have an HDMI port for a direct HDMI connection. I do find it surprising that you say HDMI output does not look good as I don't recall anyone else saying so either on the 2011 or 2010 Mini.
  5. Marky macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2005
    I've got the new 2.5ghz Mac Mini hooked up to my 40inch Sony Bravia 1080p HDTV, picture is beautiful and I certainly don't have any of the problems outlined by the original poster.
  6. b-rad g macrumors 6502a

    b-rad g

    Jun 29, 2010
    I use my '10 Mini hooked up to my 52" Sharp Aquos LED-LCD and it looks AMAZING! Very crisp and clean, unless you are sitting 3 feet away, then you can see the pixels. But I never sit that close and am usually accross the room with my keyboard and trackpad in lap.
  7. macman500 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2008
    Personally, I'm sure this is just some sort of config issue ... I was just surprised that the Genius at the Apple Store was saying that the crap display image was to be expected.

    FYI I have the Samsung LN-S4051D. There is no way for me to set it to just "scan" unfortunately. In fact, the PC mode is greyed out when I try to edit it in the Menu.

    For now, I'm just using VGA. It looks fine for my purposes. If anyone knows how to get my HDTV model to display the HDMI signal from the Mini, I'd really appreciate it.

  8. CorMac22 macrumors newbie


    Jul 24, 2011
    When i bought my samsung in 2007 i also wanted to use it too watch movies/shows from my laptop (back then i was using windows) on my samsung. So i plugged a dvi to hdmi adapter into my laptop so i could use a hdmi cable. But when i looked at the tv it did't showed the entire picture wrong resolution) even though the settings on my laptop were correct. So i called samsung and they send a service guy. He did something to the samsung using the service port on the back. Since then i got a new setting in the menu named "just scan" or "overscan" or something like that (like mentioned before) since then the resolution which i configured on my laptop 1920x1080 was displayed correct. So i don't know if that settings is allready on your tv since i don't know what year your tv is from. Maybe it's standard nowadays with the samsungs, i don't know. You should check that out. (sorry if this text isn't correctly spelled , i tryed my best :))
  9. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    Never take advice from anyone that works at an Apple Store. They really don't know much.
  10. Tulpa macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    I actually use a 20" HDTV as my primary monitor (via HDMI) and get precisely this issue if I try to slide the overscan down to keep the edges from being cut off. So I just deal with a few pixels on the edges being cut off, no big deal (except when you maximize Terminal -- that's very annoying).
  11. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    That's too much of a generalisation in my opinion. Whilst I agree that can be true it's not always the case. The techs at the Genius bar usually quite knowledgeable and experienced. Some of the sales staff are too.
  12. dodoei macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2005
    if you use hdmi directly, NOT hdmi to dvi adapter, the TV's EDID info needs to be recognized by the hdmi/video card. Otherwise it will mess up the quality. I've seen it happen with a few TV's, they just dont have standard/updated EDID info. If you want to make sure your hdmi output is good, try finding a LCD monitor (not tv) with HDMI input that has 1920x1200, it should at least work on those...
  13. macman500 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2008
    One thing I don't understand is that the TV resolution is recognized correctly in the About This Mac section (1920x1080) but that resolution doesn't appear in the Displays section, just the HDTV supported ones (1080i, 720p, 480p) and then a bunch of low-res ones, the highest being 1080x768 or something like that.

    Interesting about a service port in the back of the TV. I wonder if the solution lies there...
  14. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    What is the resolution when you are using VGA? You might be better off doing 720p, rather than 1080i.

    You also need to turn the 'sharpness' down to 0 on the TV. This was necessary on my Samsung TV.
  15. ORO1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    Your Saviour

    Hey guys I had this exact same problem but I dived into the options of my tv, within the menu I found that you can change something called the sharpness. By reducing this it makes text look significantly smoother and overall makes the screen just look better. I am very sorry if this didn't help but please respond if it did.

    All the best, ORO1.
  16. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Think you need SwitchResX. That can overrule the given options, and let you pick 1920x1080 progressive in any frequency you like (pick 23.97Hz for movies for example).
  17. humblpirate macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2012
    New England
    cables to use with new Mac Mini (late 2012)

    So, reading this I am starting to think I could solve some of my problems with the new mac mini connecting to my 32" samsung 1080p led hdtv. I would like to try a few different cable connections to see if I can get the text to look sharper (I've already done all I can with the HDMI connection).

    So, the new Mac Mini has a HDMI port and a Thunderbolt port. Having already tried the HDMI-HDMI connection, what else can I try?

    It doesn't seem as though Mini Displayport is an option anymore. Furthermore, my TV only has HDMI ports, so .... would it even help to do HDMI-DVI-HDMI or HDMI-VGA-HDMI?
  18. Silky Smoove macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2012
    The Thunderbolt port will accept a MiniDisplay port cable just fine.
  19. ess5 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2011
    My 2011 mini is hooked up to a 60" Bravia...definitely not seeing the same issues you describe (not calling BS, just wondering what the difference is).

    I'd go with the "Mini not properly detecting your model of TV" theory...mine kinda "just worked", it knows *exactly* what it's hooked up to, and it adjusted accordingly.

    Poke around in that area, maybe there's a solution =)

    Good luck!
  20. pxbr macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2012
    my samsung has a menu option where you 'edit source list' for the ports..
    for hdmi:
    dvi devices

    several of them will work for a mac - i use PC
  21. sdv5 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Here's what to do. I've had Samsung DLP and LED TVs, and they both handle computer input the same way. There is one special HDMI/DVI input on the back of your TV that is intended for computer hook-up. You need to connect your Mini to that HDMI input. Then in the Samsung set-up menu, you need to rename that input as PC. Once you do that, your TV will be able to handle the video signal from the Mini using correct color space and 1:1 pixel mapping. You will not need to scale the picture on the Mini. You will notice that the image will just snap in, producing very sharp picture with perfectly legible text. Anything else will give you subpar picture.
  22. Dan in MD macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2012
    I've experienced this in various ways. I've found better results using an HDMI to DVI cable. This works well with my Pioneer Kuro.

    On an old Samsung, I went the RGB route.

    I also can't route my video through most switch boxes or converters as that degrades performance.

    It's hit or miss.
  23. simonk83 macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2012
    I'm having this issue also with a brand new mini and a brand new Dell U2713HM. Hooked up HDMI to HDMI and it looks pretty terrible.

    I'm not devoting too much time to it as I have a mini displayport to displayport cable on the way and I assume that'll be fine, but it's weird it's happening in the first place.
  24. That-Guy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2012

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