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chris4565

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 22, 2018
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Hey guys,

I was looking for a new monitor for my 16" M2 Pro MacBook Pro and after some thinking + research, I concluded that it might be the best option for me to get a TV instead of a monitor since it's way bigger and I have the space for it on my desk.

Right now, the 43" Samsung QN90D is on top of my list. It's a QLED panel, so not OLED, but I like a really bright display and I'm pretty much never in a really dark room, so I think that for me personally, a QLED is better suited than an OLED.

However, in general, I know that using a TV as a monitor might come with a few downsides, e.g.:
  • Worse text clarity (especially the QN90D uses a BGR subpixel layout instead of the traditional RGB subpixel layout)
  • TV isn't simply plug & play (like a monitor), since you have to turn it on / off manually
  • No simultaneous charging of the MacBook Pro (doesn't bother me at all personally)
My question to you guys would be if there's any other thing that I should be aware of before hitting the "Buy" button. Also feel free to share your personal experiences if you also use a TV as your display for your Mac. Thanks in advance everyone!
 

Bigwaff

Contributor
Sep 20, 2013
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I concluded that it might be the best option for me to get a TV instead of a monitor since it's way bigger and I have the space for it on my desk.
How far away do you plan to sit from the TV on your desk? Optimal viewing distance for 4K at 43-inch is 3-3.5 feet, so you better have a deep desk.
 

chris4565

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 22, 2018
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How far away do you plan to sit from the TV on your desk? Optimal viewing distance for 4K at 43-inch is 3-3.5 feet, so you better have a deep desk.
I just measured, haha. My desk is 3.3 ft deep.
 

chris4565

macrumors 65816
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Sep 22, 2018
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One special question I forgot: How is HDR handled? What I mean: When I watch a YouTube HDR video on my MacBook Pro, it automatically gets displayed in HDR without any issues (actually, just where the video part is, the screen gets very bright, while retaining normal brightness around the video part, so it's very seamless).

How will this get handled with a TV? For example, my Sony TV always goes black for a few seconds when it has to switch to HDR when I, e.g., display a HDR movie from my Apple TV 4K.
 
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tstafford

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2022
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There are a lot of videos on Youtube on using 42" OLED as a Mac monitor. I'd say the results are mixed. For the right needs, it might make sense. I wouldn't do it.
 

chris4565

macrumors 65816
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Sep 22, 2018
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There are a lot of videos on Youtube on using 42" OLED as a Mac monitor. I'd say the results are mixed. For the right needs, it might make sense. I wouldn't do it.
Indeed, and I also watched many of those. One common complaint, e.g., seems to be the auto dimming that can get annoying when you use an OLED. But in my case it would be a QLED, so this wouldn't be an issue. The same goes for burn in. I also heard one YouTuber say that 60 Hz on such a big display seems laggy but again, wouldn't be an issue since this TV (and my MacBook) support 120 Hz. Of course, I'd like to make sure that I don't miss any quirk that might arise, so I created this thread 👍
 
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lsquare

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Jul 30, 2010
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Indeed, and I also watched many of those. One common complaint, e.g., seems to be the auto dimming that can get annoying when you use an OLED. But in my case it would be a QLED, so this wouldn't be an issue. The same goes for burn in. I also heard one YouTuber say that 60 Hz on such a big display seems laggy but again, wouldn't be an issue since this TV (and my MacBook) support 120 Hz. Of course, I'd like to make sure that I don't miss any quirk that might arise, so I created this thread 👍
I guess you might have to be the guinea pig. So did you pull the trigger?
 
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Ben J.

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Aug 29, 2019
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One common complaint, e.g., seems to be the auto dimming that can get annoying when you use an OLED.
I've been using large TVs as my prime screen for more than 10 years, and I'm very happy with it, but I have it high on the wall in my fairly large living room and have it set so I can use it from different places in the room, up to 10-12 feet away. Underneath it, I have a 32" computer screen on a desk for when I need to sit closer and have finer control.

On both my current LG OLED 55" and my previous 48" Samsung LED I had no problem getting their settings to have absolutely no 'auto' this and that, or anything 'magic compensation' stuff going on, and they could be set to a 'fixed' setting and be completely trusted. I'm a photographer so this is essential. The Samsung showed a tiny bit of burn-in after about ten years, but very little and it's to be expected.

(Come to think of it; on the OLED, I struggled a bit before I found the way to turn off the auto-dim. It involved some editing deep in its setup file, and was not available in the regular settings.)
 
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chris4565

macrumors 65816
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Sep 22, 2018
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I guess you might have to be the guinea pig. So did you pull the trigger?
YES! Actually, I got the chance to see the Samsung QN90D (which is a QLED) up close in a slightly dimmed room. The viewing angles (if I sit 1 m away from the display) are AWFUL... Even if I sit straight before the display, I already see all corners basically "glowing" from the backlight. And dark grey becomes light grey, it's really, really bad and not at all what I expected.

So I decided against this TV. Buuut: Now I bought the 42" LG C4 which is an OLED because OLEDs have far superior viewing angles. It will arrive this week and I'm really excited. I'll report back!
 

chris4565

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 22, 2018
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I've been using large TVs as my prime screen for more than 10 years, and I'm very happy with it, but I have it high on the wall in my fairly large living room and have it set so I can use it from different places in the room, up to 10-12 feet away. Underneath it, I have a 32" computer screen on a desk for when I need to sit closer and have finer control.

On both my current LG OLED 55" and my previous 48" Samsung LED I had no problem getting their settings to have absolutely no 'auto' this and that, or anything 'magic compensation' stuff going on, and they could be set to a 'fixed' setting and be completely trusted. I'm a photographer so this is essential. The Samsung showed a tiny bit of burn-in after about ten years, but very little and it's to be expected.
how to

(Come to think of it; on the OLED, I struggled a bit before I found the way to turn off the auto-dim. It involved some editing deep in its setup file, and was not available in the regular settings.)
Thanks for the input. In the end (see my previous post) I decided to get a 42" LG C4 OLED now. Really excited to see how it is!
 

Ben J.

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Aug 29, 2019
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Thanks for the input. In the end (see my previous post) I decided to get a 42" LG C4 OLED now. Really excited to see how it is!
I really think you'll love it. The viewing angles and the pitch-dark blacks makes for wonderful viewing, but make sure you try out different combinations of viewing distance and screen resolution to find what works for you. If you need to place it further away than the desk allows, get a stand or something.

The default settings on my LG OLED was far away from what I needed, very exaggerated, contrasty, saturated look-good-in-shop-settings. I've spent many hours getting it to look good enough to edit photos and video on, with natural colors and neutral gamma. Since yours is LG also, I guess I could share some pointers on what you want to get right in its settings.
 
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chris4565

macrumors 65816
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Sep 22, 2018
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I really think you'll love it. The viewing angles and the pitch-dark blacks makes for wonderful viewing, but make sure you try out different combinations of viewing distance and screen resolution to find what works for you. If you need to place it further away than the desk allows, get a stand or something.

The default settings on my LG OLED was far away from what I needed, very exaggerated, contrasty, saturated look-good-in-shop-settings. I've spent many hours getting it to look good enough to edit photos and video on, with natural colors and neutral gamma. Since yours is LG also, I guess I could share some pointers on what you want to get right in its settings.
Awesome, glad to hear that. For sure, I would definitely appreciate if you could share a few tips with me! Thanks a lot in advance 🥰
 

chris4565

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Sep 22, 2018
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I guess you might have to be the guinea pig. So did you pull the trigger?
I'll wait till you have it installed and maybe give your first impressions, and we'll pick it up.
So, I received my 42" LG C4 last week and I have been using it for a couple of days now. So I would like to tell you guys about my impressions:

Is this TV perfect? No, not at all.
Would I buy it again? 100%. Absolutely, because I love it!

Let me get into detail 😊

The good:
- The picture quality. It’s seriously amazing. The colors, black levels, just everything looks stunning!
- More than enough brightness for my use case. In the evening (90% of my use case), I have the brightness set to 65% which is perfect for me.
- 120 Hz is amazing and it’s especially important for large screen sizes in my opinion.
- The size is perfect! The display is approx. 1 m in front of me.

The "things that you should be aware of":
- This is a TV, so compared to a traditional monitor you have to be aware of mainly 2 things: You have to turn it on / off manually and you have to manually switch to the HDMI input when you’re, e.g., on the home screen of the TV
- Setting this TV up to be used as a MONITOR gave me a huge headache. However, there’s a very easy solution. At first, I went into the "Home Dashboard" menu to change the icon of HDMI 1 (where my MacBook Pro is connected to) to "PC". The big issue: As soon as I unplugged my MacBook, HDMI 1 defaulted back to a normal HDMI port… The solution: Enable "4:4:4 Pass Through" in the "External Devices" menu. This does the same thing but this setting gets remembered. Credit goes to rtings.com for this tip.
- Not the TV’s fault but still something you have to be aware of: You can’t seamlessly display HDR content, e.g., on YouTube like you can with the MacBook Pro (where just the video is in HDR then while the surrounding parts of the image are still in SDR). Instead, you have to set the TV to EITHER SDR or HDR via the MacBook’s settings menu. However, I guess this is also an inconvenience on normal monitors.

The bad:
- I had the issue once where I switched to HDMI 1 and the screen was just black. I had to reboot the TV, which then claimed that a "recording was ongoing" (which makes no sense at all). After I stopped it, everything was back to normal. I read on Reddit that this seems to be a bug. I also had the issue twice that the TV went black temporarily while I was in the picture settings menu. However, important: NONE of these issues occurred (so far at least) during normal use, which is good!
- There's a green tint when viewed from the side (especially noticeable on white parts of the image). This however is not noticeable a lot, unless you are looking for it luckily!

To finish, here are my picture settings. I have to say three things:
  1. I personally am not primarily interested in the most accurate image. Instead, I want an image that is pleasing to my own eye.
  2. My primary goal is to match the TV’s picture as closely as possible to my MacBook Pro because this display is honestly world-class.
  3. All setting names are translated from German.
  • Mode: Standard
  • Brightness: 65% (but of course this completely depends on the viewing environment)
  • Contrast: 85
  • Black level: 50
  • Gamma: 2.2
  • Video range: Automatic
  • Automatic brightness adjustment: Disabled
  • Color depth: 55
  • Color tone: 0
  • Color range: Automatic (changed it from the default ("Native") because everything was slightly oversatured on "Native")
  • Color temperature: Warm 32
  • Sharpness: 16 (changed it from the default (10))
  • TruMotion: Disabled
I hope that this post wasn’t too long 😅 Maybe it also helps some people who are considering getting this TV to use with their MacBook Pro. Have a nice day, everyone!!
 
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Ben J.

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2019
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Thanks Chris, for getting back to us with such an extensive report, and it's good to hear it's working out for you. I promise, I will supply my thoughts along with my approaches and settings, but it takes a while. I'm sure more and more people will benefit from threads like this as OLEDs pecome more common. I'll be back.
 
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Ben J.

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2019
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Many thanks for the extensive report. Glad to hear that it's working out for you.

This is my settings notes
(Translated from norwegian w/google)

LG TV model:
LG OLED 55B9PLA
55 inches

Mac System settings, color profile:
"LG TV", automatically installed on first run on the mac

Mode:
Expert (dark room)

AI image Off

OLED lamp 57
Contrast 32
Brightness 62
Sharpness 0
Color 50
Hue 0

Expert settings:
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Super Resolution: Off
Color scale: Extended
Gamma: BT.1886
White balance:
Color temperature: Warm2
Red 0
Green 0
Blue 0
Color processing system
Default
Maximum brightness Off

Image Options:
Noise Reduction Off
MPEG Noise Reduction Auto
Smooth gamma value Off
Black level Low
Real cinema: Off
Motion Eye Care: Off
TruMotion: Off

I guess these options will look different from model to model, but the most important ones should be easy to spot.

With a year of experimenting, I've found that there's more than one way to reach almost the same result. Like, at one point I was at almost 100 OLED light, and contrast down in the teens, and it wasn't bad.

As you can see, nothing seems very exceptional here, but I can assure you that these settings makes for a very different image than the default. The most important ones, for me, are:
(Remember that my main goal is natural colors, neutral tone curves to let me trust that what I see when I adjust images will translate well to other displays, my Epson printer etc.)

Color scale: Extended
It took me months of fine adjustments to saturation etc., but when I turned it from Standard to Extended, I knew this was crucial. Even if the immediate impression is a less color saturated, more dull image, when you get the brightness, contrast right, you know you're on the right way. And settings suddenly felt more correct at less extreme values, like around 50. I guess this setting also has less clipping.

Also, I found that with Extended color space, it let me go warmer on the color temperature. I had been more on cold and blue. Skin tones suddenly clicked into place. No more fighting with people looking sun tanned, magenta, yellow and so on.

Brightness, contrast, oled lamp does the rest. I try to find the exact point where blacks just touching the point where they go to dark grey, the contrast low enough that when I switch to a fairly bright full screen web site, it's not uncomfortable.

I use a simple photo test image with b/w and color scales, along with simply using basic news broadcasts, which are usually well balanced, professionally lighted and produced. Also, some old youtube videos that really challenges the black level, to check that I have black detail.

I'm happy now. I can use these settings whether the room is quite illuminated from my large windows, I can even have some direct sunlight, or in the middle of the night with dimmed lighting.

Also, there is the automatic dimming that I mentioned before. I found lots of people struggling to turn it off, and I found that it's not available in the normal settings, you have to access the "service menu" or whatever they call it, by pressing some key combination on the remote or something - I can't remember. You get stern warnings about potentially damaging things, and it's a very subtle thing - you might not even notice it. Your model might not even have it.

Lots to say about this, but that's it for now.
 
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