Macbook Pro Output via DVI-VGA, Resolution problem

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JonHimself, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. JonHimself macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    So I just got an LCD TV with HDMI and VGA inputs. I originally had my laptop running with a DVI to HDMI connection in to the TV. For whatever reason, I couldn't get a good quality picture... it was alright, but just off... hard to explain I guess.
    I figured that using a VGA cable (With a DVI-VGA adapter) that I could get a much higher resolution. What I end up with is 1360 x 768. I can't select any higher resolutions in Display Preferences so is that as high as it can go?
    I had a 20" LCD monitor (not TV) previous to this and I think that I could select a higher resolution on that. Is it just a limitation of the TV?

    The resolutions I got with the DVi-HDMI were:

    The resolutions I got with the DVI-VGA were:

    Attached Files:

  2. JonHimself thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    Not to be 'that guy' and bump the thread, but even after searching the web and these forums I still haven't come across a solution. I've considered SwitchResX but have also read many posts that say it is bad for your computer.
    Hopefully I don't have to settle with one of the current resolutions.
  3. betomax macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2008
    I have a Samsung LCD TV and MBP. The VGA connection doesn't yield a "perfect" picture. DVI->HDMI and "Just Scan" setting on the TV yields a sharp picture, but the colors are "off", I also don't know how to describe it. Also, text looks kind of nasty, as if sub-pixel rendering (or whatever it is called) was not working.


    For my TV (LNT5271), connect MBP via DVI -> HDMI to HDMI1, then enter the TV setup menu and rename HDMI1 to PC, and all is well. All problems are resolved.

    Hope this helps.
  4. djdandman macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2008
    Thanks for the screenshot

    I just want to say that your question gave me my answer!
    I'm hooking my MBP up to a Sony Bravia 1080p (I got a 'p' not an 'i' specifically because I want to use it as a workstation and pixel-res is vital)

    I'm CURRENTLY connected via a VGA dongle+Cable and seeing exactly the same dialog as posted here.
    I figured, and you seem to confirm it, that we are not going to be able to squeeze full 1080 res into the VGA pipe.

    What I was unable to confirm was if upgrading to a (stupidly expensive at the local MacStore) DVI/HDMI cable would make any improvement. Specifically, is the MacBook video processor - which is designed specifically for a laptop screen - even capable of producing 1080 res? I wouldn't have expected it to need to be.


    Your screenshot demonstrates clearly that if I plugged the right cable in, I CAN get the right output all the way down the line. Screenshots I can trust!
    Wow, this will be an experience running my workstation like that!

    So thanks for that!
  5. jimkoke macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009
    Samsung results

    I've had similar trouble finding a resolution for my Samsung. A visit to the Sumsung revealed the list of supported resolutions, a different set for VGA, XGA, SVGA and SXGA. VGA is the only resolution that supports the 1920x1080 resolution. My Mac (Pro 15) shows many resolutions, each with from 1 to 8 frequencies, but only a handful are supported by the TV. When I connect to an external monitor, a Samsung, the Mac learns the supported resolutions and displays correctly. The one resolution that fills the screen is 1280x1024 which is SXGA. In all, the TV has been a big disappointment (literally) as a monitor. Even the resolutions I get to work will distort the display. I connect using the DVI dongle that came with the MBP and an SVGA (?) cable to the TV. I have not tried DVI-HDMI. I guess all that was just info of dubious interest.
  6. risenphoenixkai macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    It depends on the maximum resolution of your TV.

    My TV is 1080i, so the maximum resolution (the actual number of pixels on the display) is 1366 x 768. For some reason, the MBP only ever does 1360 x 768 over VGA, but I'm not broken-hearted about losing three pixels' worth of vertical resolution per side.

    It looks like your TV is 1080i like mine, because even over HDMI, the maximum resolution you were allowed was 1920 x 1080 interlaced, which is 1080i. There's really nothing you can do to bump the resolution higher; the TV simply isn't capable of pushing more pixels than 1366 x 768, because that's all its display has.

  7. betomax macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2008

    Try the DVI->HDMI connection again and this time try setting the overscan option under "options" (see the screenshot in your 1:07 am post). When unchecked (in 1080p mode) the picture is letterboxed all around and not crisp since everything is squeezed.

    If you have a high quality VGA cable you can get a good picture that way, but I know my VGA cable (came with a Dell monitor) is not sufficient to carry a 1080p signal. DVI-HDMI is your best bet. You can get very good quality cables and adaptors at; I have a few of their cheapest 6' hdmi cables and a dvi-hdmi adaptor and have no problems at all.
  8. jmilliron macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2007
    Google pulled this thread up for me. Great info here.

    I just bought a 50" Panasonic Plasma TV (1080P) for my wife (I rarely watch TV). It has both HDMI inputs and a VGA input. Might like to occasionally hook up the 15" Macbook Pro to view downloaded content. Going to try HDMI first.

    Will report back once I get the adapter & cables.
  9. monolith23 macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2009
    Please do.

    Right now I have problems hooking up my 2007 MB via HDMI to my Panasonic Plasma (Tx-p46g10).
    Colors are fine but the ratio is slightly askew. Without overscan I get the letterbox naturally. But with overscan all video content is slightly cut off to all sides and a bit more so at top and bottom leaving me with a slightly squeezed picture unless I am going to 16:9 modus on the panasonic which solves the aspect ratio prob but zooms in even more.
    Doesn't make stuff unwatchable, it's just a bit bothersome.

    all that in non-mirrored mode and played via quicktime pro/vlc
  10. daisky macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    Is this a 720p TV? If yes, then that answers your question right there :)
  11. monolith23 macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2009
    It's 1080p

    But why would 720p have explained my problem?
    The problem persists regardless of the resolution of the video source or the selected resolution in the screen output menu.
  12. AAHK macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2009
    I also have a unibody macbook pro 13 and a samsung lcd tv with the option of VGA or HDMI input....and wondering which one to use to connect my macbook pro. I want to use it as a monitor for my macbook pro 13 while I'm at home (with a bluetooth keyboard etc).

    Basically, I'm asking which option is better - VGA or HDMI?
    I'm only interested in visual quality. Audio doesn't matter as I will also be connecting the macbook to my rotel amp for sound.

    Jmilliron - how did you get on?

    All/any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  13. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    HDMI or DVI->HDMI is always better. It's entirely digital so generally less signal loss with a longer cable and also no analog->digital conversion at any point. In reality VGA and HDMI can be pretty close, but since you've got a digital connection just use it. If you run into problems like overscan then check your TV's settings for things like 1:1 pixel mapping etc.

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