Mac Mini to TV Display Quality

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Tee.Nutter, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Tee.Nutter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hey All

    I am about to buy a Mac Mini and want to find out how it works with using a 1080p (Pioneer Kuro) TV as a monitor

    How does it look on the TV i.e. especifically what's the quality like?

    I am sure many people have done this, I am probably going to be using a digital cable (ToSlink) for the sound and a Mini DV to HDMI cable for the video

    http://ukhdmi.com/Cablesson-Mini-DisplayPort-USB-Audio-to-HDMI-Converter_QQ101853

    If anyone has any better ideas for cables, then feel free to give me some advise :eek:)

    Many Thanks

    Tee
     
  2. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #2
    How do I connect an Intel Mac mini to a television?

    How to connect your Intel-based Mac mini to a television depends greatly on the type of television you have (and the Mac mini you have as well). Apple provides a helpful document entitled "Using Mac mini with a Television" on the Apple Support Site.

    The Apple Support Document notes that the Intel Mac mini can be connected to digital HDTV sets via DVI, HDMI, and VGA/RGB [emphasis added]:

    - A standard DVI cable can be attached from the [pre "Early 2009"] Mac mini [models] to an HDTV, supporting resolutions up to 1920x1080. [The "Early 2009" models can be connected to a DVI equipped television via DVI by using a Mini-DVI to DVI adapter].

    - HDTVs with HDMI inputs can be connected to [a pre "Early 2009"] Mac mini with a DVI to HDMI adapter. A DVI to HDMI adapter will relay video but not audio from the computer. [The "Early 2009" models can be connected to an HDMI equipped television by using a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter]. . . [To connect audio], the Belkin PureAV HDMI to DVI cable can be ordered from the Apple Store [and numerous other resellers].

    - The DVI to VGA adapter that was included with your [pre "Early 2009] Mac mini can be used along with a VGA cable to connect [the Mac] to an HDTV with an analog PC-input (VGA/RGB), supporting resolutions 1920x1080. [The "Early 2009" models can be connected to a VGA equipped television by using a Mini-DVI to VGA adapter].

    The same document provides instructions on how to connect pre "Early 2009" Intel Mac mini models to an analog television with the Apple DVI-to-Video Adapter via Composite or S-Video:

    - Composite is the most widely available video input on traditional analog televisions. It delivers acceptable quality at resolutions up to 800x600 on most televisions.

    - S-Video separates the analog video signal into separate channels, providing better quality than Composite. S-Video is best used with a resolution of 800x600.

    For connecting the audio, Apple mentions that all Intel-based Mac mini models use "a combo mini-plug connector to output both digital audio and analog audio signals" and audio can be connected using digital and analog audio:

    - Digital Audio: Use an optical mini-plug cable with the audio output on the Mac mini to connect A/V receivers and home theater audio systems with 5.1 surround sound and optical audio inputs. A mini-plug to TOSLINK adapter may be needed to connect to some receivers. The Belkin PureAV Digital Optical Cable with Mini-TOSLINK adapter is available from the Apple Store [and other resellers].

    - Analog Audio: The Mac mini can be connected to most televisions, audio receivers and speakers using analog line-out. A mini-plug to stereo RCA adapter may be necessary. The Monster iCable mini-to-RCA left/right audio cable is available at the Apple Store [and elsewhere].
     
  3. Tee.Nutter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Thanks for the reply MacHamster, but you completely missed my question. I know how to connect the Mac Mini to my HDTV.

    I just want to know from people who have done it and what results they got i.e. does it look at good as it would whilst connected to an Apply Display?
     
  4. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #4
    I have my Mac mini 2.26 w/ GeForce 9400M connected to my Sony 40" LCD 1080p TV vis mini DVI to HDMI.
    Quality is perfect.
    For the Mac HDMI = DVI, so no loss there. The only issue you might run into if you use the TV as a normal Mac-computing monitor (so, not just as a media centre HD dieplay) you will find the "overscan" irritating.
     
  5. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #5
    Excuse my ignorance, but what is this "overscan" problem I keep reading about?
     
  6. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    Simply put, a "TV" will cut off the extreme outer edges of the image it receives.

    In practice, if a Mac is connected to a TV as its display (576i CRT, 720p HD ready, 1080p Full HD... doesn't matter), the Mac will recognise the urge for the TV monitor to overscan, and therefore you will find the menubar "gone", and the lowest part of your Dock missing.

    Using the Mac as a media centre (running Plex etc.) this not an issue at all. It even makes the media centre's image look more TV-natural, if you know what I mean.
    If you want to use the Mac in normal Mac-workstation mode, you'll find this overscan urge very annoying.

    On some TV's you can switch off overscan (done in the Mac's System Prefs - Displays - Options), but in a lot of cases that gives the opposite result.... Too small an image.
     
  7. bkspero macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    #7
    Works fine on Panny Plasma

    I have an older 1.83 GHz mini with lowly integrated Intel graphics connected by DVI to HDMI adapter cable to a Panasonic 46" 1080p plasma, and it works great. Did upgrade the memory to 4 gigs. Sound via optical 5.1 to an A/V receiver. Run a firewire drive for DVR recording. Cable TV via Pinnacle USB MiniStick tuner and EyeTV lite that came with it. Networked via gigabit ethernet. Was running Leopard until recently when I upgraded to SL (Apple had screwed up iDVD and Front Row with SL, and just recently straightened things out). Can watch ClearQam HDTV, DVD's, stream local media in HD, Hulu, Netflix HD, and Amazon Video HD.

    I haven't tried AVCHD. OSX doesn't do all that well with AVCHD with the entry level programs anyway, and my Mini is almost certainly underpowered to display it in full resolution. For working with those files, I picked up an inexpensive Win7 Quad core box for less than I paid for the Mini. Nice computer, but it is just too big to put in our family room where the mini is located.
     
  8. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #8
    Thanks for explaining that.
     
  9. jw2002 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 23, 2008
  10. jw2002 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    #10
    You'll be ok with any 2009 or later mac mini. The earlier mini's (and that includes the 1.83 GHz versions) really were not 1080p compatible because of their incredibly weak graphics processing capabilities. Those old mini's were pretty much designed with obsolete graphics, and then Apple waited almost 2 years to finally update them last year! Anyways if you are getting a new mini, you'll be fine as far as home theater video quality is concerned.
     
  11. bkspero macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    #11
    In the spirit of accuracy...

    ...I think that the blanket dismissal of an older 1.83 GHz mini for 1080p HTPC use is overstated. If you are really on a budget, you can pick one of these up for <<$400 from a 3rd party refurbisher, and they work if given enough memory.

    I am typing this on my mini attached to a Panasonic TCP46G10 1080p plasma TV. TV's "Info" button, which shows the input signal status, shows 1080p. Apple Display preferences in SL lists a number of possible resolutions, including 1080i and 1080p. 1080p is selected (it was done automatically by SL). So there is confirmation on both ends that it is using 1080p. Apple system profiler shows that this is a 1.83 GHz C2D with Intel GMA950 graphics and four gigs of RAM. So it's a system with "obsolete graphics" (which I agree with).

    However, despite its obsolescence, it streams local video, shows clearqam HDTV upscaled to 1080p, streams the HD feeds of NHL Gamecenter fullscreen as well as my son's Mac Pro does, and streams Netflix and Amazon HD movies.

    I wouldn't describe this as incompatible? It may not work under some situations. If so, then share the specifics of your situation in which it did not work properly. Or this may not be your personal experience, but a repeat of information from others. If so, then make that clear so readers can better characterize its credibility.
     
  12. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #12
    Apps like Plex do not make use of the better grfx card (9400M) in the later mini's.
    The CPU is most important, and high bitrate mkv files with 1080p content can be handled any Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz Macs, if you have at least 1 GB of RAM (2 is recommended).

    So a Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz with 2 GB RAM with the Intel onboard grfx (GMA 950) will do fine as a media centre.
    Just do not try to play games, or use any app that needs 3D grfx power.
     

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