Running C2D iMac on HDTV

Discussion in 'iMac' started by swingerofbirch, May 30, 2007.

  1. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Hi everybody,

    I have a C2D 17" iMac. I have been looking into HDTV's lately for televison and movie use obviously but am also interested in the ability to use my Mac from a sofa with a wireless KB and mouse.

    The category of HDTV I have been interested in are 42" 1080p LCDs. I have heard people say that buying a 1080p TV that's 42" is useless since you can't see the difference between it and 720p, but I figure it would be needed for a computer's display. The iMac displays natively at 1440 x 900. Now, I understand that the resolution of a 1080p is larger than that. Would the iMac's screen show up letterboxed? Also, how good of a quality connection can you get from mini-DVI to an HDTV? Do you think using the iMac in this way is practical? Would the quality on the HDTV be legible enough? I'm not worried about it being too small--I live by myself and would sit rather close to the screen anyhow; I am more worried about clarity. Can you expect and LCD HDTV to have the visual clarity of an LCD monitor like the one built into the iMac?

    Sorry--I know my questions are very newbish!
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    You'd be able to run at 1080p off of the iMac if you don't mirror it.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    To expand on this, what this will mean is that you will see different things on the two screens.

    If you mirror, you get the same thing on both screens. Depending on the TV, the TV can generally fit smaller resolutions to the full screen effectively (maybe with playing with the zoom modes). However, you should be able to get the exact native TV and computer resolutions when you don't use mirroring. In that case, you can pick either screen to be the "main" screen with the dock and menu bar on it, and then the other screen is essentially just extra space. I have my iMac and 720p television set up this way.
  4. swingerofbirch thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Interesting---seems odd as that would require more horse power, although I am assuming the reason is that if you mirrored the picture it would mean that the iMac would have to display the 1920 x 1080 which is physically impossible, given the 17" iMac's screen, meaning the iMac cannot function as a standalone computer with the monitor off?

    If it is powering a 1920 x 1080 display in addition to its own 1440 x 900 rather than only powering the 1920 x 1080, is it rather taxing on the system? Would it slow down the computer?

    To the poster using it on your 720p, is the quality good--legible for typing etc? What size HDTV do you have?
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I just wanted to add a few comments and suggestions to this.

    1. When looking for a TV, make sure you do your homework. Some TV's work better with Macs/PCs than others. You'll want a TV that has what is called 1:1 pixel mapping (aka no overscan, full mode, dot-by-dot, etc). This will allow you to see the entire Mac desktop. Without 1:1 mapping, the outer edges of your screen won't be viewable.

    2. I have a 46" 1080p LCD and use it in conjunction with my wife's Macbook. I just upgraded to 2GB, but when it was at the stock 512MB level, it worked fine when displaying 1920x1080 on the TV and 1280x800 on the MB screen. This is with the Intel integrated graphics. The only thing I noticed was that some of the animations on Front Row didn't work. It's easy enough on a Macbook to turn off the LCD screen and run just the HDTV, but the iMac may be a different story. At the very least, you could set the iMac's screen to the lowest resolution to save on the VRAM.

    3. Try searching the forums here and over at AVSforum to see if anyone has connected their iMac to an HDTV. Most people have success with MacBooks, MBPs, and minis. It seems that fewer people tend to connect their iMacs to TVs.

    4. Personally, at 42", I'd definately go with 1080p. If your couch isn't too far away, you'll appreciate the extra resolution. I sit about 7' from the 46" TV and the text is OK. I would guess that a 42" TV at about 6' distance would be fine for most people. Keep in mind that a flat screen is much thinner (duh!) and that it typically sits about 12" further back than a CRT would on a media stand/entertainment center. And it would sit even further back if you wall mount it.

    BTW, the talk about not being able to tell the difference between 1080p and 720p is hogwash, IMO. I can usually tell the difference at my seating distances with TV shows and movies. With computer desktops, the difference is very obvious.

    5. There's a thread over at AVSForum - HTPC/Mac Chat where people talk about the different TVs that worked/not-worked with Macs. You can pick up a ton of information over there about these things.

    Good Luck!

  6. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816


    Jul 26, 2005
    This is true if you're going to be using a DVI cable. If you're using a VGA cable (my HDTV has a VGA input), the Mac will detect the TV's resolution fine (or at least mine does).

    iMac screens can't be turned off entirely -- at least not to the degree that a MacBook could.

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