Watching DVD's with a Mac Mini and an HD1080p monitor

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by PRedLSU, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. PRedLSU macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2009
    So I was all excited to hook up my Mac Mini and this new monitor, popped in a Planet Earth DVD and the resolution was HORRIBLE in full screen mode. In "normal size" mode the resolution was as I was expecting it to be, only "normal size" was about 4x6 inches. I believe this is entirely due to my ignorance concerning Mac's and/or 1080p monitors so if someone could help me out I'd appreciate it...TIA
  2. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Nov 20, 2009
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi PRed,
    I don't know why you'd have any probs with your monitors.
    I've 2 monitors hooked-up (as you can see: Samsung 28" + Asus 27") set on max resolution (and being able to use both at the same time (macOS = Samsung, win7 = Asus)

    Attached Files:

  3. PRedLSU thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2009
    Thanks, Stan. I thought you had given me the simple answer I was looking for but I just bumped mine up to the max of 1600x900 and it made zero difference.
  4. PurdueGuy macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2010
    The link you gave specifies the max resolution as 1920x1080. Why are you only setting it to 1600x900? Is that all that Snow Leopard will let you set it to? Is there no choice for "1080p?"

    Also, remember, you are watching a DVD, so it maxes out at 480p. Upconvert that you 1080p, and you are more than doubling pixels in each direction. Similar to the way the iPhone 4 pixel doubles old apps in each direction to get to the new resolution.

    Sit close enough, and the results won't be pretty. Also, is Planet Earth widescreen? Or 4:3? Is the aspect ratio correct, or is it being stretched/squished?
  5. PRedLSU thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2009
    Snow Leopard wont let me jump to 1920x1080. 1600x900 is the max, however there is a 1080p setting which I had the monitor on when I originally posted this thread.

    As for DVD's maxing out at 480p, I did not realize that. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much from a DVD.

    And yes, Planet Earth is 16:9.
  6. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    Set the display to 1080p - That's the native resolution for your monitor. The DVD is still going to look awful because it is only 480p (if that - Might be 480p with letterboxing because it was originally shot in 2.35:1 rather than 16:9).

    I've noticed that depending on the port I use, my monitors either offer a 1920x1080 resolution, or 1080p. Looks the same either way.
  7. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    2 things:

    1) DVDs don't have 1080p resolution

    2) TFT monitors like yours are nowhere near the last word in image quality

    Despite the above, I'm surprised you're describing the image quality as "horrible." Makes me wonder if your monitor is defective, misadjusted, or you're just sitting too close to it.
  8. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    While a DVD won't look as good as a Blu-ray disc, it should still look plenty good. That monitor definitely can handle 1920x1080, so something is wrong here if the Mini will only let you select a max resolution of 1600x900. This is almost certainly why it looks horrible: LCD monitors want to display at their max resolution. How are you connected? HDMI? If so, maybe try a different cable.
  9. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    Horrible is a pretty good word to use when describing a DVD on a 1080p display, even on my regular TV. Up-scaling doesn't help that much.
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    I have to disagree with this. Even on my 50" 1080 TV, a good DVD still looks good. Not as good as a Blu-ray disc, but plenty good enough.

    Furthermore, the OP is talking about a 23" monitor; if everything is set up and working correctly, there is no way that a good quality DVD should look horrible on it.
  11. DukeOfHunslet macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Hunslet, England
    I have to agree with OP.

    I have a 2011 Mac Mini and a 28" Hanns-G monitor at 1920x1200.

    Playing DVD's using Mac DVD player really is not good - particularly if there's a lot of action or movement.

    It got me wondering if ANY upsacaling was going on. The original file should come out at 1024 x576 on a widescreen film/show - but I suspect that is being throttled down first and then back up to fill the screen.

    I tend not to use it for watching films so it's not such an issue...
  12. PRedLSU thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2009
    This is possible. Is 2 feet too close?

    I am using HDMI. Are you saying I should maybe try the DVI cable? Like you say, I had assumed it would look plenty good, but to be honest I think it looks the same, if not slightly better, on my old DVD player and tube TV.

    Also, what is upscaling? Is this an issue solely with running a DVD on my Mac? If I hookup a Blu Ray player to the monitor I shouldn't have any issues, right?
  13. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    With a 23” monitor, it should look at least okay with a decent DVD from 2’.

    You could try the DVI cable, or another HDMI cable. HDMI is a computer interface (though specialized for home theater applications). When you hook up a display device (DVD player, BD player, computer, etc) to a display device via HDMI, they talk to each other and decide how to best communicate. If your computer won’t let you select 1920x1080, it tells me something is wrong. If the HDMI cable was defective, it might prevent full speed communication, resulting in a lower max resolution. It might be worth your while to find another cable (HDMI or DVI) and see if that’s the problem.

    Upscaling is where material that is less than the resolution of the screen is “upscaled” to the resolution of the screen. DVDs, which are 480, will always be upscaled when viewed on an HDTV. If the player doesn’t upscale it, the TV will.
  14. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    Set the resolution to 1080p. That is all you need to do with the monitor.
  15. karsten macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2010
    you can also use vlc and in video preferences set the render device to openGL to get upscaling.
  16. LucasLand macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2002
    New England
    its odd people have issues. I play netflix dvd's all the time and they look great just like ages ago when i played them in a dvd player.

    I use a 32 samsung 1080p hdtv, mac mini server with external apple dvd drive. Display is set at 1080p.

    I just pop dvd in drive and apple dvd player automatically turns on and plays dvd. it looks just as good as when i watched using a dvd player on a reg tube tv. Even when dvd player app is in full screen mode.
  17. cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    That's also what I would suggest. VLC is the best media player for Mac (or Windows) out there, it plays everything and is incredibly customizable. On top of that, if you have an iOS device there is a very nice remote app for it.

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