Reality of Fantasy? Driving a 42" 1080i Plasma via a MacBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lowbuzz, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. lowbuzz macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    With Apple jerking us around for so long - I was set on buying a 17" MacBook Pro, because I do so much work, sitting on the couch.

    But I was wondering - is it feasible to buy a 42" Plasma 1080i like this Panasonic:

    And just use it as the main monitor? Beats the crap out of a 17" screen, and allows me the tiny notebook for carrying around. I don't need the power - I'm just tired of spending hours on end staring at the little screen on my 12" iBook.

    Has anyone tried this? Is the resolution on these HDTVs high enough, and what's the max resolution?

    Just thought it was a cool concept.
  2. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Well the 1080i resolution won't be as nice as the nicest MacBook Pro.....

    Even if the total number of pixel were the same, the MacBook Pro would look nicer because it would have a higher PPI(smaller screen, equal or more pixel=more dense pixel count)

    What are you going to be doing?
  3. jer446 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    from far away it look fine, but at anything less than 5 ft you will see what is known as the "screen door effect" and the tv you linked too is 1080p
  4. MacMan33 macrumors regular


    Jun 27, 2007
    anything Closer and your will burn your eyes out and be blind anyway.

    True indeed.
  5. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    I do graphic design, web development.

    I was thinking the screen would always be about 10 feet away.

    It's probably just a wet dream - just thought it would be pretty cool to be sitting on the couch with my wacom and my laptop, watching everything come together on a huge screen.

    My current working resolution is 1024x768 - crystal clear, of course.

    What's this screen door effect thing?

    If it's not doable, that's cool - it sounds too good to be true, so I thought it probably would be.

    But I'm kinda sick of Apple jerking my chain - and the ultimate payback would be to buy their cheapest computer (now that I can afford the pro line) and hook it into a big screen TV :)

    I might even try to snag one of those $749 refurbs or even a cheaper mac mini - go with a bluetooth keyboard.

    At this point, I'd just like to give Apple as little money as possible, given they obviously don't give a rat's ass about keeping their laptops up to date anymore - and wasn't that the big reason for moving to Intel in the first place? Jerkoffs.
  6. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    The act of running a TV of your MacBook (I don't think iBook though) is feasible, but the benefits of it are not great, being it that the TV has a much lower density of pixels over a larger area. If you really want to get work done well, just use it with a display, not a TV.
  7. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Sorry - I have no idea what the difference is between 1080p/i/whatnot.

    Just dreaming the dream of sittin' back on the couch, composing on a big screen TV - no more hunching over laptop screens, having 'em burn my crotch, any of that crap.

    Sounds sweet, right?

  8. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    The display would then have to be attached to some kind of swivel arm thing (which I guess isn't a bad idea) - but attaching something like that to a couch gets very geeky.

    It's just that I play my PS2 games from the couch - and the graphics even on the PS2 on a 35" CRT seem pretty badass. But I have seen the computer running through the CRT - and it looks like CRAP. Completely worthless for anything but watching DivX movies.

    I was just dreaming of how nice it would be to have a little laptop for taking out to clients - then coming home to "The Big Show".

    I just don't know how 1080i/p/whatever translates into resolutions. And at 10 feet or more, I'm guessing the visual illusion makes the dots seem closer. I have no clue.

    Just wondering I guess if anyone has ever tried to pull this off. Thanks for all the interest/replies.

  9. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    I just pulled this from wikipedia:

    1080p is the shorthand name for a category of display resolutions. The number "1080" represents 1,080 lines of vertical resolution,[1] while the letter p stands for progressive scan (meaning the image is not interlaced). 1080p is considered an HDTV video mode. The term usually assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, implying a horizontal resolution of 1920 pixels. This creates a frame resolution of 1920×1080, or 2,073,600 pixels in total.

    On a 37" TV, 1920x1080 (if it were clear and true) at 10 feet seems like it would beat the crap out of anything I could deal with on a 15" computer monitor at 1 foot.

    So again - I guess the answer to this would lie with someone who's gone this route. Perhaps with a Mac Mini even.
  10. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    To answer in the simplest form, I have run a TV from a MBP before, and it was 1080p (1920x1080) and it wasn't great. The TV will not seem as crisp as the screen on the laptop because it has to fit 2073600 pixels (at best, 1080i is more like 1440x1080 stretched) in 42" opposed to a MacBook having 1024000 in 13". The numbers, while the TV is near double the MacBook's resolution, is 3-4 times larger than the MacBook's screen, and thus the pixels are larger, thus making the image less crisp the closer you are to it.
  11. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    If you want a big screen, get a projector. They're excellent for presentations, gaming, and (I presume) large external displays for computers. They also have the advantage of allowing you to scale them to whatever size you desire. The main disadvantage is the need for dark environments to achieve best contrast.
  12. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    The general concept is that the TV is at least 10 feet away. If I have to manage anything particularly detailed, I can always use the MacBook screen.

    Also, the 1080p seems to offer a stronger resolution (at least from what Wikipedia says).

    Again, I'd be very interested to know if anyone has ever tried to f the monitor, hook straight into an HDTV, and do any graphics work.

    I'm certain that future generations will pity us poor bastages who slaved over their little laptop screens - while they're kicking back on the couch with a bluetooth keyboard, managing their work on a big ass TV display, with their tools residing in a PIP.

    I'd much rather be sitting back with a nice glass of Scotch on the couch, no laptop scorching my family jewels, taking it to the next level :)

    But I can't afford to buy these things to test them out first.

    With all the rich folks on these boards, I'm guessing someone has this type of potential kick-ass setup.
  13. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Right - but what if I set my scotch glass in front of the projector? Or have one too many, and spill it on it? :)

    Again, this is a fantasy. I realize it's probably not a purist set-up - I'm just hoping some rich dude can run this scenario:

    Run the computer straight into the 1080p HDTV, sit back on the couch - and see if it's possible to do anything other than read email.

    I know for a fact it's not possible on a CRT. It looks warped and it's total crap. Can't even read email, or see anything else other than a rapidly moving picture.

    But given the wikipedia resolution numbers - if the TV is extremely sharp with good contrast, it sounds extremely doable.
  14. chickenninja macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2008
    inside my skull
    for those that dont know the i in 1080i and 1080p mean, its like this i stands for "interlace and P stands for Progressive i is where the image on the screen is displayed in stripes first the even stripes display then the odd ones, but "p" displays a solid image each time instead of alternating bars.[​IMG][/IMG]

  15. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    This may or may or may not help...

    But I have a 32 inch 720p LCD (1366 by 1080? not sure exactly the numbers, but that's about right) TV that I have a mini hooked up to.

    The resolution is about the same as it is on my macbook. While the macbook screen is definitely more clear/crisp then the TV, as like people said, the resolution is over a much larger area on the tv (bigger pixels) I find the TV to be perfectly useful for things.

    I've done some basic editing and making of presentations on it for hours at a time and been perfectly happy with using it as a second monitor.

    If I were you i'd go for the smaller 1080p tv.. a 37inch perhaps. Still quite large, but gives you slightly less stretch of the pixels for the same resolution thus meaning it will probably seem slightly more clear. I think that would be the sweet spot. From sitting back on the couch 7 or 10 feet away, I think you'd find it pretty sufficient for some graphics work and editing as long as you know for super detailed stuff you'd want to use your macbook/macbook pro screen...

    But yes, I do do this with a mini on my tv, and while not perfect, it's quite nice with the wireless keyboard and mxrevolution (love that mouse ... i can use the sofa as the mousing surface, it's awesome) chillin back on the sofa.... so I think a 37 with 1080i (1900by1200 or whatever) would be even sweeter.

    Go out and check out the screens before you buy one though. Sure they will be running TV channels or movies, but you can get an idea of clarity and contrast and how pixelated the may seem from up close.
  16. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    TV's are not good computer monitors. Theyre for video, not text and images and reading. TV's dont have as good a picture as a computer monitor since they dont have to be perfect when youre looking at a video the whole time. If you get a TV as a monitor I can pretty much guarantee that eventually the novelty will wear off and youll go back to a regular computer screen for practical reasons. TV's also mess with the picture, you can never trust a TV to give you a true raw picture without it doing something weird to it.

    You can get a 30" monitor for around that TV's price, it will have a better resolution and be MUCH better at computer stuff.

    Using a big TV as a computer screen may sound like a good idea in theory but the fact is that TV's just arent nearly as good as a computer monitor which is why monitors are like twice as expensive based on size.
  17. Spievy macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2002
    Here we go again!!! Am I the only one how has actually tried this and used it.

    As I type I have I am using a 37" Olevia. I can read all of your POSTS PERFECTLY. I can use Photoshop for photo editing, in fact I just finished a logo for a client from my living room sofa. IT DOES WORK if you it set up correctly. YES you are limited to the smaller resolution (I am at 1360x768) but it works excellent as a media center or just about anything (except if you need a large resolution).

    Stop Shooting this concept down, there are correct applications for this type of set up.

    BTW make sure you have a quality LCD TV.
  18. lowbuzz thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Well - I'm getting some mixed responses.

    An iBook maxes out at 1024x768 - and I've been perfectly happy with that for a while.

    And in web work, color accuracy might as well be a joke - you can't control the end color anyway, as it depends on how yokels have their monitors set up.

    And I have a 17" CRT for proofing anyway.

    So if anyone has this set up -

    Is the Mac Mini the way to go, with a bluetooth keyboard, etc? And can a Mac Mini even run the resolution for a 1080p screen?

    Thanks again for all the info and interest.

    I have two objectives here:

    1) Have the ultimate couch potato, computer guru setup.

    2) Give Apple as little as money as possible, supporting them as much as they seem interested in supporting me.

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