Using an HDTV as a primary screen?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ny87, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. ny87 macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2008
    I'm thinking about buying a mac mini to use with an HDTV as the primary screen. I've read some other posts regarding this. My question is, which method of hooking the setup up (ie, which cables) provides the best picture.

    I've done this with a PC before but the connection was crumby... is this the case with the mac mini? Will I be able to get the same resolution that I can in a monitor?

    Also, I have looked at a ton of HDTVs and find the picture to be pretty bad compared to older TVs. Can anyone reccomend a model in the $500-700 range that has a good picture.:confused:

    Thanks :eek:
  2. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    DVI and HDMI (same video signal) will provide the best picture. An HDTV is just a big computer monitor with a TV tuner built in, there is no reason it won't work identically to a normal computer monitor.
  3. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    What size TV are you looking for?

    Without that info, it's hard to recommend anything.

    As for your other questions ...

    Personally, I feel you should be looking for a 1080p (1920x1080) HDTV, but in your price range, you're limited to either 2nd tier brands or a smaller set. In either case, you're probably looking at a 720p TV (which are typically 1366x768).

    The mini is capable of driving either resolution ... the max res that the mini puts out is 1920x1200.

    As for the connections, I would look for a TV that has a dedicated DVI port. Also, be aware that you'll need a method for audio, if you plan on running sound through the TVs speakers. Fortunately, TVs that have DVI ports typically have an audio port associated with it. They would use either mini-jack or RCA.

    If the TV you choose doesn't have DVI, don't fret. HDMI is usable with the appropriate adapters. Again, make sure there's at least one HDMI port that has auxiliary audio inputs.

    Lastly, some TVs have VGA input. Don't count VGA out just because it's analog. The picture can look quite good using VGA. Make sure you have aux audio input for VGA as well.

    Now, the other thing to look out for is zero-overscan. Most newer TVs have this, but it's good to confirm it before buying. Without zero-overscan, the edges of your screen will not be shown. Quite annoying. I assert that the DVI and VGA ports typically are free of overscan (since there almost exclusively used for PC/Macs).

  4. erstwhilepo macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2009
    I used a 26" HDTV as my primary monitor for some time. I liked the large screen and the integrated speakers. I thought my resolution was pretty good until I took a good look at computer monitors. You can get a 32" HDTV for $599 - a pretty good deal - but the resolution is only 1366 x 768 (720p). I recently replaced my HDTV with an Apple HD display. The resolution is 1920 x 1200. Absolutely no comparison - the computer geared display does a much better job. Just consider this when deciding on your purchase.
  5. boonlar macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2008
    Check around online for deals on a 1080p set. I bet you can find up a 42" 1080p set for $700 if you look hard enough but it might not be the very best brand. Check or similar forums.

    I use an HDTV as my monitor on my pc and I hook it up with a DVI to HDMI cable because DVI and HDMI are essentially the same digital signal. You can find these cables on sites like for a few dollars.

    Really try to get 1080p because the extra resolution really helps for a monitor since you will be reading fine things like text on it.

    edit: a quick search showed a Toshiba Regza 42" 1080P LCD 42rv53ou for $699.99 at Sears so look around looks like they have really come down in price.
  6. madboom macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008
    I have been using a 32 inch 1080p as my main display for a while now and all I can say is that it is splendid indeed. Depending on what you plan on doing with it you need to be careful about the response time of the display though. Modern LCD's and Plasma's are generally fast enough for most tasks, but if you want to play games you still need a fast display. My TV (cost a lot more than $700 though) happens to have one input with a faster refresh time than the others and I can tell you without a doubt that my gaming experience is far better on the "Game" input.

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